Veronica ("Ronnie") B. Renken has dedicated her life to the service of others. Motivated by the Irish nun Catherine McAuley’s vision to give back and give forward, and parents who instilled in her a spirit of gratitude at a young age, Mrs. Renken has devoted countless hours to volunteering and fundraising at NYU Winthrop Hospital.
"When you really believe in the organization you are volunteering for, it becomes very much a part of you. You become very close to the organization and to the people there," she said.
For all that she's done for NYU Winthrop since she first began volunteering in the 1970s at what was then known as Nassau Hospital, it was the distinct honor of the Hospital's Board of Directors to recently present Mrs. Renken with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chalres M. Strain, Chairman of the Board of Directors (left), and John F. Collins, President and CEO of NYU Winthrop (right), present Veronica B. Renken with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards.
"It is our privilege to bestow upon Veronica B. Renken the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' with our profound gratitude for her tireless commitment and support in giving back to NYU Winthrop Hospital, and for having a positive and lasting impact on the lives of our staff, patients and their families," said Charles Strain, Chairman of the Board of Directors at NYU Winthrop, during a special reception held in her honor on June 6.
Mrs. Renken's tenure at NYU Winthrop began when she made a decision to volunteer feeding patients who were unable to feed themselves. Dedicating countless hours of her personal time to patient care units enabled Mrs. Renken to experience firsthand the compassion of the staff as well as the healing that takes place at the Hospital. Motivated to become more involved, she soon joined the Hospital's Auxiliary – a dedicated group of volunteers who collectively support the general welfare of the Hospital through their goodwill and fundraising.
In 2001 Mrs. Renken was elected President of the Hospital's Auxiliary, which includes two volunteer fundraising groups, the Twigs and Wings of Winthrop. Under her leadership, the group has financially supported the establishment of several programs, services and facility enhancements at the Hospital over the years including: the establishment of the Pastoral Care Program; improvements to the Emergency Department; the creation of the 15,000 square-foot Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center; two pediatric testing suites in the Research and Academic Center; and the funds to help staff the Hospital’s STAR program with a dedicated coordinator, among several other initiatives.
Mrs. Renken is joined by professional colleagues and friends (back row, l-r). Theresa Regnante, President & CEO, United Way of Long Island; Michael Stafford, Esq., Farrell Fritz; and Jean Zebroski, Director of Patient Relations and Volunteer Services at NYU Winthrop Hospital (seated, left).
In addition to having served as the Auxiliary President, Mrs. Renken has been a long time, valued member of the Hospital's Board of Directors, as well as an asset to the Hospital's Patient Relations Department, where, for many years, she volunteered her time, fielding inquiries and assisting patients and their families in their time of need. Deeply valued and treasured by all those who have had the privilege to work alongside of her, both at NYU Winthrop and within the various community organizations that she has volunteered, Mrs. Renken is truly one-of-a-kind.
"Receiving a lifetime achievement award obviously has to be about the most special thing that could ever happen to a plain, every day volunteer. On the other hand, you don't volunteer for the award. You volunteer because in your heart, you want to be a part of people’s lives," she said.