"I remember the day when fellow volunteer Elaine Fladen and I were asked to select wallpaper for a new radiology waiting room. We looked at each other and said, 'Why not? Mercy is our hospital.'" – Linda S. Osborne, past Mercy Service League president, long-time hospital volunteer and donor
Linda S. Osborne is picture above (front row, far right) with Sister Mary Patricia Barrett, CSA, and other past Mercy Service League presidents.
In 1963, William A. Simmons, MD, and his wife Linda, a former nurse, moved to Canton, Ohio, from Key West, Fla., with their one-year-old son William Simmons Jr. As Akron natives, the couple decided to return home to Northeast Ohio after Dr. Simmons completed two years of service in the U.S. Navy. He joined the obstetrics and gynecology practice of Ralph Ramsayer, MD, and Norman Lewis, MD.
Jane Schirack, wife of Frank Schirack, MD, anesthesiologist, invited Linda to join the newly formed Timken Mercy Service League in 1975. Linda remembers Jane as a true leader.
"Jane inspired all of us to become enthusiastic volunteers," says Linda. "She recognized that new service league members wanted to identify with a faith-based hospital and were eager to support meaningful projects."
Linda herself was president of the Mercy Service League from 1983 to 1985. During her tenure, 30 new members joined the league. In addition, through a variety of fundraising events and profits from the Mercy Gift Shop, she presented a check to the hospital for $200,000 toward air conditioning of patient care units.
After completing her service as president, Linda worked as a Mercy Gift Shop volunteer for many years. She describes her work as a buyer for the gift shop as "great days" and enjoyed being involved in the business aspects of the shop. Linda also returned to school at Walsh University to study history.
"I remember the day when fellow volunteer Elaine Fladen and I were asked to select wallpaper for a new radiology waiting room," Linda says. "We looked at each other and said, 'Why not? Mercy is our hospital.'"
However, in 1991, her husband became ill, and she discontinued both school and her volunteer work to care for him until he died that March. She later married Harry Osborne, DDS, MS, orthodontist.
Even though she no longer volunteered at Mercy, Linda says she felt it was still her family hospital.
"Two of my children, Susan and John, were born at Mercy, and my husband William Simmons practiced there for so long," says Linda. "I wanted to contribute to Mercy in any way I could. That's how I evolved from volunteer to donor."
Today, her oldest son Bill is Mercy's supply chain manager. Her son John owns a lawncare business near Atwood Lake, and her daughter Susan Deibel is a clinical counselor in North Canton. She and her husband have nine grandchildren and spend their winters in Naples, Fla. Still, Mercy remains an important part of her giving.
She says, "At Mercy, there is a feeling of responsibility to a mission. It's more than a business. My time volunteering at the hospital opened my eyes to the work of the Sisters of Charity, and I want to continue to support their efforts."