Local volunteer is also a hero in health care

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Shelly Birkelo
Sunday, February 9, 2014

JANESVILLE—Jere Johnson is committed to health care as a career, but he is just as committed as a community volunteer.

That's why the Janesville man, who is director of radiology at Mercy Health System, was nominated by Anne Quaerna to receive a Heroes in Health Care Award as part of the You Call the Shots! fundraiser for the foundations at Blackhawk Technical College and UW-Rock County.

He was one of the winners.

“It's just humbling,” he said, when he learned of the honor.

Johnson dedicates hours of volunteer work to Knights of Columbus Council 9230, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Janesville Morning Rotary, Friends of Riverside Park, Westgate Corridor Group and St. William parish, where he is a member.

He is involved in organizing the Lincoln-Tallman House Easter Egg Hunt, which is a collaborative effort between the local Knights of Columbus, Rock County Historical Society, Westgate Corridor group and a few other associations.

Quaerna wrote in her nomination that Johnson displays leadership in his everyday practice by fostering relationships with partners, other departments, patients and their families.

“He strives to make sure patients and their families have an exceptional experience during their diagnostic procedures that is evidenced by the positive remarks and benchmark scores he receives,” she said.

Johnson is known among his peers and colleagues for his outgoing personality and willingness to help and is one of the first partners to recognize a patient or family that might be struggling, Quaerna said.

“He is right there to show support and genuine compassion,” she said.

Johnson has mentored St. William grade school students and radiology students and is involved with physician orientation at Mercy, where he often can be found touring new physicians around campus.

“Jere has a quiet and soft-spoken presence that makes people feel comfortable and calm,” Quaerna said.

He also “displayed true dedication to his work that is evidenced by the quality of imaging performed at Mercy,” she said.

Johnson serves as a role model through the unselfish volunteer work that he does, Quaerna said.

“He can be found volunteering for most anything, but his true dedication is volunteer for the fight of MS (multiple sclerosis) in support of his wife, Peggy,” she said.

Volunteering is important to Johnson.

“I've been blessed with so much in my life, it's nice to be able to give back to the community, and Mercy is supportive of that,” he said.

“Being able to work in the community in health care, I have an opportunity to serve my neighbors, friends and family,” he said.

Johnson enjoys working with people the most through his volunteerism.

“It brings tears to my eyes how generous this community is,” he said.

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