Dorothy Gunderson is full of pride for Edgerton
Community: Edgerton, her entire life.
Work: Administrative Assistant, Edgerton City Hall.
Favorite pastimes: Spending time with grandchildren, baking, and walking for exercise.
Something she knows about life: "No matter what, you learn something valuable from each of your experiences."
If she could do anything differently: She'd have kept a diary or journal every day.
EDGERTON Some people don't recognize a born leader when they look in the mirror.
Edgerton native Dorothy Gunderson is one of those people.
While planners and crews toil at the new Edgerton Hospital, which is expected to open this fall, Gunderson, a former 10-year member of the Edgerton Hospital Board, prefers quiet shade behind the monumental achievement that she helped push forward.
"It took a lot of staff, employees, commitment and volunteer hours by many people. I really wasn't the major person," Gunderson said.
That was her response to the question: "How do you like being called one of the people who brought a new hospital to Edgerton?"
"That's so her," said former Edgerton Hospital Board colleague Casey Langan of Madison. "I wouldn't expect any other answer from Dorothy."
Gunderson, a lifelong Edgerton resident, prefers a quiet coffee lunch down the street from her job as an administrative assistant at Edgerton City Hall.
She speaks softly about myriad leadership roles she's held in Edgerton for the past 15 years as a member of the hospital board and a onetime president of the Edgerton City Council—both experiences that she found intimidating.
Gunderson joined the hospital board in 1998 with no experience in health care or hospital finance.
"I just had a belief in the good that the local hospital can do for the community. The rest I learned," she said.
Ten years later, former hospital board colleague Mari Anne Warren said she's not sure Edgerton's new hospital would have come to pass financially if not for Gunderson's leadership.
After the hospital in 2009 applied for a $26 million loan program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Gunderson traveled with hospital CEOs to meet with federal financing officials in Washington, D.C.
Warren said she was told Gunderson took the reins during talks with HUD officials, calmly but firmly making a case for the hospital project.
The project later was awarded the money.
"That was awesome," Gunderson admitted.
It's the same Gunderson who still bakes pumpkin bars for employees at the city garage, where she once worked as an assistant, and the Gunderson who used to plant trees and barrels of flowers downtown as a volunteer for the city's downtown renewal group.
Gunderson stepped down from the hospital board in 2010 after serving 10 years, but she still puts on her exercise sneakers and walks past the new hospital every day.
She said the new facility fills her not with personal pride but pride for Edgerton.
"We're not quite that sleepy little village anymore. We're pulling our weight—proving that there's value to living in a small town," she said. "I'm just a little, small part of that."