The Ronald McDonald House of Fargo has an outstanding group of people who make up our Board. At the office, we see how they care deeply for the mission of RMHC, put forth hard work to keep families close and joyfully support this community. We were curious as to what drives these passionate individuals to serve on our Board so we simply asked them. Their answers are pretty inspiring. Today we’ll share about Mary Ellen and how she is #forRMHC.
What is your name and your occupation?
Mary Ellen Rolfson, CFO West Acres Development, LLP – very fitting for both my love of Accounting and Shopping!
What is your hometown where you grew up?
I am from Bismarck, ND.
How long have you been on the RMHC board?
I am currently serving in my 6th year on the board. I have served on several committees, held the Financial VP position as well as being a past President. I also serve on the Sweetheart Ball, which is always one of my favorite events of the year.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
This is funny, free-time today looks completely different than it did 10 years ago. I love scrapbooking and spent much of my free-time in the past doing that. Now with three, yes THREE, boys Parker (10), Brayden (7) and Cullen (turning 1 on Sept. 30th) my schedule doesn’t allow for that during this season of life. My husband, Mike, and I spend our free time with the boys finding fun adventures and juggling sporting and school events. They keep us extremely busy but we wouldn’t change it for anything.
We do value our relationships with our friends and family and make time for fun outings with them as well. I have some of the most fabulous friends and absolutely love a good girls night. It re-energizes me and fuels my soul. Every now and then we sneak away for a date night and one thing we do every single year is attend WE Fest. I am a huge country music fan and after 14 years of marriage, Mike even enjoys country music now.
What is your favorite movie?
I love a good “Chick Flick” so anything with Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Kate Hudson make the top of my list. Although, I tend to spend more time watching kid movies right now and Sing is my new favorite.
What do you want people to know about the Ronald McDonald house?
So many things, how much time do I have?! My family and I absolutely love everything about the Ronald McDonald House. We have a special place in our hearts for this organization. We know first-hand what an important role the Ronald McDonald House plays in the lives of families with critically-ill children. Our son, Brayden, was born with a congenital heart-defect and has undergone 3 separate open-heart surgeries. The Ronald McDonald House was there for us when we needed them most. They provided a “home away from home” for our family on multiple occasions during Brayden’s surgeries.
It is hard to express the appreciation you feel knowing that at the end of a very long and exhausting day that you have the opportunity to go “home” to the Ronald McDonald House. When the days are stressful and you need someone to talk to or listen, there is always another family or staff member there to lend an ear. The comfort that the Ronald McDonald House provides is unmatched. When we stayed at the house, the unbelievable volunteers provided meals, the generous donors provided the opportunity for us to pay a reduced rate per night and the staff provided a clean and enjoyable atmosphere.
It is extremely difficult to leave your child at the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House offers the family the opportunity to be as close as possible so that you can focus on their healing. The Ronald McDonald House left such an amazing impression on our family that I was inspired to give back and joined the Board of Directors shortly after our last stay with them.
What are you most excited about in the new project of our new RMHC house?
I am absolutely thrilled about the new house. Much of my 6 years on the board have been spent dreaming, talking and planning for the new house so I cannot wait to see the finished product. The time and effort that our past and present board members and staff have put into this vision turned reality is nothing short of amazing!
What I am most excited about though is that the new house will give us the ability to serve our families in ways we haven’t been able to in the past. With the recent expansions in both of our major local hospitals, the new house will allow us to serve a higher number of families without having to turn any away with the increased number of rooms. It is important to us that we are able to provide a “home away from home” to those increasing needs. I also love that the new house will bring our entire staff together under one roof. The efficiency that will be gained by having the team working together is going to be so wonderful.
Having the opportunity to share with others going through similar situations is so incredibility important to those families with critically-ill children. The new house will allow an even better space for families to come together and gather in the larger living and kitchen spaces. This new house will also have the ability for more privacy as well with the rooms including private bathrooms. This may not seem like a top priority but the appreciation of being able to have your own bathroom for our families will be so appreciated.
As a Board member, I cannot express how unbelievably appreciative I am of the local community and support of this project. We absolutely couldn’t carry out our mission without the generosity of our donors and volunteers!