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The Power of One Man — Lorenzo Wise

Categories: New Releases,Stories,Uncategorized,Volunteers

By Tracy Thompson, Executive Director

Lorenzo Wise became a patient at Mercy in April 2009.  He was referred to Mercy by Athens Regional Medical Center.  Lorenzo was a severe diabetic and was having great difficulty getting his blood sugar managed.  Personal responsibility was something that he took very seriously.  He immediately attended our diabetic health education classes and met with our Pharmacotherapy team regularly.  He was compliant with instruction and his medications.  He was also one of the first to join our Wellness Team and started workouts at St. Mary’s Wellness Center.

Although quiet by nature, his convictions spoke loudly.  He instantly started looking for ways that he could give back to the clinic, all the while working two jobs.  He started by coming and emptying our trash cans a couple of times per week.  Next he started cleaning our lobby and exam rooms.  Before long he joined our staff and began cleaning the building twice per week while still working his other two jobs.  He would only accept payment for one time per week – the other was his volunteer service.

Lorenzo was a founding member of our patient committee and joined our Governing Board of Directors as the patient advocate in 2010.  When the Mercy Board and Staff began making their pledges to the Capital Campaign, Lorenzo organized a patient-lead Barbecue Plate Sale with all of the proceeds going to Mercy’s Capital Campaign (as pictured). He raised $2,000.00.

In early 2014, Lorenzo found a job that would allow him enough income to purchase insurance. He felt that he needed to relinquish his place at Mercy so someone else could obtain the quality care he received.  He signed up for insurance on and left Mercy as a patient, but maintained his volunteer/staff status with Mercy.  In June, after being ill for several months, Lorenzo returned to Mercy and was diagnosed with lung cancer that had already metastasized to the bones.  He died just a few short weeks later.  The week that he passed away he met with many members of his Mercy family spurring us all on to continue the good work. On September 25th, Lorenzo would have turned 59 years old. To celebrate his life, members of Lorenzo’s family, staff, and volunteers met in Mercy’s parking lot to release 59 balloons. Click HERE to watch the balloon release.

Lorenzo has left us with the incredible legacy of what just one man can accomplish. video.  He inspired us all to consider how we can serve with what we have, no matter how much or little it is. We are only given this one life – what will you do with yours?

The board and staff are working to memorialize Lorenzo with the construction of a small chapel at Mercy that will be located in the whole-person health wing. If you are interested in giving toward the construction of the Lorenzo Wise Memorial Chapel, please contact Tracy Thompson at