My Why – Joann Boardman
For over 18 years, Joann Boardman has made the Ronald McDonald House a home away from home as she offers support to families in a number of different ways.
Through the 1980s Joann worked for McDonald’s in various roles. Joann spearheaded pop tab programs, and worked closely with the Ronald McDonald himself! In 1989, she became the Community Relations Representative in Fort Wayne. Since she would be promoting the Ronald McDonald House in her new role, one of Joann’s first jobs was to volunteer at the Indianapolis Ronald McDonald House. Joann and her husband Tom spent one weekend a quarter as the House managers. They would report for duty on Friday at 5pm and cover the House until about noon on Sunday.
Joann was happy when northeast Indiana received their own Charity organization and she was soon one of the board members overseeing the Charity’s work. Joann was there when Parkview approached the Charity about building a Ronald McDonald House inside the hospital, and she was the first volunteer to sign up for a shift at the new House.
“It’s such a passion of mine – it’s so rewarding to see parents be able to stay close to their ill child. The most ill any of my children have ever been is overnight in the hospital to have their tonsils taken out, and that’s not really much as far as illness is concerned. Being in the House, I have watched other families go through having a sick child, and I just can’t imagine not having a place to stay.”
“I was the first volunteer with Ronald McDonald House at Parkview. I’ve had the same shift every other Monday 12-2pm since 2002, and I’ve picked up a lot of shifts along the way. I’m coming up on the end of my time in the House because I’m losing my eyesight. I don’t drive, so my husband drives me to my shifts. I will still come in from time to time though, to do simple tasks and catch up with everyone. I’m a people-person and I love that commitment. I love seeing the staff and volunteers that I get to work with. It’s a real passion of mine and I love it.”