Meet the Staff
Patty Metropulos – President & CEO
My Contribution: I ensure that our founding vision remains in the forefront as we provide a premier guest experience to patients and caregivers. Working with our Board of Directors, I am helping the organization prepare for the future while responding to unprecedented growth in occupancy.
My Background: . After moving back to Milwaukee, I was attracted to the quality of the Kathy’s House organization and the value of the services provided. I found the vision for Kathy’s House to have a strong foundation that affords great potential for future growth and success and was named Executive Director and CEO in 2012. There was also something personal in my decision to accept the position. Two of my family members had required critical health care services and while supporting them during their illness, I grew to have a keen appreciation for families experiencing a medical crisis.
The Best Part: Kathy’s House allows people with significant health care needs to come to Milwaukee for care as well as assuring that the patient has family support during a very difficult time. Research shows that patients with family support have better outcomes.
Without Kathy’s House: We know with certainty that if Kathy’s House weren’t here, a large number of people who are in critical need of specialized care would not be able to receive the lifesaving treatment provided at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin and other area regional medical centers. In research we conducted recently nearly 40 percent of our guests have told us exactly that. This concept is embedded in the vision of Dick Vogel and his daughter Kathy Kuettner Vogel. That vision is a strong inspiration that drives us as we plan for a new expanded facility. There’s another, much more plain, direct way to describe why our services our so important to our community – over the long term it is our strategic imperative to forge strong, enduring bonds – partnerships – with our area’s medical centers. Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin are among the leaders in our country providing the best and most advanced health care to patients. We help patients connect with them.
Kathy Wagner – Guest Services Manager
My Contribution: My job is to manage the operations so that no matter where people are from they receive the same quality care and support. In a sense, my job is easy, our staff and volunteers are so awesome. Everyone jumps when they see something that needs to be done. The statistics show Kathy’s House guests and patients come from 50 miles away or more, many from Green Bay or Chicago. Most are from the Midwest but many travel longer distances. More than 16,000 people have stayed at Kathy’s House since 2001. Patients and guests have traveled to 103rd Street in Wauwatosa from 48 states as well as a number of foreign countries.
My Background: I have been part of the team since 2012. And I’ve lost track of the number of “miracles” I’ve seen since then, but it’s more than I ever would have imagined.
The Best Part: For me, it’s the understanding (learned over time) that sometimes a simple hug has the power to make all the difference in the world.
Without Kathy’s House: Milwaukee has some of the most “awesome” medical care resources available. Kathy’s House makes sure many people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to those resources get the critical help they need.
Marie Grevsmuehl – Volunteer Coordinator
My Contribution: I help volunteers find ways to help Kathy’s House and our guests. Our volunteers play an important role in helping us fulfill our mission to make Kathy’s House away from home by cooking meals, helping us maintain the house, and supporting our events throughout the year.
My Background: I began at Kathy’s House in November 2013, serving as a volunteer. I joined the Kathy’s House team officially in July 2016.
The Best Part: My background includes training as a social worker. The best part of my job is that I’m able to use my training and background to help make the lives of patients and families as comfortable as possible during a very challenging period in their lives. Caring about people and doing what I can to help them is extremely rewarding.
Without Kathy’s House: Who would provide the help that families and patients need at this critical time in their lives? We get to see the appreciation on their faces.
Maggie Morse – Nights/Weekend Manager
My Contribution: I work the night shift, the “quiet time,” I try to make sure Kathy’s House is always a safe and secure environment for those supporting the loved ones at local area hospitals.
My Background: I have been volunteering here since 2010.
The Best Part: Making this as much like home as possible for our guests. The “House” is a place where every guest can find the amenities they have in their own homes, laundry facilities, fully equipped kitchen, WiFi, and many, many more conveniences and services. I particularly enjoy talking with the guests and helping them to overcome some of the stress they are experiencing. I appreciate being part of the team providing this worthwhile service to those in need.
Without Kathy’s House: People would be left without the medical services and family support they need.
Ashley Vorbil – Housekeeper
My Contribution: I do just what you think a housekeeper does. That means Monday through Friday, I’m cleaning, picking up and generally trying my best to keep everything spick ‘n’ span.
My Background: I started as a volunteer in May 2009 and grew to really appreciate the good things that happen here and the wonderful people I get to meet. I feel I can play a part in helping make sure people feel comfortable and that someone cares about their situation. Four months after I started volunteering, I officially joined the team.
The Best Part: Is getting to know the guests and learn their special stories. And also knowing that the service we provide really helps people cope at a difficult time in their lives. I was so personally touched about what I see every day happening at Kathy’s house that I wrote a poem “One Woman,” which is about the caring and dedication of our founder Kathy Vogel Kuettner. The poem, I’m humbled to say, has been published in a national anthology and a copy is on display in our building.
Without Kathy’s House: For many people, very serious needs would go unmet.
Lorraine Kofler – Guest Services Assistant
My Contribution: I do what every other dedicated guest services assistant at Kathy’s House does but I’m sure that like everyone here, I do what I do with passion. Usually I’m here two days a week, Monday and Friday or any other time I’m needed.
My Background: I have been volunteering here since 2010. I live a few blocks away and being within walking distance, I can be here when there’s a need outside my regular work days.
The Best Part: Is caring for the guests and doing what I can to make them feel that this is as close as possible to being at home for them. Helping at Kathy’s House is my biggest desire. I’ll be 87 soon and it is so gratifying to me to be able to contribute to others’ well-being. Kathy’s House is and will always be one of the most important parts of my life.
Without Kathy’s House: It would be heartbreaking to think about how many people wouldn’t get the help they need.
Caleb Woods – Guest Services Assistant
My Contribution: I work at Kathy’s House on weekends. At Kathy’s House, I’m a member of the small weekend team that has the overall responsibility for making sure guest needs are being met.
My Background: I have been with Kathy’s House since 2001, since the very beginning. There’s a story behind my involvement. I am the grandson of Kathy’s House founder Dick Vogel and the nephew of Kathy Vogel Kuettner. Her vision remains the beating heart of the guesthouse that bears her name. For me, Kathy’s House is family, legacy and heritage.
The Best Part: I love helping the guests but I am thinking ahead to a career in a technical profession, for example computer engineering. Perhaps I can help build and maintain the technological systems that will help Kathy’s House grow.
Without Kathy’s House: Milwaukee without Kathy’s House is a difficult thing for me to think about. There would be people all over the country and in other parts of the world that need the health care services our regional medical centers are equipped to provide. Without Kathy’s House, there would be no easy way to connect those patients with the health care Milwaukee has to offer.
Carolyn Bellin – Marketing & Public Relations Consultant
My Contribution: I serve part-time assisting Kathy’s House with marketing, public relations and communications. I’m also a member of the Board of Directors, which directs Kathy’s House operations and has oversight for plans and strategies that fulfill Kathy Vogel Kuettner’s vision.
My Background: I have been involved with Kathy’s House since opening in July 2001 through my work at Froedtert Hospital. I joined the Board in 2011 and started consulting with Kathy’s House after retiring from Froedtert in 2013.
The Best Part: I see miracles happen everyday, kindness and caring everywhere that is as infectious as it is effective.
Without Kathy’s House: Many people from all over Wisconsin, the Midwest and beyond would be without the means to receive needed medical care in the Milwaukee area.
Francis Fraundorf – Assistant House Director
My Contribution: I’m the Assistant House Manager. My first priority is to work to assure guests have a positive experience at Kathy’s House – both physically and emotionally. That means I do many things from scheduling guest stays to cleaning rooms to lending an ear. The guests are always the first priority at Kathy’s House.
My Background: My first degree was in Therapeutic Recreation from UW-LaCrosse. After college I worked at a rehab center, ran a group home and did Youth and Family Programing at the YMCA. Then I went back to college for a certification in elementary education and taught in the Menomonee Falls School District for 23 years. I joined Kathy’s House staff in August 2017.
The Best Part: I appreciate the staff enthusiasm and commitment to make sure every guest has a positive and nurturing experience while they are at the House.
Without Kathy’s House: Our guests are under so much stress. You are not at Kathy’s House unless you or a member of your family is critically ill and far from home. Without Kathy’s House, the financial and emotional burden for many of our guests would be overwhelming. I love being able to help our guests through a rough period in their lives.
Katie Sparks – Director of Philanthropy
My Contribution: As Director of Philanthropy, my job is to be a type of matchmaker, connecting with community members and understanding what they care about and then matching their interests to the work of Kathy’s House.
My Background: I’ve been in the philanthropy field since 2005, mainly working for healthcare and educational organizations, both big and small. I also have experience in various types of fundraising: annual appeals, gifts from major investors, establishing gifts from estate plans, event planning and marketing.
The Best Part: The staff and the board open their hearts with great compassion for our guests. It is wonderful to see this level of empathy. Everyone associated with Kathy’s House, including all our outstanding volunteers, share their hearts with our guests. It’s way beyond traditional customer service! Support for the guests is strong, genuine and authentic.
Without Kathy’s House: We already know how difficult it is when guests can’t stay at Kathy’s House. In the past 2 years, we’ve had to turn away 500 families because the House was full. It breaks our hearts to do so. Many in our community don’t realize that one of Milwaukee’s greatest assets is the strength of researchers, physicians and scientists at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and from other area health care facilities. People are willing to travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles to benefit from their expertise. It is also true that many medical procedures are moving from the inpatient setting to outpatient care. That means many more patients need Kathy’s House because they must remain close to the hospital for a period of time to be near care if there is an adverse reaction. Without Kathy’s House, these treatments – from clinical trails to outpatient bone marrow transplants – would not be possible for many of our guests. We need a bigger House for the guests and are working to build one soon.
Mary Kanavas – Events and Philanthropy Coordinator
My Contribution: As the Events and Philanthropy Coordinator, I help plan the Gala, Golf Outing, Oktoberfest and other fundraising events for Kathy’s House as well as assist with other fundraising and friend raising activities.
My Background: I started working with nonprofits after my 3 children were grown and just love it! Most recently I worked with United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. My husband passed away from cancer in 2017. I’m grateful that we lived so close to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and the world class care they provide. I’m thrilled to be a part of a team working to support out of area families facing a similar crisis.
The Best Part: It’s great to be surrounded by people who are dedicated to the Kathy’s House mission. It’s exciting and invigorating!
Without Kathy’s House: Without Kathy’s House there would be so many families that would have to face a difficult time in life without the loving and caring environment provided by Kathy’s House
Mickey Salzmann – Guest Relations Specialist
My Contribution: My focus is guest comfort. As much as possible, I want Kathy’s House to be “Home” for everyone who comes through our doors. That means treating everyone like family, with respect, dignity and caring from the heart. I help with reservations, cleaning, shuttling guests and, along with everyone else at Kathy’s House, taking care of any concerns that may come up. Growing up my parents said to just “give them you”. That’s what I do.
My Background: I have worked in health clinics for over 15 years. The most rewarding years were in the Oncology/Hematology department at what is now Aspirus Ironwood in Michigan. So many aspects and priorities of life were straightened out for me during that time, and rich bonds were formed.
The Best Part: Being able to work with a group of people who genuinely care, and all work together to make Kathy’s House a sanctuary. When someone is in need of a hug or someone to listen, everything else comes to a standstill. Here I get to do what I love most: care for people.
Without Kathy’s House: Kathy Vogel’s concern was for people struggling through some of life’s hardest times alone because loved ones could not afford to be nearby. Kathy’s house helps keep that from happening.