Partners of Crossing Rivers Health Honored for “Memory Huggables” Project

Partners of Crossing Rivers Health received the 2022 Wisconsin Awards for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE) in the category of Community Service for their program “Leaving a Legacy: Memory Huggables.”

The WAVE Award recognizes volunteer programs whose work directly furthers the mission of the institution they serve. One WAVE Award may be given to a program in each of the five categories: Community Service, Fundraising, In-Service, Community Outreach and/or Collaboration, and Public Policy. In addition to acknowledging the value of volunteerism to individual lives and institutions, the awards program is designed to encourage service that greatly exceeds expectations as a result of innovation, creativity, and leadership, promote visibility and goodwill toward the hospital or healthcare system, increase allegiance among volunteers, and promote collaboration among organizations and community service.

“Leaving a Legacy: Memory Huggable” was developed in the fall of 2020 to support family and friends that are coping with the loss of a loved one. Losing a loved one may leave behind a tremendous sense of grief and loneliness. Samantha Matern said, “Small decisions, such as what to do with clothing and other articles left behind, can be difficult, as they spark sentimental memories. If they are tucked away in a closet, they cannot be enjoyed. Partners of Crossing Rivers Health transforms a price of clothing or special garment into a huggable memory bear or pillow that families can treasure for years to come. A tag is attached to the huggable item stating “this is a shirt I use to wear. Whenever you hold it know that I am here.”

Crossing Rivers Health volunteers work collaboratively with Hospice and other hospital departments to offer this service to families. To learn more about volunteering at Crossing Rivers Health or Crossing Rivers Health Hospice, visit