Meet Renee Sturkie!
Meet Renee Sturkie! She is the Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of West Georgia here in Columbus, Georgia. Her warm spirit and dedication to the families is clearly reflected in her tireless work. Coworkers describe her as one who leads with her heart and follows through with thoughtful leadership.
Although Renee grew up in Atlanta, she has been helping families in the local community for over 25 years. Before joining Ronald McDonald House Charities, she worked for Columbus Regional Healthcare in the finance department. Then she began volunteering at the House, bringing her whole family to cook meals for the residents. From there she became a weekend manager and, later, was invited to serve on the Board of Directors. When the Board was tasked with finding an Executive Director, Renee advocated for families by describing all of the qualities that would make an excellent Executive Director. Taking Renee’s suggestions to heart, they offered her the position with the belief that she could best enact their vision. As the Executive Director, Renee focuses on providing comfort to families during their time of need using the limited resources of the charity in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
The Ronald McDonald House provides a unique service. All of the families who stay at the House have traveled to Columbus to be with their hospitalized infant or child. Most families staying in the house are away from home to support a loved one in the neonatal intensive care unit in Columbus. These families are trying to adapt to a new environment while under the emotional and physical stresses that come with having a critically ill or injured child. Renee describes their work as, “simple, but critical.” Offering solutions to tasks that may be seemingly simple in other situations allows parents to spend more time with their children receiving care. Sturkie states, “We take care of the parents, so they can take care of the baby.”
It is her goal that the community becomes aligned with the mission and work of Ronald McDonald House Charities. “We always need volunteers and we always need money,” says Sturkie. Whether it is cooking a monthly meal, volunteering consistently, or making a donation, the help of others makes a world of difference for the families in the House. In addition to the House, there is an exciting new project that will require love and volunteers to make the biggest impact. The Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Piedmont Regional is now open, and provides rest, relaxation, and resources to families with a pediatric patient being treated in the Hospital.
When asked if she felt fulfilled in her work, Renee responded by explaining that she feels like she is walking in her purpose. “I am able to use every past experience in my work here… it all comes together in a beautiful way,” affirmed Sturkie. There is so much dedication and love that goes into leading the Ronald McDonald House Charities of West Georgia, but Renee Sturkie makes it look easy.