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William Penn Graduate Provided Health Service to Members of the Homeless Community


William Penn graduate, Chuck Sauer (’18), has dedicated his time and energy to assist doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and family members at Mercy Medical Center. His role inside the hospital is best described as a ‘resource person’, but the service that he selflessly chose to provide to the homeless community in Des Moines, Iowa encompassed utilizing the resources he had at his disposal for the betterment of the community.

During the spring 2018 semester of the R.N. to B.S.N. program, Chuck was tasked with implementing a servant leadership project in the community and chose to give back to the Des Moines community. With assistance from JOPPA—a nonprofit organization in Des Moines, whose goal is to provide help to the homeless community through outreach, housing, or education—Chuck was able to execute his project to give back.

Sharon DeKock, Instructor of Nursing, said, “[Chuck] spoke with Mercy Medical Center and discovered that [flu] vaccines were available. He was then able to establish a plan with the community to access, notify, and administer the flu shots to the population in need.”

Chuck, along with countless volunteers from JOPPA, Mercy Medical Center, and other nursing students, administered flu vaccine shots to the homeless along JOPPA’s daily route.

“We found the homeless population to be very pleasant and humble,” said Chuck. “They were thanking us and appreciated the efforts made on their behalf.”

Over the course of the day, the group had over 200 vaccinations to administer to the homeless while on the JOPPA route. Although they only administered 21 injections, Chuck and the group felt that it was still a success. Chuck was told by the Marketing Vice President of Missions for Mercy, Laura Wenman, that “In this work, numbers are never as important as intent.”

Chuck’s intention was to serve, educate, and provide to the homeless—and through his servant leadership, he was able to fulfill that intention. By having a lasting first impact, Chuck looks forward to the future of selfless contributions with hopes to continue this service to the homeless population in Des Moines.

The William Penn R.N. to B.S.N. program’s philosophy is based on the nursing theorist Jean Watson, a focus on transpersonal caring, says Sharon. “Chuck displays his desire to care for individuals, peers, and the community in his actions and projects that he has been involved with at William Penn University.”

We Are Iowa, Channel 5, news crew followed one of the groups that administered vaccinations to do a news package on the project. You can view the televised content at

To learn more about the R.N. to B.S.N. Program, visit

For more information, contact:

Miranda Keeler
Communications/Event Coordinator
William Penn University
(641) 673-1078 |

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