Release Date: 9/23/2013
Dr. Ortmeyer, Dot Schillinger honored with Spirit of St. Anthony Awards
St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation honors Leroy Ortmeyer, M.D., and Dorothy “Dot” Schillinger with awards.
A longtime St. Anthony’s physician who worked to establish the forerunner of the modern paramedic system in South County, and a 34-year volunteer who has devoted more than 35,000 hours of her life welcoming patients and visitors to St. Anthony’s, are the recipients of this year’s Spirit of St. Anthony Awards.
The Physician Ambassadors of St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation will honor Leroy Ortmeyer, M.D., and Dorothy “Dot” Schillinger with the awards at their annual fundraising dinner Sept. 28 at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center. The awards recognize outstanding individuals who perform philanthropic and/or humanitarian work in the community, the nation or the world, in partnership with St. Anthony’s; who affirm the healing mission of St. Anthony’s by aiding the sick, poor and underserved; and who serve the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of others in a manner that upholds the dignity of human life and the faith-based beliefs of the Catholic Church. A Spirit of St. Anthony award for corporate partnership also will be presented to St. Louis homebuilder Consort Homes.
“Many St. Anthony’s physicians have had the opportunity to work alongside Lee Ortmeyer, experiencing his medical expertise and generous spirit firsthand,” said Joseph Forand, M.D., chairman of St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation’s Physician Ambassadors. “Dot Schillinger has more than 35,000 volunteer hours invested in St. Anthony’s and has worked in almost every area imaginable. Consort Homes has supported the hospital and has been represented on the hospital’s board of directors by Howard Chilcutt since 2004.”
A member of St. Anthony’s medical staff for 52 years and a retired internal medicine physician, Dr. Ortmeyer, 83, continues to serve as employee health physician for the medical center. Over the years he served as a longtime member of St. Anthony’s Board of Directors; as director of the medical center’s Department of Medicine; as president of the medical staff; and in a variety of other roles. He also has served in the community on the advisory boards of the St. Louis branch of the American Heart Association, Multiple Sclerosis Society, order of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and as the founding director of the Physicians Health Plan, now known as Medicare Complete.
During the 1970s, Dr. Ortmeyer was a driving force behind the establishment of the first-ever Mobile Intensive/Coronary Care Unit (MICCU) in the South County area. Dr. Ortmeyer spent considerable time studying mobile medical units in other cities and became an impassioned advocate for what would evolve into the paramedic system. Through a cooperative venture between St. Anthony’s and the Concord Village Lions Club, the first “life support” ambulance was dedicated in February 1976, and a tax passed by voters soon after to fund the MICCU system. At St. Anthony’s, Dr. Ortmeyer trained technicians with the Mehlville Fire District to staff the MICCU. In 1989, St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr. proclaimed June 15 in honor of Dr. Ortmeyer, who received the St. Louis Ambassadors’ “Arch” trophy for his work in developing mobile emergency units in South County.
Dr. Ortmeyer has seen many changes since 1961, when he joined the medical staff at the old St. Anthony’s Hospital after a tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force. He is a 1955 graduate of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and served both his internship and residency at the old City Hospital. He now serves on Saint Louis University Medical School’s Executive Advisory Committee.
“St. Anthony’s has been very good to me, and I certainly have enjoyed it,” he said. “My charming wife, Mary, has volunteered there for 31 years, and I’m blessed by seven of the greatest kids in captivity, and some of the greatest friends.”
If Dot Schillinger’s volunteer investment at St. Anthony’s was divided into eight-hour-a-day, 40-hours-per-week workweeks, it would add up to more than 16 years. A crafter extraordinaire, she and her creative cohorts are responsible for numerous handmade items sold in Hidden Treasures, the Auxiliary craft shop at Anthony House, to benefit the hospital. She has been a familiar face at hospital-sponsored health fairs, flu shot clinics and other events.
For years, she has served as the selfless “face” of Heffernan Hospitality House, a storybook cottage that provides overnight accommodations for St. Anthony’s patients and their families and is operated by the volunteers of St. Anthony’s Auxiliary. She has described Heffernan as “the love of my life,” but many visitors feel it is her presence there that fills the home with love that spreads to all who enter. Whether she is changing bed sheets, washing a load of towels, cleaning bathrooms, making certain the cupboards are full of nourishing snacks, or simply lending an ear to a visitor who needs to talk, Dot quietly affirms the mission of St. Anthony’s.
“May God bless you for your kindness and love and hospitality,” wrote one visiting family member.
Dot , 85, explains that she gets as good as she gives.
“You just meet the nicest people, and you’re helpful to somebody: that’s what keeps you going,” she said. “The people you meet at Heffernan House are so interesting, always somebody new coming in with a problem, and we try to help them out. It’s such a joy that they’ve got a place to stay right by the hospital. They come from all over: I think they’ve come from just about every state. I believe God works through us to bring calm and comfort to these families.
“It keeps me out of trouble,” she added with a wink. “Keeps me young.”
Dot’s late husband, Ed Schillinger, was the first man to join St. Anthony’s Ladies Auxiliary in 1991, when he requested “Ladies” be dropped from the title. He served the Auxiliary until his death in 2000.
A St. Louis area homebuilder since 1927, Consort and its employees have provided more than $100,000 in support to assist St. Anthony’s patients. Consort Homes’ Chairman Howard Chilcutt currently serves as board secretary for St. Anthony’s Board of Directors.
“These three recipients have literally transformed St. Anthony’s over many years of service,” Dr. Forand said. “They have made our hospital and community a better place for our patients and neighbors, which is exactly what the Spirit of St. Anthony’s award is all about. The Ambassadors couldn’t be happier to honor each for their contributions.”
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