Mike Bonck doesn’t work directly with patients one-on-one. But as a regional manager for Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH), he supports all patients who come to our hospitals and clinics no matter what their medical needs are.
“Every day new patients come to our hospitals, emergency departments, clinics, and Hospice for surgery, inpatient and outpatient care,” Mike says. “No matter where the patient receives care, we’re part of their care team, providing world-class care.”
Finding a fulfilling career in health care
Mike and his late wife, Terri, met at Gonzaga University where she was completing pre-pharmacy requirements. She completed pharmacy school at UW in Seattle in 1976. Mike started out in chemistry and then went to pharmacy school at UW, graduating in 1979.
In 1975, the couple married and began their family, which eventually grew to include five children, all born at St. Joseph Medical Center. On March 23, 1983, Mike began his first job at St. Joseph’s as the pharmacy evening supervisor.
Now in his 40th year at VMFH, Mike believes that his career there has been one of the greatest gifts of his life.
“There are endless combinations of medications and difficult disease states to manage that people experience either from injury or illness. Bringing people’s health back and making them feel more comfortable or helping them at the end of life is our precious calling,” Mike says.
As he moved to different roles, Mike began to view his VMFH network as a community. He credits the health system’s core values as guiding everyone to work well as one and care for each other. The values align with Mike’s and his family’s core values and are an impetus in giving back in time, talent and treasure to VMFH and charitable organizations that impact our community. Mike credits a desire to give back to his parent’s influence/modeling behavior and to his strong Catholic faith.
“At VMFH, it’s really important for us to be able to take care of everyone, no matter what their background or financial situation is,” Mike says. “I also appreciate that we have built a culture that cares for each other when one of us is in need. It’s a big part of who we are as Catholic hospitals and a system, and it’s why I’ve been giving back for many years.”
A provider becomes a patient-family
Mike and his family learned first-hand how strong the VMFH family was when Terri was diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer, a 5-year battle.
“I was able to support Terri for her last three months at home with hospice and family support. That was a great gift to Terri, my family and me,” he says. “I’ll always be grateful to the people in our professional and personal lives who supported us.”
After Terri passed, Mike continued much of the volunteer work the couple had given their spare time – especially volunteering in their kids’ schools.
Since 2005 when Mike remarried, he and his second wife, Maureen, continue giving back to their community.
“We believe very strongly in giving what we can – our talent, resources and our time. For us, we are so blessed, and supporting people who need help right now is both fulfilling and part of our priorities to our faith and our community,” Mike says.
Prioritizing a service-driven life
Over their 18 years of marriage, Maureen and Mike have welcomed a homeless teenager into their home who they were able to support and bring out of poverty, and today continues to volunteer with a number of organizations in their community.
VMFH has also become one of the most important places for Mike and Maureen to direct their giving. And when it came time to make their estate plans, Mike and Maureen believe that a legacy gift to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is a perfect reflection of their values.
“We believe in the quality of care our system gives everyone who comes through our doors,” Mike says. “It’s important to Maureen and me to give where we see our values of purpose and service to our community are realized. VMFH has given me a wonderful career and I want to ensure in some small way that our system remains vibrant for many years to come.”