High school sweethearts, Ginny and Mike McBride will soon celebrate 60 years of marriage. The pair met in Maynard, Iowa, when Mike’s dad suggested they attend a girls’ basketball game. “Ginny was on varsity and sitting across the way from me at the game. A few days later, I called her up and asked her for a date,” says Mike. Ginny agreed and, as Mike mentions, “the rest is history.” A star player who still holds the record for starting 16 consecutive state tournament games, Ginny was also elected to the Iowa Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965.
After high school, Mike studied accounting at the University of Northern Iowa and Ginny studied nursing at Allen College, six miles away. “Fortunately, my roommate had a car, so as long as I put gas in the tank, I could visit her,” laughs Mike.
Upon graduation, Mike started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Milwaukee and later transitioned to the Gustave A. Larson Company. He soon took over as president, leading for 28 years. Ginny worked as a nurse and then stayed home to raise their two daughters, Brenda and Julie.
With the McBrides' success came their strong desire to give back to the community. Early in their retirement, Ginny and Mike started volunteering at Kathy’s House, a nonprofit that provides lodging and support for patients receiving care at local hospitals, including Froedtert Hospital.
Mike also brings his granddaughter with special needs to an after-school program three days per week and volunteers at Eras Senior Network, driving clients to doctors’ appointments and taking them grocery shopping.
“When we have the ability to make a difference in someone’s life or for an organization, we’re eager to do it,” says Mike.
In addition to volunteering, the McBrides give generously to organizations close to their hearts, including the Froedtert Hospital Foundation, because of the care they received as patients.
Mike was treated for a stroke years ago and Ginny underwent a kidney transplant, receiving a donor kidney from her 39-year-old nephew, Brad.
Prior to the transplant, Mike took seven weeks of training to learn how to treat Ginny through dialysis at home; this lasted for two years. “Mike told my dad he’d always take care of me,” says Ginny with a smile. “And he did.”
“While recovering from transplant surgery, the compassion shown to me by the nurses at Froedtert Hospital was incomparable to care I’ve received elsewhere,” says Ginny. “When I’d need something and put my light on, the nurses would call immediately. They’d also ask if there was anything else I needed before they left. They were incredibly compassionate.”
Ginny and Mike were so impressed by the dedication shown by the nurses at Froedtert Hospital that they decided to donate toward nursing scholarships, creating the McBride Scholars. Their scholarships support Froedtert Hospital nurses who are pursuing advanced degrees and other employees who wish to become nurses.
“We want to help students who have financial needs and make a difference in their lives,” says Mike. Ginny and Mike not only fund the Froedtert Hospital scholarship, but also have endowed scholarships at their colleges and are active participants in the interview process.
“It’s hard to describe the joy and emotional gratification we get when we award the scholarships. Many of the recipients also haven’t visited Milwaukee, so we invite them up for a brewery tour, a baseball game, and a meal at our home,” says Mike.
This year’s recipient of the McBrides' scholarship — Denise Herriges — was inspired to become a nurse by the wonderful nurses who cared for her dad, who passed away from cancer. Eleven years ago, she started her career as a certified nursing assistant and has since worked as an oncology nurse for the past eight years. The scholarship established by the McBrides is supporting her dream to earn a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership. “I am just so thankful for their generosity in offering nurses this opportunity. I’m extremely honored to have been chosen for this award,” she shares with pride. After graduation next spring, Denise plans to pursue a leadership role in oncology, focusing on improving patient outcomes, quality of care, and patient and staff safety.
Along with supporting Denise’s career goals, the McBrides are making an estate intention to continue their investment in nursing scholarships in perpetuity.
“The best use of one’s life is to invest in something that will outlast life,” says Mike. “Our planned gift will ensure students receive scholarships for years to come.”