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Face Behind the Books: Mary Lou Winterland

Medical technologist with microscopeMeet Volunteer Mary Lou Winterland

Chief Operational Manager Mary Lou Winterland is no stranger to making things run smoothly. After working as a Medical Technologist for over 46 years at the same facility — Brokaw Hospital, BroMenn Medical Center and now Advocate BroMenn Medical Center — she excelled in her career and later became supervisor of microbiology and then supervisor of microbiology and histology before retiring October 3, 2014.

How Did She Get Involved with Books to Benefit?

After retiring Mary Lou was looking for something to do when she heard about Books to Benefit from a Facebook post shared by the wife of a high school friend. “Tell me more about this all-volunteer organization,” prodded Mary Lou. In March 2017 when she learned that the group was made up of avid readers and like-minded people who wanted to make a difference by supporting local literacy, she joined.

Within a few months, it was apparent that Mary Lou was hooked. The former operational manager and board member running the day-to-day duties was looking to step down. She had been in charge for many years and needed a break. Since she and Mary Lou worked well together the transition was a natural fit. Mary Lou stepped into the position and has embraced the challenge, making it her own. She is always looking for ways to let the public know about this amazing organization.

What is Mary Lou’s Most Memorable Books to Benefit Story?

“I get a kick out of our vintage volunteer Dr. Mary Ryder. Not only does she recognize treasures among our older books, but she also seems to find the best homes for them. If she isn’t related to someone in the community, she taught that person or their relatives,” shared Mary Lou. “Instead of the six degrees of separation, we joke about the six degrees of Mary!” (Read about some of the books that Mary has helped placed locally.)

The people make the organization for Mary Lou, “Not only do we volunteer to help Books to Benefit, but we enjoy working together and getting to know each other. We are a close-knit group.” Books to Benefit is always looking for volunteers to help. If you are interested in learning more, stop by Books to Benefit on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to talk with Mary Lou.Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

What does Mary Lou Enjoy Reading?

As a teenager and young adult Mary Lou enjoyed reading Agatha Christie and Stephen King.  Now as an adult she enjoys John Grisham and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. While the Outlander TV series is not as good as the books, she admits that she looks forward to curling up on the couch with a glass of wine to watch new episodes.

What are Mary Lou’s Interests?

When it is time to kick back Mary Lou enjoys exploring local events. She and a group of friends like to do daytrips to soak up a little local color. She frequents festivals, enjoys quaint shopping trips, likes to go sightseeing and finds unique places to explore. When she isn’t reading or traveling, Mary Lou likes to spend time with her daughter and grandchildren.