Living his values

Tommy Brauneis

During Tommy Brauneis' 35 years as a chiller mechanic at Johnson Controls, he diligently stashed away a portion of his paychecks and steadily grew his investment savings account. His father, a banker, had taught him well. "From the time I had my first paper route, my father told me, 'Save, save, save,'" he recalled. "The longer I worked, the more I thought, 'What am I going to do with my money?'"

The answer: Help kids. Tommy first became interested in Children's Wisconsin while exercising across the street at the Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC), where the fitness buff goes several times a week for spin class, weight-lifting, and running. He got to know other gym regulars who were on staff at Children's, and he admired their passion and commitment to kids. Then it became personal when Children's successfully treated his great-niece, whose chronic stomach aches turned out to be an intestinal growth.

Tommy was so impressed by the little girl's care that he named Children's as a beneficiary in his estate plan. He designated his gift for training and research to ensure that Wisconsin's kids continue to receive the best care.

Before COVID-19 paused hospital tours, Tommy visited Children's a few times, including the memorable Experience the Mission tour that demonstrated how Tommy Brauneisa young child hurt in an accident would be cared for at the hospital. The tour cemented his commitment to Children's. "That was really, really interesting," he said. "I was surprised by how quickly they can diagnose the problem when someone comes in on an ambulance."

Tommy gives back in other ways, too. He spent five years as a travelers' aid volunteer at Mitchell International Airport and still volunteers twice a week greeting patients at an adult hospital and cancer clinic. He also supports the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Wisconsin – another organization he discovered en route to the gym.

Like Tommy, you can support Children's mission while also living your values. Please feel free to contact Kelly Sachse at (414) 266-6121 or ksachse@chw.org for any questions.