There’s no place quite like home, and as Mark Deyo-Svendsen, M.D., and his spouse, Beverly, have found, there are no people quite like those at home either.
Home for the Deyo-Svendsens is Menomonie, Wisconsin. Dr. Deyo-Svendsen, vice chair of
practice, Mayo Clinic Department of Family Medicine, knows the people of his northwest Wisconsin town as only a family medicine physician in a small town can — intimately.
Beverly spends her working hours on staff at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Between careers in health care and education, zealous community volunteerism, and having raised two children who attended Menomonie’s public schools, the Deyo-Svendsens can hardly step out their front door without seeing a friendly face.
That’s exactly how they like it. Fifteen years ago, when their children were school-age, the Deyo-Svendsens and a few like-minded friends founded a new church in Menomonie, maintaining the tenets of their faith while appealing to younger families. The group met in a movie theater at first.
Today, Cedarbrook Church draws about 500 people for its services on Sundays. The congregation shares Dr. Deyo-Svendsen and Beverly’s passion for volunteer activism and service.
“People are so impassioned to do good things for other people, and it’s really gratifying,” Beverly says.
These community projects need someone who will say yes when they’re asked to lead. That’s a
role Dr. Deyo-Svendsen and Beverly have found themselves in — and one they’ve come to appreciate.
“The leadership part is not as popular as it should be, but when a person is willing to do it, people are very generous and want to be involved,” Beverly says.
The church works through a number of initiatives, including a group that installs water
wells in impoverished areas. The economic effect of access to clean water is astounding, and it is one of the most attractive parts of the work to Dr. Deyo-Svendsen, who helps manage finances for the church group.
“When we get together with people who share our vision and mission, we can do so much more than we can do by ourselves,” says Dr. Deyo-Svendsen. “We can’t do any of this by ourselves. But we can make sure people know how passionate we are about these things.”
This is a concept the couple apply to their other charitable giving and volunteering as well. The
Deyo-Svendsens have given to Mayo Clinic and last year made the clinic part of their will.
“Any way I can support people to receive the best health care they can, I’m all for that,” Beverly
says. “Mayo Clinic does it the best way it can be done. I want to be part of that.”
As a longtime Mayo Clinic Health System physician, Dr. Deyo-Svendsen has had plenty of
opportunity to consider Mayo Clinic’s vision and what it means in his own work. In particular, he has reflected on Mayo Clinic’s mission to “inspire hope.”
“We are here to inspire hope in our patients’ lives and in the communities we serve. Hope is not the belief that things will turn out the way we want them to. Hope is the certainty that things make sense, no matter how they turn out,” Dr. Deyo-Svendsen says. “In Family Medicine,
we also inspire hope when we come alongside people in need — being there with them in the
good times and the bad. “Because we are part of Mayo Clinic, we can assure them that they never have to leave our care.”
Here to Stay
Mayo Clinic recognizes the Deyo-Svendsens as Mayo Alumni Laureates through the Doctors Mayo Society, a group of more than 3,500 Mayo Clinic alumni and spouses who share a commitment to the ideals of the Doctors Mayo and a desire to perpetuate Mayo Clinic’s mission and excellence through personal philanthropy.
After more than 31 years in the community, the Deyo-Svendsens are still finding new ways to be involved.
Some of their community efforts are more lighthearted. Beverly recently helped organize a ukulele club. It had — almost astoundingly for a city of a little over 16,000 — 23 members at a
The couple also travels regularly to their home away from home in Florida, near Walt Disney
World, where their daughter is employed. These getaways allow the Deyo-Svendsens to relax
and recharge as they volunteer at Give Kids the World Village, helping make wishes come true
for children with serious illnesses. One of these years they might just make the move to Florida
permanent. But not yet.
Dr. Deyo-Svendsen had a recent appointment with a patient who was in need of an organ
transplant. As they sat together in the exam room, the doctor received the news: Several
potential donors had come forward.
What inspired this gift of life?
“They knew he needed it,” he says of the donors. “We live in grace, receiving what
we have not earned. “In the exam room, with people that I care about, I feel like I’m home. This is where I belong, in relationship with these people, just doing life together.” ■
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