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The Spirit of Volunteerism


Rose Mologne: More Than 44 Years Of Committed Service

By Joe Nieves
Walter Reed Bethesda Public Affairs

In 1973 at then Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, Rose Mologne embarked on a journey of volunteerism with the American Red Cross that would span more than 44 years, including over 38 years at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) from 1983 until 2011.

When WRAMC joined forces with the National Naval Medical Center to form Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2011, Mologne continued volunteering with the ARC at the new facility.
“Rose mainly visits with patients and staff the days that she is in, but she always comes to ask first if there is anything we need for her to do,” said Marin Reynes, senior station manager for the ARC at WRNMMC. “She often fills in for the Comfort Cart [taking toiletries, snacks, books, DVDs and other items throughout the hospital for patients and their families], and Coffee Morning [providing a continental breakfast to beneficiaries, families and visitors] if we have volunteers out that day. She loves making deliveries of basic need items for patients. Rose...does it all.”
Originally from the small town of Connellsville in southwest Pennsylvania, Mologne graduated from Penn State with a degree in nutritional sciences. She worked as a dietitian at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she met her future husband, the late Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lewis Aspey Mologne, then a medical student at the university’s school of medicine. They married June 18, 1960 and had five children, three sons and two daughters.
The general would complete his internship and residency in general surgery at WRAMC, and have follow-on assignments at Walter Reed, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and in Germany. He was named chief of general surgery at Fitzsimmons in 1973, where Rose Mologne began volunteering with the ARC.
“I always wanted to be an ARC volunteer [and] we did not have such a thing in the little town I grew up in,” she said.
She added her more than four decades of volunteerism comes from a desire to want to give back. “I have had such a good life in the military and I want to pay back for some of that,” she explained.
“I have always had strong military ties, since 1960, and strong volunteers ties…it’s just part of my makeup to help people,” she continued.
Her husband commanded WRAMC from 1983 to 1988, when his reputation as a “Soldier’s General” rose for improving the standard of living for those assigned and working at Walter Reed, especially service members and their families. Volunteers for the Red Cross were important part in this effort, and always had been at WRAMC, she explained.
Rose Mologne credits her husband for encouraging her to continue volunteering with the ARC even more so after he became the WRAMC commanding officer and challenges increased. “It was easy for me to go along on that path with him. He was an outstanding surgeon; he absolutely loved the Soldiers and they loved him.”
The general died from cancer in August 1988, three weeks after relinquishing command of Walter Reed, but Rose Mologne’s commitment to the military and volunteering has not ended.
“Everyone at Walter Reed knows Mrs. Rose Mologne, and if they don’t, they should,” Reynes stated. “She’s a dear friend to her fellow volunteers, and a great laugh for patients, families and staff.”
Reynes recalled Rose Mologne sharing with her a quote from a 1903 speech made by President Theodore Roosevelt. He said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” The Red Cross senior station manager said this quote aptly describes Mologne and many of the ARC volunteers, who in total contributed more than 72,100 hours to support service members, veterans and their families receiving care or working at WRNMMC and Naval Support Activity Bethesda during 2016.
“I think my volunteering now, and I’m 85, is a good example,” Mologne said. “It’s for younger people to maybe emulate,” she added.