Nurse practitioner Lisette LeCorgne began volunteering years ago, giving free health care to children in Baja, Mexico.
Through her Flying Samaritans group, LeCorgne developed connections with the local chapter of Special Olympics, where she now volunteers her time providing free physicals for students who can't pay for doctor visits.
"My concept was giving something back, but it opened my eyes quickly to the reality that in doing this work, you are given so much joy. It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done," LeCorgne said.
The tireless and compassionate volunteer work earned LeCorgne a Ben's Bells award in August. LeCorgne, a nurse practitioner with 26 years of service at the UA Campus Health Service, was featured on KGUN9's "Morning Blend" program and in the Arizona Daily Star.
Born in New Orleans, LeCorgne moved west for college, earning her undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University and her nurse practitioner degree from the University of Colorado in Denver.
"My training with children with disabilities was in my original program and it served me well for having a background for serving children in Special Olympics," she said.
LeCorgne provides free physicals to students who want to participate in Special Olympics competitions, a requirement that makes sure the children's hearts and lungs will be in no way compromised by the athletic activity.
"Without her generous donation of time and expertise these students would not be able to participate in Special Olympics programs," wrote Emily Gaylord, a physical therapist and Special Olympics coach at Lynn-Urquides Elementary School in South Tucson, in nominating LeCorgne for the award.
"Every time I call her to come to school, she happily agrees and takes time out of her busy schedule to accommodate us. She is genuinely excited to meet and work with our students," Gaylord wrote. "She takes the time to get to know each student and their medical needs."
The Ben's Bells project began after founder Jeannette Maré lost her two-year-old son Ben to croup in 2002. Maré, a UA alumna and former teacher of American Sign Language in the UA College of Education, started the project to give back to the community for the kindness her family received and to honor people who make the community a better, kinder place to live.
"It's such an honor," LeCorgne says. "That is the epitome of the spirit of Tucson and their example is part of the reason that so many of us are proud to be in this community. Their positive impact on the community has been so amazing and it is a role model for Tucson and a spirit we're familiar seeing and it makes us proud."
LeCorgne's career has seen Campus Health move from a cramped and outdated facility to a location and physical structure much better able to meet the needs of the students.
"I'm really thankful to work at the U of A and have the support to be able to do this kind of work," she said. "Even with working in urgent care at the U of A, I'm in a job that has continued to give me incredible satisfaction because it's meeting a real need. It's just is so rewarding to be able to get students back up on their feet and back to class and not have to lose valuable class time."