Julie Mckenna grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While she isn’t from Racine, this town has grown close to her heart. Working as a Respiratory Therapist and volunteering as a member of the Racine Unified School District School board has united her and the community.
This week’s Racine County Eye Hometown Hero of the week has been working at Ascension All Saints, 3801 Spring Street, for nearly 30 years. She is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT). Prior to her experiences at the local hospital, she worked at Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Illinois for 2 years.
Inspired by Others
This loving wife, mother, and sister has been inspired by those around her. As a child, Mckenna’s brother was facing a cancer diagnosis. At a young age, she remembers caring for her brother. She has always wanted to help others and take care of those who were ill. That’s how she knew she wanted to be in the medical field.
She’s inspired to help because of others who also helped her as a child. Mckenna has an appreciation for nurses and doctors who understood her when she was a young child dealing with asthma. Inspiration from others helped to clear the path to her career. Mckenna said, “I always wanted to make things better and help others.” At first, she thought about working as a Registered Nurse.
After shadowing a respiratory therapist, Mckenna knew that was her calling. However, she never expected that COVID-19 would cross her path. As a Respiratory Therapist, she and many others at Ascension All Saints are putting their heads together to best fight this virus.
In every part of the hospital, respiratory therapists are assisting patients. Currently, Mckenna’s primary roles are performing the advanced pulmonary function tests and working in the Pulmonary Function Lab for outpatients and inpatients.
Respiratory therapists are actively working to combat COVID-19. Mckenna says ” What makes someone a hero is overcoming your fear to help others, and humility and compassion make someone a hero.” She credits the Ascension All Saints Respiratory Department. The teamwork is what makes this department special.
Advice from the RRT
The Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) team is putting their full effort to help patients, especially those that have COVID-19. This virus heavily involves the respiratory tract. Take advice from the ones who know all about respiratory involvement.
“People are dying and dying alone from COVID-19. Take this pandemic seriously. COVID-19 is real and we need you to keep yourself safe, keep us safe, and keep our community safe by wearing a mask, washing your hands, watching your distance, and getting your flu shot. Also, have patience when you see us. Processes and procedures often change and take more time to do these days” says the respiratory therapist.
Not always will it be easy; however, it is worth it. It saves lives. Support respiratory therapists by being understanding of these measures. Washing hands and wearing masks are simple tasks that pay off.
School Board Member
COVID-19 has not only impacted Julie Mckenna at work, but also in her role as a school board member for Racine Unified School District. Who knew that having breakfast with a friend and conversing would lead to her being a volunteer for nearly 23 years. She’s loved helping her community since first elected long ago.
She uses her skills in the medical field and critical thinking knowledge to best serve students and members of Racine. She says it has been an honor to serve. The long hours working during a pandemic don’t stop Mckenna from contributing to making decisions for the school system.
Selflessness, compassion, and pride lead Mckenna in all that she does. “I grew up wanting to make things better and help others” says Julie Mckenna, and she is doing just that.
If you want to send Julie Mckenna a kind message or a thank you note, direct her an email at
Musician and Medicine
In different capacities, Julie Mckenna helps others heal. In her free time, Mckenna plays her piccolo and flute. She provides peace to those who listen. Mckenna plays as a member of the Milwaukee American Legion Band, Milwaukee Concert Band, Greendale Village Band and Silver Music Flute Ensemble. Unfortunately, they have not been performing this year due to COVID-19.
Check out this video of Julie Mckenna playing her instrument by clicking here.
Mckenna has made her mark on Racine. She given in numerous ways that have benefited the people of this community. It’s individuals like her who make Racine special. We know there are more heroes like Mckenna in the community, nominate them to be the next Racine County Eye Hometown Hero of the Week.
Nominate a Hero
Nominate a front line worker such a doctor or first responder to be named the Racine County Eye Hometown Hero of the Week. Click here to fill out a form to nominate someone special in your life.
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