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Couple Killed In Crash Loved Helping Others

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The community of Sioux Falls continues to mourn after a car accident took the lives of four family members over the weekend. The accident took place just west of Interstate 90.  Jim and Julie Vollmer were killed in the crash, along with 2 of their children, 16 year old Alyssa, and 12 year old Caleb.  Another daughter, Brittney Vollmer, was away at college and was not involved in the crash.

Parents, Jim and Julie were well known in the Sioux Empire for their work in the healthcare industry. Jim worked at Avera Behavioral Health, and Julie was a nurse at Sanford. Both healthcare organizations say the Vollmers will be deeply missed.

It’s a place where new life begins, but today the Neonatal Unit at Sanford Hospital is somber as those who work there remember four lives taken way too soon. A candle and a picture sit at the nurses station as a way to honor one of their own.  

Clinical Manager at Sanford, Jeri Nelson says, “We just had a gathering of the Sanford family in the nursery before we started our shift and so that helped a lot. We had a little time for reflection and remembrance of Julie so that helped.”

Julie Vollmer had spent over 25 years with Sanford. She was a clinical care coordinator who took care of new moms and managed a staff of nurses. Those who worked with her say she was one of a kind.

Nelson says, “ She's very well respected, she’s kind, she's compassionate, she's caring, really I can't recall that Julie has ever said an unkind word about anybody.”

But Julie wasn’t the only member of her family who enjoyed looking after others, Jim was a familiar face at Avera McKennan Hospital.  He’d worked for the company since 2002 and was a social worker in the geriatric program.

Those who knew him best say not only was he loved by his colleagues, but they say Jim made a lasting impression on everyone he met. His co-workers say he had a smile that could light up a room.

While Jim and Julie had a passion for helping others, perhaps what is most evident is their love for family. It’s a family that leaves behind one daughter and brings two healthcare centers together in grief.

Steve Lindquist with Avera Behavioral Health says, “Jim was selfless in his role as a social worker, he embodied caring for others.”

Nelson says, “We didn't get enough time spent with Julie but the life she did live, she lived it well. She spent time with her family and she had her faith and that's very evident in her family and the way they are coping.”
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