Volunteer Story: Addie


At a very tender age, Addie learned the most important lesson about the purpose and meaning of life: to use your gifts, skills and abilities in service that helps other people in some way. This lesson was learned at the knee of her mother, a pediatrician who founded a hospital in Tijuana, Mexico in the early 60s, that served women and children living in poverty. Her mother, Dr. Patricia Dunklee, worked in the hospital teaching medical students, interns and residents from the U.S. and Mexico for over 25 years, inspiring those around her with her wisdom, clinical skills, and devotion to the well-being of children. For many years, Addie joined her mother in clinic, learning pediatrics and Spanish, which she also studied in school. 

Addie grew up in San Diego and earned her B.A. in child psychology with minors in classics and Latin. She then moved to Colorado to study pediatrics at the University of CO Health Sciences Center, the same university where her mother, uncle and grandfather had earned their M.D.s. Addie earned her M.S. degree as a Pediatric Physician Assistant. She met her husband, a hand surgeon named Fred Finseth, on a volunteer medical trip with her mother and anesthesiologist sister. After receiving her graduate degree, Addie moved to Northern California to be with him. She worked in pediatrics for a few years, and later took over the management of her husband’s hand surgery practice, work which continued until he died in 2007.  

During her years in San Francisco, Addie volunteered in several local schools, working with children with reading challenges. She and her tripod dog, Bella, volunteered with a special reading program called Puppy Dog Tales, where reading-challenged children read to Bella. The children loved it and were considered to be very lucky by their peers!

In 2017 Addie moved to Bend, sight unseen. She’d never heard of the city, although she’d visited her husband’s native state many times over the years. She immediately began to search for volunteer opportunities in education and health care, her major passions. Shorty after she arrived in Bend, she began volunteering with VIM as a front desk scheduler and with the SMART reading program. She stopped working with SMART when the pandemic hit, but she has now eclipsed 1,000 hours of service at VIM. 

Addie has delighted in her work at the clinic, which provided her an opportunity to use her medical background and Spanish. She says, “I am so grateful to be able to work alongside so many wonderful volunteers and staff members in furthering VIM’s service to the community.”

When Addie is not volunteering at VIM she enjoys the companionship of her three rescue dogs, all chihuahua mixes. Sally, Ollie, and Nellie get Addie out and about on daily walks and keep her cozy at night – every night is a three dog night in her house! Addie also thrives on reading (especially WWII spy books), watching good movies at home (mysteries and Masterpiece Theatre are particular favorites!), and puttering around her succulent gardens.