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"LifeStar Team Celebrates the True Meaning of the Season"


While most people were home celebrating Christmas Eve with their loved ones, Mercy LifeStar employees were on the job. However, this Christmas Eve turned out differently than anyone expected. Instead of handling a big medical emergency, the team was called into action to take on the role of Santa Claus.

“Just as we were sitting down to have our Christmas lunch at the office, we got the call from my wife, who works as a nurse in the Emergency Department at Bucyrus Community Hospital,” recalled Kirk Williamson, Supervisor, Mercy LifeStar. “She told us about a five-year-old girl in foster care who was brought in to the ED and needed help. She had only the clothes on her back, and they had nothing to send her home in, except a hospital gown. Well, that’s when our team went into action. All of the staff pitched in and a couple of us went to Wal-Mart to get her some clothes. Before I left, I spread the word through a mass e-mail to my LifeStar employees and the volunteer fire department. What happened in the next two hours was amazing.”

Just as he pulled into the parking lot at Wal-Mart, Kirk saw a long-time friend who is a manager at the store. He introduced Kirk to the day manager who “grabbed a cart and started piling it up with warm clothes, socks, and underwear. She then took us to the toy department where we picked out a doll and some stuffed dogs for her. What was even more heartwarming was the outpouring from the Wal-Mart staff that began to come up to us and give us items to give the little girl. By the time we left, we had more than $300 in clothes and toys.”

When Kirk arrived back at the office, two LifeStar employees, Bill Anderson and Garry Cline, had bought a pink Big Wheel. They quickly wrapped the gifts and arrived with clothes and gifts in hand at the hospital within two and a half hours of the phone call.

"One of our staff members who was off that day called her friend who had daughters, and they brought some nice clothes and items by as well. I received so many calls from people wanting to help,” Kirk continued.

Once at the hospital, the LifeStar employees and nursing staff decorated a room with a Christmas tree they borrowed from the trauma bay, and placed the presents around the tree. “The foster mom brought the little girl into the room and told her that Santa had decided to bring her presents to her at the hospital. She went from feeling bad to ecstatic. Tim Weisenauer, a LifeStar EMT, assembled her Big Wheel bike and since there was only one other patient in the ED, the nurses let her take laps around the ED. It was a moving site to see that little girl’s face on that bike. She told us that this was her first bicycle.

“While we couldn’t be home with our own families, we were able to take part and live the true meaning of Christmas by sharing it with a little girl who needed us. It was unusual that we didn’t have any emergency calls during that time. It was as though this time was cleared for us to help this little sweetheart.”

Note: Special thanks and recognition to the following LifeStar employees who helped make this foster child’s Christmas so special: Bill Anderson, Garry Cline, Chris Hulsmeyer, Joe Kelbley, Traci Lord, Nick Seville, Tim Weisenauer and Kirk Williamson.

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