A Giving Tree
In 1984 Dr. John Schugt, an Emergency Room Physician in southern California, decided to purchase a Christmas tree that he saw was filled with children’s toys and books. He wanted every child who visited the Emergency Room during the Christmas Season to be able to take something from the tree home with them. For 32 years, he carried on that tradition.
Dr. Schugt and his wife, Marge were good friends of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Dr. Schugt passed away in 2016. In his memory, Marge has helped the Residents at St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine to create a similar tree, packed with toys and books for the Emergency Room at St. Alexius Hospital.
With a rented U-Haul and a bus filled with Little Sisters, Residents and the tree decorators, we made the journey to St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates. Sounds of crying children met us as we wheeled our tree through the emergency room door. Led by our Resident Santa (Bob Guretz) wearing his signature red hat, we paraded in. A small voice exclaimed, ‘Look there’s Santa!’ The crying stopped and soon waving hands welcomed Bob.
Lisa Jordan, Director of Emergency and Trauma Services, greeted our crew and directed us to the center of the ER where the tree would stay until the end of the month. As our decorating team went to work finishing off the tree, CEO Len Wilk, Emergency Medicine doctor, Dr. John Sullivan and many nurses and staff came by to thank us.
The elderly Residents at St. Joseph’s Home are often the recipients of kindness and support from generous people; but the Residents also greatly enjoy doing acts of kindness and helping others as much as they can. This gift is the Residents’ way of giving back and spreading the love and goodwill of the Christmas Season. In carrying on Dr. Schugt’s tradition, the Residents hope that each child who visits the Emergency Room during the Christmas Season will be comforted.