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Rose Hill Evangelical Church member Lacey Holland, left, presented gift bags and other items to Toni Mattson, Director of Nursing at the Marshall County Healthcare Center, for nurses and staff. Rose Hill members spearheaded a project to remember all healthcare workers at MCHC, Spruce Court, and Wheatcrest Hills.

Challenge Met; Rose Hill Church Says Thanks

Dara Hughes was challenged on Palm Sunday, and she has met that challenge in a big way for Marshall County healthcare workers.

“We went to church at New Life Fellowship in Aberdeen on Palm Sunday and the pastor was challenging people to step outside their comfort zones and to think outside the box during the pandemic to bless people and to reach people,” Hughes recalled. “I thought we should do something for people in our local church’s area, and I started thinking about healthcare workers. Things kind of snowballed from there.”

She enlisted the help of fellow Rose Hill Evangelical Church member Lacey Holland, and the wheels were set in motion. Rose Hill was supportive with a monetary donation and helped get the word out, several members gave donations, donation boxes were set up, and plans made for gift boxes and gift items purchased for workers at the Marshall County Healthcare Center, Spruce Court Assisted Living, and Wheatcrest Hills in Britton.

Forty gift bags were assembled for every nurse and delivered last week Monday. The bags included masks made by Betty Carson, hand sanitizer made by Krista Geiger, gift cards purchased from local businesses, and other treats provided by Rose Hill Church. Care packages were also put together for break rooms at the hospital and nursing home, and treats, puzzle books, puzzles, and games were delivered for residents of Spruce Court and Wheatcrest Hills. Other items were also put together for general staff including gourmet coffees and packets of playing cards with specific things written for nurses.

Ironically, right in the middle of all this, Hughes ended up going to the hospital in Aberdeen for emergency gall bladder surgery. But that just reinforced what Rose Hill was doing.

“I had to stay overnight and ended up having a neat conversation with the night nurse assigned to me about 2 a.m.,” said Hughes. “I just asked, are you doing okay with all of this? She said she wasn’t fearful to come to work because she was well-trained and ready for all those things. But the added stress of working a job and wondering what she was taking home to her young kids was difficult. God really used that experience to impress upon my heart what these people are doing on the front lines, and we need to bless them.”

The gift bags didn’t just include goodies and gift certificates. They also included messages of encouragement.

“We wrote personal thank yous to all of the 40 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses,” said Holland, “and sent an encouraging card with scripture. We received text messages back saying what a treat it was to get those bags and notes and that it was nice to be reminded sometimes there are other people thinking about you.”

The effort was also a boon to local businesses struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We spent about $800 in local gift certificates and businesses were just so grateful,” added Holland. “They were really appreciative. And the whole thing was really a team effort. We do have a great community.”

Hughes said the primary goal of the project was to let healthcare workers know that their work is appreciated, and that residents of Wheatcrest Hills and Spruce Court have not been forgotten.

“We just wanted the nurses to know that people are thinking about them and we’re behind them, we have their backs,” concluded Hughes. “It also really bothered me that the assisted living and nursing home residents were cut off from visitors and family. They too needed to be encouraged and know that we’re thinking about them and miss them.”

Hughes credited God with being the true mastermind of the project.

“We got the idea and ran with it. I figure if God calls me to do something I will be obedient to it and the results are His.”

Marshall County Journal

PO Box 69, Britton, SD 57430
Phone: (605) 448-2281
Fax: (605) 448-2282