A small gesture of kindness, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, can have a lasting impact and effect on somebody.
A quick compliment, passing smile or thoughtful gesture can feel like a pretty big deal to the recipient even if that wasn’t necessarily the intention of the person handing out those important doses of positivity.
For more than a century, a local 501©(3) non-profit organization has dedicated its services to benefiting Fremont’s local hospital and the patients that call it their temporary home. From October through May, the 15-or-so women who comprise the Priscilla Flower Mission make it their yearly goal to bring happiness to patients staying inside of Fremont Health Medical Center by dropping off vases with flowers to each of their rooms every Saturday morning.
“So many of them (patients) don’t ever receive any kind of flowers when they are in the hospital,” said Marianne Simmons, who has been affiliated with Priscilla Flower Mission since the late 1950s. “Sometimes they don’t even have any visitors, often times this is the only contact they have from the outside world while they are there.”
Kay Brown, who has been a member of the Priscilla Flower Mission since approximately 1998, said that flowers are dropped off to 15-20 rooms each visit made to Fremont Health. In the not so distant past, 30-plus rooms could be visited any given Saturday.
“Nowadays, there’s not as many rooms because patients are in and out of the hospital so fast,” Simmons said. “Before they released patients so quickly we’d be up in the 30s, but now it’s a whole different medical system and the turnover is so quick.”
Prior to arriving at Fremont Health Saturday mornings, the two women handling flower duties that day learn how many patients they will be serving, which dictates the amount of flowers received from Green’s Florist.
“There are two of us who team up, and we will call the hospital and get the patient count; and once we get that count we call the florist and tell the florist how many patients we need flowers for,” Simmons said. “Then we pick the flowers up and we put them in the vases and then we deliver them to the patients.”
Simmons said that patients receive a wide assortment of different flowers. It depends on the season, a lot of times, and around Christmas patients generally receive some sort of festive red flower with pine, or greenery to go along with the theme of the holiday season.
Brown said that flower recipients are always very appreciative of the gift. In fact, at least one flower recipient was so touched by the gesture that a portion of her passing memorial went toward helping Priscilla Flower Mission. Memorials, Simmons said, play a vital role in allowing the organization to fully function.
While Priscilla Flower Mission plays an active role in brightening patients’ mornings, for decades it has also been donating funds used for a variety of Fremont Health Projects.
Since 1976, released donation numbers show that the organization has provided at least $37,340 to the hospital. Most recently, this summer $3,000 was donated and used toward installing bird-themed displays and upgraded flower beds.
Deb Hanson, volunteer specialist at Fremont Health, said that all of the work the Priscilla Flower Mission accomplishes certainly doesn’t go unnoticed.
“They provide joy for our patients and their families and our visitors,” Hanson said during a Tuesday interview with the Tribune. “They are wonderful volunteers and representatives of Fremont Health.”
Hanson added: “having these people care, truly care, about a hospital that we are so lucky to have in the Fremont area is just terrific. Having them serve and support our patients, residents and visitors is just amazing. It goes a long way, and it’s just important we see and recognize that people are doing positive things right here in our own back yard.”