The Pursuit of Spreading Smiles

The Pursuit of Spreading Smiles

Loree & Leon

“I love it! I love working here, giving the kids balloons, and seeing their faces. Every day when I come here, I’m happy. I am helping people,” said Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s Loree Schutta, in Concierge.

For Loree and fellow Concierge team member Leon Schefers, every day is an opportunity to spread smiles and kindness. “I enjoy talking to the patients; we have a lot of folks that just want to chat. I enjoy talking to those who have things like broken bones. It’s exciting to see the healing from visit to visit,” said Schefers.

The duo, who are the first faces you’ll see when arriving at the medical facility, stop nothing short of making sure they can put a smile on your face.

For the littlest patients, Loree explains that it started small and has quite literally ballooned to new proportions, “They have all the balloons at the pharmacy. It started with purchasing two, and now we have 7 to 10 we give out on Thursdays. We will have kids come in days later and tell us they still have their balloons.”

“If we don’t have balloons, we may have cookies and coffee for the parents. We want them to leave with a good feeling,” explained Schefers. Schutta chimed in, adding that she wants coming to the hospital to be a positive experience for the kids, “I’m coming to get a balloon or a cookie, not a shot.”

What makes this story all the sweeter is that Schutta and Schefers pay for the items out of their own pockets. Their pursuit of spreading smiles extends well beyond the patients. “We’ve given chocolates to individuals and departments at the hospital that we think are doing a wonderful job. We also do flowers. We want to give them something to commemorate their good work,” said Schefers.

The cost of spreading smiles: Priceless. “There aren’t enough smiles in the world. We want people to smile,” said Schefers.