A Giving Tree

The Residents and Little Sisters of St. Joseph's Home bring a Giving Tree filled with toys, books and much love to the children visiting St. Alexius Hospital's ER.
Santa (Bob Guretz) and his elves bring the Giving Tree to St. Alexius Hospital

In 1984 Dr. John Schugt, an Emergency Room Physician in Southern California, decided to purchase a Christmas tree filled with children’s toys and books. He wanted every child who visited the Emergency Room during the Christmas Season 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. After Dr. Schugt passed away, Marge- in his memory, helped the Residents at St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine create a similar tree for the ER at St. Alexius Hospital. On December 10th, with a rented U-Haul and a bus filled with Little Sisters, Residents and Marge’s group of tree decorators, the journey was made to St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates.

Sounds of crying children welcomed the group as they wheeled the tree through the ER door. Led by St. Joseph’s Resident Santa (Bob Guretz) they paraded in.

A small voice exclaimed, ‘Look there’s Santa!’ The crying stopped and waving hands welcomed Bob and the group. Lisa Jordan, Director of Emergency and Trauma Services, was waiting to direct the tree to its place of honor. The decorating team went to work finishing off the tree as CEO Len Wilk, ER doctor, Dr. John Sullivan and many nurses and staff came by to say thanks.

The elderly Residents at St. Joseph’s Home are often the recipients of kindness and support from generous people; but they also greatly enjoy doing acts of kindness and helping others as much as they can. This gift is the Resident’s 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 ER during the Christmas Season will be comforted.