Northlanders Find Gifts of Joy While Working on Christmas

Employees, Patients, and Visitors at One Duluth Hospital Find Happiness For the Holidays

DULUTH, Minn. – Giving the gift of care can be the greatest gift of all.

“We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Lauryn Wilson, R.N. at Essentia Newborn ICU.

“Christmas is really no different than any other day,” said Howard Lamirande, Security Officer at Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Duluth.

For Howard, his workload might even be a little slower on Christmas Day.

“Everybody most likely wants to be home with their family on Christmas,” said Lamirande.

It’s a want, everybody wishes for. For many, it’s simply another day in the life.

“It’s just another day for us, we’re here doing the same thing we do every day,” said Lamirande.

Unplanned leaps through life could easily put a damper on holiday plans.

Aside from monitoring the nearly six-thousand people who stroll through the medical campus every day, a Christmas meal is served during the holiday as well inviting employees, their families, and patients to enjoy.

“We’re basically ambassadors of the hospital, and we’re trying to keep people safe and make sure that they feel safe and secure in our building,” said Lamirande.

“No parent expects to spend their first Christmas in the hospital,” said Wilson.

For Lauryn Wilson, security helps spread smiles throughout her time on the clock.

“It’s all of our kiddos first Christmas! Even though you may not get to be with your family on the holiday, you get to be a part of the NICU family,” said Wilson.

Celebrating festivities, with families who are just beginning.

“We take pictures in Santa hats and stockings and Santa comes with presents,” said Wilson.

Placing presents under the tree for sleepy newborns like the Payne twins.

Newborn mother of momo twins, Clarissa Payne was in the hospital birthplace for five weeks before giving birth to two beautiful little girls.

“They are well taken care of. You can leave for a while, go get lunch and you don’t have to worry about anything,” said Payne.

“My husband and I  are going to come up during the day and into the evening and then go home at night.”

Clarissa and her husband, will be celebrating a true silent night before their two little girls start growing up fast.

“We have an opportunity to volunteer for certain holidays every year and I chose Christmas this time!”

Just like Lauryn, Dan Green decides to celebrate his holiday with his patients.

“A lot of families are going through a really tough time,” said Green, an R.N. for Essentia Hospice Care. “Their loved one is in the process of dying.”

Patients, passing. Celebrating their last holiday down the hall, as newborns begin their time on earth.

“It’s lots of fun, you meet great people, there’s a lot of comedy, believe it or not,” said Green.

Finding the importance to make light in such a dark situation, during a special time for many.

“I’ve done many, many things and this is one of the most enjoyable, rewarding things I’ve ever done,” said Green.

“It’s very pleasant, everybody’s happy! You hear a lot of people saying Merry Christmas to you,” said Sue Larson with Essentia Environmental Services.

Down the hall, messages turn into memories for patients and employees.

“I think that the free dinner for people that need a place to go is nice. I like to see people come in here and be able to eat for free,” said Larson.

After 32 years of working at the hospital, Larson continues to cherish her job, no matter what day of the year it might be.

“They are always in a good mood, just people smiling everywhere!”

“We really like our job here, and we like coming in and that’s what we like to do, to help people,” said Lamirande.

“It’s also Christmas and it’s a time for a lot of wonderful things going on,” said Green.

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