Silver Cross celebrates first holiday season at new site
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org December 24, 2012 7:56PM
Lynne Daly, pediatric unit shift coordinator, talks about donated items that will be handed out during the holidays at Silver Cross Hospital Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, in New Lenox. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 26, 2013 6:24AM
Lynne Daly searched through the room full of donated toys in the pediatric unit at Silver Cross Hospital, which is celebrating its first Christmas at its new location in New Lenox.
Santa has really come through for children in the pediatric unit this year — as well as their siblings, said Daly, the hospital’s shift coordinator.
On Monday, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve dropped off donations from the Toys for Tots program. The day before, the Joliet and New Lenox fire departments dropped off toys. Church groups, schools and individual families have stepped forward to make Christmas special at Silver Cross.
“We have plenty of gifts for our kids, both inpatient and outpatient,” Daly said. “The church groups have been just incredible.”
One church group brought in 50 gift bags. An area hotel brought in blankets. Another group donated Pillow Pets. Local businesses from the Joliet and New Lenox areas were busy elves this year.
Ruth Colby, senior vice president, observed the nurses searching through the gifts and commended them for their hard work year-round.
“Here it is, Christmas Eve, and they’re here taking care of patients,” Colby said. “They’re dressed to keep people’s spirits up. They bring them Christmas joy.”
“They’re dressed to keep kids comfortable,” said Mary Bakken, chief operating officer, discussing the nurses’ holiday-themed clothing.
In the broader scope of 2012, Christmas is the frosting on the Santa cookie for Silver Cross Hospital, which has had a memorable year.
On Feb. 26, the new $400 million hospital opened at Interstate 355 and U.S. 6 in New Lenox, after more than a century at its Maple Road site in Joliet. Almost 10 months later, the hospital is thriving, Bakken said.
“We are serving so many more patients this year than last year throughout the entire hospital,” she said. “The feedback we’re receiving from the community about our hospital is outstanding. We’re busier than ever.”
On Monday, hospital volunteers Lillian Mazur, Gerry Wurzburger and Stuart Swift, along with Cindy Cavato, Silver Cross’ service ambassador, reflected on the big changes in 2012 — noting that Silver Cross now serves a greater population, has easy access to the I-355 tollway and offers services under one roof, with pavilions A, B and C all connected to the hospital.
The limestone Maltese Cross, the symbol of the hospital’s founding organization, the Will County Union of King’s Daughters and Sons, is on display in the main entrance of the new hospital.
Also prominent this holiday season are elegantly decorated Christmas trees lining the walls between the pavilions as well as one on display on each floor by the elevator. And in the evening, all the trees in the hospital’s driveway have elegant white lights, creating the right holiday mood.