Sanford donates teddy bears

Let it be said that community spirit lives on in the hearts of the Sanford Health and the Norskies Hockey Team.
In February, Sanford Health teamed up with the Norskies which hosted a “Teddy Bear Toss” in conjunction with Sanford Health.
Jon Praska of the Thief River Falls Norskies said over 2,000 teddy bears or stuffed toys were collected and donated to Sanford.
Sanford cleaned all the teddy bears and found a home for them at Pathfinders, Behavioral Health and for the Sanford Auxiliary which makes “buddy bags” for the children or siblings who come into the emergency department or are admitted to the hospital.
But the Teddy Bear Toss was so successful that Sanford Health donated many more stuffed animals to other local organizations that were also in need, including: Law Enforcement, ECFE, Pennington County Social Services, Little Brother/Little Sister, Seventh Day Adventist and St. Bernard’s churches, Inter-County Family Services, LifeCare, the Thief River Falls Library and the Northern Lights Bookstore. The Norskies and members of the LHS National Honor Society delivered the stuffed animals.
In 2009, Sanford Health, then MeritCare – Northwest Hospital Auxilary teamed up with the Brownie Girl Scout Troop #20734 to deliver Valentine teddy bears to patients at the hospital.
The girls enjoyed interacting with the staff and patients. Now graduating seniors, these same girls were on hand to present some of the stuffed animals collected during the Teddy Bear Toss to Sanford Health.
Interestingly enough, two of the nurses in the 2009 picture and article, were present to receive this gift on behalf of Sanford Health.
About the
Barb Okland works in the OB Department and Kristina Kjos in Diabetic Education. The girls are Angel Cullen, BreAnnene Willson, Natalie Anderson and Leah Dahlstrom.
Angel is still a Girl Scout, and has volunteered at Sanford Health, Challenger Elementary School, the Thief River Falls Library, St. Bernard’s and at local nursing homes. Angel is also active at LHS with the National Honor Society, Math League, Prowler Post, Writers Club, CoExist, Drama, Concert Choir and Peer Tutoring. She plans to attend U of M Morris in the fall pursuing double major in education and psychology and minoring in Spanish and theatre. BreAnnene is involved at LHS in the National Honor Society, Student Council, Yearbook, Peer Tutoring, Just for Kix, and works as an adult assistant at Latchkey. She also serves on the Community Education Advisory Board for the school district. BreAnnene plans to attend college in the fall majoring in advertising/marketing with a double minor in international sales and consumer psychology.
Natalie was involved in Concert Choir at LHS and was part of the Vocal Inferno Jazz ensemble. She has volunteered her time and musical ability at her church and in the community; she also helped out for many years during the book fairs at Challenger Elementary School. Natalie’s involvement in her church has included a mission trip to the Honduras. She has worked all the way through high school and now is employed at Oakland Park Communities. Natalie is well-known for her exceptional work ethic. One field she is drawn to is nursing and she plans to pursue her Certified Nursing Assistant license in June. She hopes to attend either Northland College or Bemidji State pursuing a nursing degree.
Leah has been involved in music all of her life and studied piano under Kristi LaSalle and violin under Kari Lindemoen. She is a violinist in the Northern Valley Youth Orchestra Symphony. She also volunteers her time and musical abilities at St. Bernard’s and local care facilities. She is employed by Riverwood, a facility that assists developmentally disabled adults in life and social skills. She plans to pursue missionary work in the Phillipines and further her theological education.