Nebraska State Patrol Troopers Jeff Wallace, Jonathan Royle, and Courtney Horak surprised over 20 pediatric patients with teddy bears at the Regional West Rehab Center’s annual Christmas party. The troopers were also joined by Santa in helping the young patients decorate Christmas cookies and enjoy the holiday festivities.
“It made the kids’ day to have the patrolmen join our Christmas party! The kids loved being helped by a trooper to complete their Christmas activities, and the teddy bears were such a fun surprise,” said Regional West occupational therapist Hannetjie Papenfus.
As members of the State Troopers Association of Nebraska (STAN), sworn officers and personnel of the Nebraska State Patrol have a long history of community involvement and support for charitable causes. STAN developed the Wishing Well program in 1985 to grant wishes to seriously ill children in cooperation with Children’s Hospital in Omaha and Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. The program is designed to boost the morale of children in an effort to assist their recovery.
“As Nebraska State Troopers, we want to be involved in our community, building relationships with the public. It is so important for kids to have positive interactions with law enforcement officers so that if they need help, they know they can come to us,” said Trooper Courtney Horak. “There are troopers in western Nebraska that have children and grandchildren that have battled serious medical conditions. This is a cause near and dear to our hearts. I am glad that we get an opportunity to interact and have fun with the kids.”
“We are very thankful for all the support that we receive from STAN. With their help, we are able to provide pediatric patients at the Rehab Center with weighted blankets, vests, and other weighted items that enable the children to participate to their fullest potential in their daily activities,” said Papenfus.
For more information about Regional West Foundation or to make a donation, contact the Foundation office at 308.630.2244, email Julie.Marshall@rwhs.org, or visit RegionalWestFoundation.org.