When Ava Seibert retired as a surgical nurse at Henry County Health Center in October of 2017, she was ready to move forward with whatever was to come. She couldn’t have known she’d be widowed less than three months later. When her husband, Ken, passed away unexpectedly in early 2018, Ava and her family named Henry County Health Center Foundation to be the recipient of his memorial gifts and asked that the money be used to benefit the Surgical Services Department at HCHC. But what would be a great way to honor her late husband and benefit the Surgical Services Department at the same time?
After talking it over with her family, Ava decided the funds should go towards the purchase of a miniature electric car for the department. Children who would be scheduled for surgery could ride the car into the surgery room prior to the procedure. This vehicle would be used to calm the children and make them feel at home.
So, per the family’s wishes, HCHC Foundation is proud to present HCHC Surgical Services Department with a bright yellow Mini Cooper styled vehicle in Ken’s memory.
“Our family chose to give Ken’s memorial gift to HCHC Foundation because it is a good cause. I worked at HCHC for 35 years before I retired, and now I’ve come back to work part-time. Ken was such a good support for me working here,” explained Ava.
“Ken loved his grandkids and I think he would be happy to see how the memorial money is being used for kids. We used a wagon in the past and the kids liked that. It kind of takes their mind off what is going on. I think the kids will enjoy riding to surgery in this car with the nurses in control of the remote, of course,” Ava laughed. “There is money left over so if it needs repairs, a new battery or something, there’s some money for car maintenance. We also plan to put a license plate on it that says ‘Phrog’ which is a shortened version of Ken’s nickname, Phrogge.”
Tammy Lillard, HCHC Surgical Services Director, explained the decision behind the use of Ken’s memorial money.
“We wanted to use the money that was donated by the Seiberts for something other than surgical instruments or items that would not necessarily be remembered down the road as a memorial to Ken. We wanted to use the donation for something that would be meaningful to the Seibert family as something Ken felt strongly about. Ken loved kids, particularly his grandchildren. After discussing various options with Ava, we decided to purchase the remote control car for kids to ride into the operating room. The personalized license plate with Ken’s nickname will be a constant reminder of him,” explained Tammy.
Surgical Services used the car for pediatric patients for the first time on Wednesday, January 16. Patient Olivia Thannert was the first to ride in the car from the preop area to the operating room.
“The hospital can be a scary place for kids, so we want to do our best to relieve anxiety and fear for both the children and the parents. On Wednesday, the kids were smiling and enjoying the car rather than being fearful of their surroundings. I think this car will be a great asset for our pediatric patients,” Tammy stated.
Mark Hempen, HCHC Foundation Director said, “I can think of nothing better than to honor our donors’ wishes and help create a positive experience for the patients at HCHC. We are so grateful that Ava and her family chose HCHC Foundation for Ken’s memorial. This electric car is certainly a unique and fun way for the Foundation to further our mission of helping to create positive outcomes at HCHC.”
Posing for a picture with Surgery’s new car is Ava Seibert with daughters Anna and Kendra and their families (front, l-r): grandchildren Zavier Dale, Rylee Seibert, Sylvie Dale, Olivia Dale; (back, l-r): son-in-law Aaron Dale, Anna Dale, grandson Vincent Dale, Kendra Seibert and Ava Seibert.
Also pictured is pediatric patient Hayden Young, one of the first patients at HCHC to ride to surgery in the remote control car that was purchased with funds from the Ken Seibert Memorial.