Health & Wellness Resources


Heartland Hospice Helps Veteran Patient Celebrate Christmas


Tom Mehlbrech, a Navy Veteran and Heartland Hospice patient, spoke with Jennie, Hospice Aide at Heartland Hospice serving Central Wisconsin, about the upcoming holidays and how much he loves celebrating Christmas. He told Jennie that he would like to enjoy one last Christmas tree in his home. Hearing Tom’s wish, Jennie knew she had to find the perfect tree for Tom. Not only did she find a tree that matched Tom’s description, but other members of the hospice team wanted to help grant his wish by baking cookies, bringing decorations and spending time with Tom to celebrate his favorite holiday.

Ann, Medical Social Worker, Lisa, RN Case Manager, Deb, Hospice Aide, KC, Account Liaison and Jennie visited Tom at his home in Wisconsin Rapids and began putting his Christmas tree together in the corner of his living room so that he could enjoy seeing it while watching TV. The tree was decorated with beautiful lights along with red, white and blue ornaments in honor of Tom being a Navy Veteran. Tom was speechless upon seeing his Christmas tree and said it reminded him of Christmas’ from a long time ago. After the decorations were hung, everyone sang Christmas carols together and enjoyed cookies and egg nog.

During Jennie’s visits with Tom, he would often discuss his favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers, and how the team has been playing. KC contacted the Green Bay Packers in hopes of having Tom go to Lambeau Field and see a game, but with his health declining, the organization sent Tom a care package instead. When Tom received the package at home, he thought it was sent to the wrong person until he read the personalized card addressed to him. The Green Bay Packers sent Tom a 2016 team autographed football, and a hat, a picture and a blanket signed by Aaron Rodgers.

“It was very heartwarming to help fulfill someone’s last wish. It truly brought tears to my eyes just to see something that what I might think is so simple, brightens someone else’s day. It really is about the simple things in life that bring the greatest amounts of joy, which is a great reminder around this time of year. I love my job, I love helping people and it is always my goal to keep my patients smiling and laughing. I want to support my patients in any way that I can, in some of the hardest times in their life. If I can get a smile or laugh out of my patients, and support them as well, then I know that I have done my job whole heartedly,” said Jennie.

Tom enjoyed himself, and was brought to tears at the end of the visit by the huge hearts of these ladies and their determination to see his wish come true.