WakeMed staff puts on Thanksgiving feast for patients and families

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Throwing a Thanksgiving dinner for more than 70 patients and their families takes a lot of work.

But, the staff of WakeMed in Raleigh said it is all worth it.

"This is our favorite day, truly, of the year," explained Beth Rudisill, Director of the Rehabilitation Hospital at WakeMed.

"We have over 40 people who have extended their day to be here and serve, many are guiding patients through the line serving them at their tables, and others are just sitting and hanging out with the patients that they treat on a daily basis. To think about the number of people who say, you know, I've worked a full day already, but I'd like to stay another three hours to do this. It says a lot about the culture here," Rudisill said.

For patients like Paul Hewitt, the meal has an extra special meaning. It is the first time he tasted solid food since he suffered a stroke on September 22. "You know, it's been a little bit pudding a little nectar," Hewitt said. "But, that was the first food. And it was wonderful! So yes, I'm thankful. Thankful for Thanksgiving."

For Hewitt's wife, Pam, the meal is just another thing the staff has done to serve and care for her family. "We are grateful for life. We're grateful for how we've been treated here. We're grateful for the staff. They're giving of their time. It's not just a paycheck and I think it is a direct result of what I see from upper management down," Pam Hewitt said.

For the Hewitts, this Thanksgiving is one where they truly are counting every blessing.
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