The funds have been raised and the tickets and luggage have been purchased – all that’s left for Parkridge East Hospital Environmental Services Technician Thelma Adams to do is board the plane that will take her and her family to Malaysia, where she will carry out her husband’s final wish to have his ashes scattered in the country he served as a missionary for many years.
“I am so nervous about the travel, but I am so, so grateful for this opportunity,” Ms. Adams said. “It’s still a dream, but reality is setting in…without [Parkridge East employees], this would not have been possible.”
Ms. Adams’ journey to Malaysia began in July 2012 when she mentioned to Labor and Delivery Manager Bridget Hayes that her son Rob planned to go on a mission to Malaysia with his family at the end of the year, and that they were going to conduct a memorial for her late husband while they were there. “Bridget asked me if I was going and I replied that I was not – it was too expensive and I didn’t have enough paid time off available to take off work to join them,” Ms. Adams recalls.
Ms. Hayes realized how much it would mean to Ms. Adams to be on the trip, so she began working on a way to help Ms. Adams join her family in honoring her husband’s memory.
Ms. Hayes met Ms. Adams’ son when he visited the hospital and was able to get enough information to book Ms. Adams on a flight to Malaysia. Together with many other Parkridge East staff members and physicians, Ms. Hayes conducted luncheons and other fundraisers in the months that followed. The efforts, which wrapped up last week, raised nearly $1,700 – enough to cover the cost of round-trip plane fare, a set of luggage and spending money for incidental expenses Ms. Adams might encounter on her journey. Ms. Adams’ supervisor, Parkridge East Environmental Services Director Jimmy West, helped Ms. Adams make sure that she would have enough time off to make the trip.
The Adams’ family’s 27-hour journey from Chattanooga to south Asia will begin on Dec. 26, and everyone at Parkridge East is already looking forward to Ms. Adams’s return on Jan. 15.
“I am so happy to help Thelma, and we are all so pleased that we could make this happen,” Ms. Hayes notes. “We can’t wait to hear about her trip when she gets back.”
“I am truly blessed by the generosity of my coworkers— this is an amazing gift and I am so grateful,” says Ms. Adams. “I thank God for Bridget and for all the Parkridge East employees who have helped make this journey possible.”