Man continues Christmas tradition surprising healthcare workers with gifts

Originally Published: 25 DEC 21 12:58 ET

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    WATERLOO, Illinois (KMOV) -- For the second year in a row, a Metro East man surprised dozens of St. Louis healthcare workers with Christmas gifts.

Last year, Bob Raffety of Waterloo, Illinois, launched a campaign called Adopt a Healthcare Worker on Facebook. The goal was to raise money for 30 healthcare workers for Christmas gifts.

Raffety ended up hitting the mark and donating 30 gifts to nurses at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis.

This year, Raffety received enough to surprise 60 ICU nurses at SLU Hospital.

"Basically, for $20, someone could sponsor a nurse and that will include a Christmas gift," Raffety told News 4. "It includes gourmet chocolates and a hand written note of appreciation and thanks for what they do day in and day out."

Micah Lambert, a nurse ICU manager at SLU Hospital, passed out the gifts on Wednesday and Thursday. The workers were chosen at random.

"Right now, healthcare is so tiring and it's so demanding," Lambert said. "When he asked me, this year, to be the elf--I was more than honored, and just tickled to do it. Every time that I handed one of the nurses one of the gifts, their faces would just light up."

Raffety said he got the idea after battling COVID last year, coupled with how nurses treated his family when his father died five years earlier at Barnes Jewish Hospital two days after Christmas.

"Then all those memories started flooding back, and I'm like 'I need to figure out a way to continue to pay it forward,' and this is what kind of started that. They were really our rock and our support that got us through day by day. My dad ended up having to have a major surgery, and it didn't go quite as planned," he said. "He ended up having a five-month stay in ICU at Barnes Hospital here in St. Louis. Christmas now has a totally different meaning for us."

Donations can made by contacting Raffety at [email protected].

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