Hospital employee puts feet where mouth is

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 2004

It’s not unusual for a person to want toys for Christmas, but it is unusual for a 60-year-old man to want toys to give away. But that’s exactly what Sylvan Mutschler, admissions director at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital asked for for his 60th birthday.

Mutschler challenged his fellow workers to raise money for toys to donate to the Department of Human Resources. He told his comrades that if they would pledge money or toys, he would run laps around the hospital.

“I try to run three or four times a week, and I thought this would be something interesting to do,” he said. Friend Terrie Charleston took up the torch and helped Mutschler with his campaign.

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“She was a key worker, she helped solicit pledges and she kept track of the money taken in,” he said.

Wednesday evening, Mutschler put on his running shoes and began his trek around the hospital building, a journey he made 10 times.

“I wanted to see if I could do it,” he said. “When I leave here I run down to the boat launch at the marina and then and walk and run back. I figured that was about a mile and a quarter.”

He said the 10 laps around the hospital probably equaled about two miles, but he made it.

“I didn’t think I was going very fast, but some people thought I was cutting through the hospital because I was coming around so quickly,” he laughed.

The exercise was not the main point, however, as the purpose of the event was to collect toys that could be donated to children who might not have a Christmas otherwise.

“We collected about $375, and Target gave us an additional 10 percent off,” he said. “We ended up with probably about 50 items.”

He said as they shopped they tried to make sure they had a variety of toys for a variety of ages.

“We got some really nice ones, and we tried to run the gauntlet of ages,” he said. “We bought things for the really young kids, like two and three years old, and then we tried to get some things older children, like seven, eight or nine, would enjoy.”

The toys were delivered to DHR Friday, though Mutschler said he’s not done yet.

“There are some who didn’t pledge that are still making donations,” he said. “So if we get more, we will go buy more. There’s still some time yet.”

While this is the first time Mutschler, who has been at the hospital a year, has done something like this, he said it won’t be the last.

“It went over so well I think I’m going to make it an annual thing,” he said. “As long as my body keeps trucking.”