Intergenerational photo with grandmother and grandchild

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Heart’s Desire Fulfilled for Patient to Attend Son’s Firefighting Retirement Ceremony

Thomas (Tom) Pindelski admitted to ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation (Palos Heights, IL) early in 2020.  He and his wife Diane have three children, and Tom’s son Jeffrey (Jeff) was celebrated in the community he serves with a retirement ceremony on July 23rd.

Jeffrey Pindelski is the battalion chief of the Downers Grove, IL, Fire Department and has been a student of the fire service for more than 30 years. He has served as a chief officer for more than 15 years.

More than anything, Tom wanted to be present at the celebration ceremony for Jeff and the family gathering afterwards.  Robin Koch, director of recreational therapy, heard Tom’s wish and immediately knew it was a “Heart’s Desire waiting to happen”.  Through the help of local businesses, Robin arranged for a limousine service to transport Tom, his wife Diane and their daughter Donna to Downers Grove to surprise Jeff at the ceremony.

“I am so very proud of my son.  As a little boy he never gave me problems and he used to volunteer to help the local firefighters.  When he told me he would be a firefighter I was proud and after serving the Downers Grove area as a first responder for such a long time, I am even more proud of him today.  He is so smart and he has written several books about firefighting and has been asked to continue writing them.”

“He has won medals for his bravery and even carried a 200 lb. lady out of her home to save her life.  He is a hero for sure and he deserves a happy retirement to enjoy his (and our) family”, Tom told the team at ProMedica.

Jeff later sent a letter to ProMedica after his retirement ceremony. “I cannot say thank you enough to Robin and the team at ProMedica for going the extra mile in making certain that my father was at the firehouse to attend my retirement ceremony. Seeing him delivered by a limousine and dressed in a tuxedo was a very unexpected surprise. It was the best part to a day that was very special to me and brought tears to my eyes. This was definitely above and beyond anything that could have been expected. Thank you for doing what you did and ensuring that he was there to celebrate with me.”

Almost 25 years ago, ProMedica Senior Care, began the Heart’s Desire program.  Heart’s Desire was originally designed to supplement existing customer service programs; it quickly became a hallmark in the industry.  The Heart’s Desire program has fulfilled thousands of wishes since its inception, received local and national media attention, won awards and has been copied by our colleagues in the industry.  “The Heart’s Desire program enhances our patients’ experiences, but it also has the added benefit of improving employee morale”, stated Kelly Ciger, administrator.

One of the unique things about the Heart’s Desire program is the community participation component.  This participation is critical because a Heart’s Desire relies on the resources and generosity of our employees, their friends, family and other organizations to fulfill a wish, but at the same time, sharing these exciting events with our community helps to keep our patients actively involved.


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