A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book to Read

Greenes' gift helps time pass a little easier in Surgical Waiting Area

John and Jeri GreeneJeri and John Greene have been friends and supporters of Riverside for many years. And now because of their generosity, families and friends waiting for word about a loved one in surgery can reduce the stress with a cup of coffee and a choice of good books to read. 

This fall, the Newport News couple donated money to set up a coffee service in the Surgical Waiting Area at Riverside Regional Medical Center (RRMC), a gift that was motivated by their own personal experiences. In recent years, each of them has undergone major surgery at RRMC, which means that each has also endured the stress, fear, and anxiety
of waiting for the surgeon to emerge from the operating room with news about the other's condition.

As Jeri says, "Sitting and waiting outside the Operating Room to hear whether or not the one you love is going to be all right is just about the most stressful thing I can think of. Now we love Riverside, but to be perfectly honest, the Surgical Waiting Area at Regional was not the most comfortable place to be at such an anxious time." John adds, "You had to leave the area even to get a cup of coffee. And like most waiting rooms, there wasn't even much of anything to read unless old back issues of Field & Stream really interest you."

So it's not surprising that when the couple heard Riverside wanted to set up a coffee service in the waiting area, they decided to help make it happen. "The project had personal meaning for us and it was a small way to say thank you to Riverside and to ‘make a difference' for other families at the same time," John says.

Their gift covered not only the cost of the coffee service but also tackled the paucity of reading material in the waiting room. The new "library" includes books that comfort, inspire or even generate a laugh to take away the stress of waiting. The list of books ranges from The Power of Positive Thinking and One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar to Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and Best Advice I Ever Got. Each book has two labels on the inside cover. The first just reads "Please do not remove from surgical area." The second label has a personal message from Jeri and John:

“Like you, we have both sat in this room anxiously waiting, hoping for good news. As you read along may you find peace, comfort, inspiration and humor during this stressful time.”

- John and Jeri Greene, December 2011

Jeri and John are as generous in their praise of the care they've received at Riverside as they are in giving their time and financial support. When John was recovering from surgery, Jeri was at his bedside throughout. "The wonderful thing was that the nurses and staff not only provided great care for John, they took care of my needs as well. They brought in a bed for me and did everything possible to make me comfortable," Jeri says. "You get a sense that the nurses really like what they do. The level of personal attention is terrific." Both of them say there is an attitude of "genuine caring" throughout the hospital.

Just as they are effusive in their expressions of gratitude for the care they received at Riverside, they are equally adamant in their belief that giving something back in return is a serious responsibility. (John served as a member of the RRMC Make A Difference Advisory Council in 2011 and will be its Chairman in 2012.)

"We really believe in the ‘pay it forward' philosophy," Jeri says. "It is our community and our hospital. We need to support it and one another in whatever way we can."

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