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St. Luke's Staff Surprises Co-worker with a New Car

Gwen Ruybal, above, a physician clinic business associate in the Meridian office of St. Luke's Wound Care and Hyperbarics Clinic, struggled to get to work and take care of her family of six after her car broke down and couldn't be fixed. Mileen Langley, director of the clinic, shares how her team helped a Gwen just before Thanksgiving 2014.
By Mileen Langley, News and Community
December 11, 2014


“I have recently joined the St. Luke’s family as the director of Wound and Hyperbaric Clinics for the Health System. Very quickly I realized that I truly did join a family. My colleagues and teams are warm, friendly, inviting, smiling and very hard working.  And then an event occurred where this family truly came together to help a teammate going through some hard times.  Gwen Ruybal, a physician clinic business associate in our Meridian office, was struggling to get to work.  It was discovered that the car she purchased with her tax return money last year broke down. It was too expensive to get fixed, and was deemed unsalvageable.  Gwen is the sole provider for her family of six and was really struggling with transportation issues in all aspects of her life.

“Gwen’s teammate, Crystal Sorenson, LPN in the Meridian Clinic, decided to see what she could do to help. After confirming that the car was not salvageable, the plan was to scrap the car at the junk yard for $250 and have Gwen save up for another car.  This was going to take a long time so other solutions were sought.  The story of Gwen’s need was shared with the clinic staff. The staff had a desire to help and a G-Fund (Gwen Fund) was created. Crystal went to work on finding a car for Gwen. This proved to be challenging.  Finally, Noah at Title Loan, after hearing about Gwen’s situation and the desire of the Clinic to help with the purchase, offered a 2004 Hyundai Sonata at a discounted price of $800 (it retails for $3300).  He also offered to give $350 to scrap Gwen’s existing vehicle.

“That left $450 for the clinic to come up with and they did!  Everyone pitched in what they could and were able to purchase the car … all unbeknownst to Gwen. The excitement among the staff grew. Quiet whisperings of anticipation were bubbling. Becky Wessman, another RN in the clinic, made a big red bow. Crystal’s husband, Drew, was generous of his time and was able to acquire the title, pick up the car to be delivered to the clinic and made sure it got a good, detailed cleaning for the surprise! Every day, questions were asked about when will the car be here, when can it be given to Gwen?

“So for the surprise: Crystal told Gwen she had found a car that Gwen might like to try to save up for. It was parked in the parking lot.  Many teammates were already waiting by the car when Gwen went outside. Others were watching from the windows above.  When Gwen saw the bow she knew!  She was told the car was hers and she didn’t have to wait to save up for it!  It was a very moving experience.  The first thing Gwen did was hug her work family!  She could hardly speak but her gratitude was evident.

“For me, I felt the love that is shared in this family.  That this is a place where people take care of each other in good times and bad, without judgment. I am grateful for having this opportunity in my life to experience this level of generosity and kindness in my place of employment. It’s not just a job, it’s a life!”

Gwen says, “Words cannot express my gratitude, so hopefully all the tears and hyperventilating did. I love you so much. My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

About The Author

Mileen Langley is the director of Wound and Hyperbarics at St. Luke's.