This week we're honoring Healthcare Heroes in Hawaii. They're the men and women who think outside the box and do all the extras to help those of us who need it. Today's hero is Gary Oshita from Maluhia Hospital.
Gary is the Activities Coordinator in the Recreational Therapy Department and when we caught up with him he was singing to one of his patients. His co-workers say he can do that all day.
They love his energy.
"He'll come up to them when they're in their wheelchair, take them by the hand and he'll dance with them, you know? And they love that. It's personalized to them," says Donna Grain a patient at Maluhia.
It's simple things like that...that Donna and her friends appreciate. He knows every patient by name. He can speak a little bit in several languages so he can talk to patients in their native tongue. And he's always smiling!
And then there's the events. Gary and the rest of his team... including Jane Schramko and Melanie Schulaner come up with ideas.
There are barbecues...family invited of course...bon dances...and most recently...an Aloha Day parade right inside the hospital.
"And oh to see our patients here, usually just kinda doze in their wheelchairs," says Donna. But they were ahhhhh, oh, what's going on? This is just fantastic."
Gary and his team also coordinate arts and crafts. They do trips to Chinatown.
Everything has a purpose...whether it's exercise...brain stimulation...bringing back old memories...or just giving them a sense of community.
The best part...is knowing how much his work is appreciated.
Gary recalls a time when he "took several residents to the Waikiki Aquarium. I think was so nice too 'cause one of the residents came up to me while we going inside the aquarium. 'You know Gary, oh 'tank you for bringing me, ah.' So when you hear that, ooh kinda chicken skin. That's what it's all about."
But he doesn't do it for the recognition.
He just likes what he does.
"My enthusiasm, my energy, what the good Lord gives you, when I don't have the energy, I guess it's time for hele on or whatever the word is, you know? "
But after 10 years he seems to have more energy than ever. And that's great news for Donna...and everyone else at Maluhia.
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