Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fauquier Hospital Employees Offer Growing Support

Several of Pam Gay’s Fauquier Health System co-workers recently got their hands dirty to help a friend.

It was Ruth Fugee’s idea to build a butterfly garden in Pam’s backyard. The purpose? To honor Patrick Gay, Pam’s son, who was killed by a hit and run drunk driver on July 15, 2007. Patrick had just graduated from James Madison University and was working and living in North Carolina when he died. Pam said, “He was an awesome son, full of life, loved people and had an unbelievable smile that was simply radiant.”

The origins of the butterfly garden began last August. Pam remembered, “It all started when my younger son Eric returned to VA Tech one month after Patrick died. He called me to say there was a butterfly sitting on his hand and it had been there for ten minutes. Someone walked up to Eric and the butterfly flew away and flew back once the person left. It stayed on his hand for another ten minutes. I immediately saw this as a sign from God that Patrick was OK. Since then, whenever I see a butterfly it brings me comfort.”

“The day after Eric told me the story, I walked into the kitchen in the Medical Office Building to see Ruth Fugee wearing a beautiful butterfly pin. She must have been able to see by the expression on my face that the butterfly meant something special to me. The next day when I came to work, there was a handmade card on my desk from Ruth with beautiful butterflies that she drew. Inside the card was the pin she had on the previous day along with a butterfly magnet. I wore it for weeks afterward.”

Pam said that Ruth sent out an e-mail to the MOB employees with the idea of planting a butterfly memorial garden and several employees decided to donate money – and manpower -- to make it happen. Amy Ashby and Kim Savage, who had both known Patrick were happy to sign on. Joining them were Tom and Ruth Fugee and Amanda and Lonny Sturgeon. With everyone pitching in, the project was finished in about two and a half hours.

Pam explained, “The design was decided on that day, mostly by Ruth. She had researched plants that attract butterflies. There are three butterfly bushes and several other plants that attract butterflies.”

It’s not just the butterflies that are enjoying the labor of love. Pam said, “The butterfly garden has brought my husband and me so much comfort. The first thing I do when I come home from work is check on the garden to see if it needs watering. People have already been adding butterfly type items to the garden. I think of Patrick when I look at the garden. It is very therapeutic to me to work in the garden and just admire it.”

Pam added, “I want to thank all of the employees who were a part of making this happen. I will be forever grateful. Fauquier Hospital truly has class act people working here.”

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