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Christmas comes early for young patients in Alpena

Courtesy Photo Clark Construction Company led a Christmas in July Toy Drive, donating toys to MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena to distribute to young patients. Above, representatives from Clark pose with Medical Center and Foundation staff members.

ALPENA — Young patients of MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena will receive new toys as a result of a Christmas in July Toy Drive led by summer interns of Clark Construction Company. MidMichigan Health Foundation recently accepted a generous toy donation from Clark interns Levi Lindberg and Emily Kozlowski who joined Business Development Manager Craig Froggett in presenting Ann Diamond, director, MidMichigan Health Foundation, and fellow Medical Center staff toys including stickers, games, coloring books, crayons and stuffed animals.

Based in Lansing, Clark Construction Company is dedicated to helping their communities not only with financial contributions, but also by offering 35 college students the opportunity to work side-by-side with leaders in their 2020 summer internship program. The company also has offices in Alpena and Auburn Hills.

In the summer program, Clark interns are tasked with a community service project.

The intern team is led by Dylan Remelts, who explained the project: “Several individuals in our intern group have overcome the limitations of the COVID environment with a creative solution for their community service project this summer.”

The interns reached out to community health systems, researched their needs for their pediatric departments, and created wish lists of much needed items.

“Donations tend to be abundant at these organizations over the holidays and dry up during the summer months,” Remelts said. “This led us to pursue the goal of an online Christmas in July Toy Drive. The organizations were all grateful to be considered by Clark for donations which will go directly to their patients. Our target team goal is to donate at least $2,000 worth of toys to each of four Michigan health systems in our communities.”

Other hospitals that were beneficiaries of this initiative include United Hospital, Beaumont Children’s Hospital and McLaren Greater Lansing.

“The initiative behind the donation comes from wanting children to leave the hospital with smiles on their faces instead of tears in their eyes,” Remelts continued. “Equipping hospitals with stuffed animals, stickers, toys, etc., can help the staff divert the anxiety and fears most children or patients have to help bring them ease and comfort during difficult times.”

Diamond shared, “We typically have many donations during the holidays but often the summer months are very busy with accidents and kids getting injured. These toys will be very beneficial for the children when they receive their care at the Medical Center. We certainly thank Clark Construction and the interns for selecting our Medical Center in Alpena for the project.”

In referring to the internship program, Froggett praised the company for their commitment to the program.

“This program is priceless. For the students to be able to work full time in the current climate is amazing. It’s a great program to teach them the work ethic, community service, and skill set that is so important to Clark Construction,” said Froggett.

Lindberg, a student at Northern Michigan University studying construction management, said he learned the value of working with different people and their respective skillsets and communication styles.

Kozlowski is attending Taylor University and majoring in communications.

“Clark is an awesome company … I have definitely now seen and experienced the value of a company that cares for its employees and the community,” said Kozlowski.

Diamond concluded, “We are extremely grateful for their support and also their leadership in providing internships and meaningful work experience for Dylan, Levi, Emily and the many young adults in the program.”

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