INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – It's common for most to share that familiar greeting on the first day of January - "Happy New Year!" But 2019 has not been a good year for Andrea DeVries, an employee with Franciscan Health Indianapolis’ Food & Nutrition Services.
Sadly, and unexpectedly, both of Andrea's parents passed away as did her former husband. Those losses occurred in the first three months of the year.
But a bit of seasonal cheer was personally delivered to her at her workplace recently. The "Smiley Morning Show" team from WZPL- 99.5 FM surprised her with a visit, presenting her with a Christmas tree, decorations and a $500 gift card. It's part of the radio station's "12 Days of Christmas Trees" annual program.
"Andrea has had so many hardships this year – emotionally and financially – and she is so deserving of this recognition," said her supervisor Danny Madison, who nominated her for the program. "Yet, she continues to be a positive, strong woman for her five kids."
WZPL personality Dave Smiley and his crew surprised Andrea while she was going about her duties in the hospital's Terrace Café. Each year, the radio station reviews hundreds of submitted nominations for families who have had significant struggles during the year.
"I cannot think of any more deserving and who has been through so very much in such a short amount of time," said Smiley, who was decked out in a Santa suit and accompanied by seasonally garbed elves and Christmas critters.
"I just don't know what to say – nothing like this has ever happened to me," said a visibly emotional Andrea, who has worked at Franciscan Health Indianapolis for three years. "This is so generous, and I am just swamped and touched by all of this."
The "12 Days of Christmas Trees" has been a staple program of WZPL for many years, reaching out to needy families throughout Central Indiana before the holidays.
The segment featuring Andrea DeVries is tentatively scheduled to air on the “Smiley Morning Show” December 4, beginning at 5 a.m. To listen to it, go to http://www.wzpl.com/shows/smiley-morning-show/.