Santa not the only one delivering Christmas gifts


DOVER –– Some people at Bayhealth Kent General received the best gift of all this holiday season, a newborn baby to take home.

“It’s a blessing to take him home for Christmas,” Justice Collick said of her 2-day-old baby boy Michael Hughes Jr.

Michael’s father, Michael Sr. gently rocked him to sleep while Ms. Collick filled out discharge papers so the three could spend Christmas Eve at home and introduce little Michael to all his family members.

“We don’t have to worry about everyone coming to the hospital to see her because we’ll be home on Christmas,” Nicole Baker said of her 1-day-old baby girl, Brooke. “The goal was to have her before Christmas and we’ll be able to get her home in time.”

For Tana Assian, of Dover, her Christmas gift came a couple days early as her second child, Milom, was due Christmas Day came early on Tuesday.

“It’s great — we’ll be out of the hospital and home tomorrow,” Ms. Assian said.

Although Santa, also known as Bill Hare of Dover, made his rounds at the hospital Wednesday, the babies won’t remember his visit. Some of the older kids will, though.

New 3-year-old big brother Rodney Johnson was too shy to ask Santa for any presents but his Aunt Shayna jumped in.

“He was really looking forward to getting a little sister for Christmas and she came yesterday so I think he’s pretty happy,” she said.

“Every year it’s always a new experience,” Mr. Hare said. “I get the chance to brighten people’s days when they’re stuck in the hospital and are probably ready to be home.”

Mr. Hare has been visiting the hospital as Santa for two decades now and said he’s beginning to see the full circle of life.

“One of the new moms I saw last year told me that she had a picture taken with me when she was a newborn at Kent General too,” he said. “It makes me look back and realize how long I’ve actually been doing this.”

But it never gets old and kids are always excited to see him, even if they are a little shy like most the kids he visited in the Pediatric Unit.

Unlike the kids, the nurses weren’t at all shy about talking to Santa and telling him about everything they were hoping for on Christmas morning.

He was stopped at almost every nursing station and asked for a photo near the unit’s Christmas tree.

Mr. Hare plans on returning yet again next year to bring a smile to the faces of the patients and staff at Kent General.

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