A group of Glenville State College student athletes recently traveled to WVU Medicine Children's to visit with patients and their families within the pediatric, PICU, and NICU units. The group handed out mini footballs and softballs that were donated by Tom and Pam Ratliff and decorated by the Glenville State College Department of Fine Arts.
"This was a very special day for our student athletes who participated in this trip," said Glenville State College Athletic Director Jesse Skiles. "Their interaction with the children in the hospital was a service that is at the top of what we do here as a department. We sincerely want to thank the staff at WVU Children's Hospital for allowing us into their area for a day, and for the time we were able to spend with these amazing young people."
Sophomore football player Jordan Hartman recalled the experience as heartwarming. "Seeing the smiles on those children's faces when we handed them either a ball or bubbles made the trip worth it. It means a lot to me to give back to people who are struggling, and just putting a smile on their face means the world."
"Watching how the Glenville State College athletes revealed their characters by giving of their time and feelings to the kids at the hospital was a little overwhelming," said Tom Ratliff, GSC's executive director of workforce and community development. "It brought back memories of my son's first seven days, which were spent at that same hospital, and all of the emotions that one goes through at those moments. Seeing the gleam in a child's eye as our athletes passed out some Pioneer memorabilia while sharing stories and hugs with their families is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who were involved. Glenville State College and the entire Glenville community pride themselves in taking care of one another. After today we have added many new members to the Pioneer family."
For senior Austin Ratliff, Tom's son, the visit hit close to home. "After being born, I spent a week in the NICU unit at WVU Children's Hospital," he said. "I am eternally grateful for the care I received, and that others continue to receive every day by the caring and loving professionals, administered with a personal touch. Glenville State College is about learning, caring for one another, and giving back. Giving back is exactly what we did, and I hope we were able to bring some joy to those we were privileged to meet. I also had the opportunity to visit the NICU unit and was able to personally thank three of my caregivers who happened to be there during our visit. I reminded them I am a living example of their dedication to the many lives they touch."
Glenville State College students and staff who visited WVU Medicine Children's included Tom Ratliff, Justin Watts, Austin Ratliff, Jordan Hartman, Kayla Letart, Caleb Wynn, Drew Taylor, Larissa Hayman, Amede Vital, Megan Wilfong and Jesse Skiles.