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Waukon Bodensteiner Implement employees drove two tractors into Waukon on Friday, April 19, to help lift the spirits of Lawrence Lotza, who had a deep love of John Deere tractors. Carrie Welch, Pharmacy Tech, made a call to the local implement to see if they would do a drive-by, but they did so much more. Pictured, left to right with Lawrence, is his wife, Jan Lotza; Kyle Halverson, Store Manager; Penny Wheeler, C.N.A., Tim Green, Service Manager; and Carrie Welch, Pharmacy Tech.

Living Up to Our Motto of ‘Our Family Caring for Your Family’

Veterans Memorial Hospital has been serving northeast Iowa since 1950.  The hospital staff is known for caring for their patients, treating them just like family, as witnessed many times by Jan Lotza from Monona.

Jan’s husband, Lawrence, had a few lengthy hospital stays at Veterans Memorial Hospital this last year.  First, he suffered stroke on a Sunday morning in October and came to the hospital’s ER where he received immediate treatment.

“Within a couple minutes, Lawrence had 6 people working on him in the ER, getting him stabilized,” explains Jan.  “He stayed at Veterans Memorial Hospital on skilled care and received wonderful therapy that helped him get back home.  Then a few months later, as he was coming into the hospital for therapy as an outpatient, he had a heart attack and again received that wonderful immediate care before being transferred to La Crosse.”

Recently, Lawrence was back in the hospital again for a few weeks on skilled care, doing his therapy and working towards his goal of getting back home once again.

On Friday, April 19, staff members had noticed Lawrence had been down in the dumps and didn’t want to leave his room.  Knowing his love for John Deere tractors, Carrie Welch, Pharmacy Tech, made a call to the local Bodensteiner Implement in Waukon to see if they would do a drive-by in the hospital parking lot for Lawrence to enjoy.

Even though it was a very busy time of year, Kyle Halverson, Store Manager, and Tim Green, Service Manager of Bodensteiner Implement arrived at 11 am at the hospital, each in a tractor, parking right at the main entrance door.

“Just the tractors driving by caught Lawrence’s attention and he asked to be wheeled out front to see them,” adds Jan.  “When he realized they were there just for him, he had tears of joy!  They did him so much good.”

Halverson and Green presented Lawrence with a John Deere cap and let him look around the tractors, all while giving him a little ‘pep talk.’  Staff greatly appreciated John Deere taking the time out of their schedules in the spring of the year to go over and above for a patient and John Deere customer.

“When Lawrence was young, he always wanted a John Deere on his dad’s farm.  His dad, being a red tractor man, told him if he wanted one, he would have to buy it himself.  So Lawrence starting working for a neighbor to save money, stacking bales for one penny each,” explains Jan.  “Then in 1960, when he graduated from high school, he had $3000 saved and went to the Waukon John Deere dealership and bought a John Deere 630 tractor and plow for the $3000!”

Those tractors that were brought to the hospital that day for Lawrence to see, were his last.  He passed peacefully at Veterans Memorial Hospital a week later.

“That moment meant so much to him, as did the whole hospital,” concludes Jan.  “He would never go anywhere else.  He loved all of the staff there and I do, too.  They are just like family.  If he were here now, he would tell you this is the best hospital ever.”