On Hatteberg’s People, it is a time of life that many face. A spouse dies leaving a huge whole in the remaining life. That happened to Leroy Spence of Hutchinson. But he turned his life around by concentrating on others, just as his late wife would have wanted.
“You sure look sharp.”
“You look extra special sharp today.”
Leroy Spence is making his twice weekly trip to bring treats and smiles.
“How is it going for you?”
“Pretty good, pretty good.”
His visits bring him to the Hutchinson Medical Center where many of those he sees are in the oncology unit.
“Oh I just don’t leave do I? Oh look at your treats today.”
Leroy calls this his mission.
“What did you put in between these?
But it didn’t happen easily. His daughter, Susan Balding of McPherson, explains.
“After mom passed away, dad really felt like there was no purpose in life anymore. They had been married 64 years so he lost a big part of himself.”
Leroy’s wife, Darlene had bladder cancer and took treatments at the center. She was always friendly and outgoing and she too brought treats to others in the unit. They were close, Leroy and Darlene, but the cancer eventually won and Leroy was lost.
“And so I kept saying Dad you are here for a purpose. God has you here for a purpose, and he must have a purpose in mind. So one day someone came up to him and said how about you handing out those treats at the Medical Center, passing out those treats? My mom used to do that when she was taking Chemo and so Dad took her place.”
First he came once a week, then twice a week. Through that simple effort, he found his mission….and the hugs began to find him.
“Your ties are always so wonderful, I just love it.”
“I always enjoy it because all the people seem to enjoy having me come around.”
“He’s my sugar daddy. He comes around and brings me sugar all the time.”
“I saw you Sunday…”
“It just gives you a good feeling, everybody is waiting on you.”
Working now with Victory in the Valley, he spends hours getting the treats ready at his home, knowing what each person likes –
“He spoils us.”
He packs the chips and chocolates with care.
“I’ll have this one.”
He is doing exactly what his wife Darlene would have wanted him to do.
“I like your tie.”
“You have her sweetened for the day.”
“As long as I can keep going, I’m going to stay with it.”