David Brown entered Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital Friday, May 5 after experiencing what he thought were complications from a previous surgery. He said at the time he figured it was no big deal … the thought he could possibly miss his daughter’s wedding the following day never crossed his mind.
“I thought ‘no problem, I’d be in and out,’” Brown, who has been battling health issues recently, said.
His failing health, however, made it impossible for HGB staff to release him in time to make it to the ceremony. Fortunately, the quick-thinking staff at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital had other ideas, and the suggestion was made Friday evening to hold a small ceremony at the hospital.
Knowing her father’s condition, bride-to-be Jessica Brown had already decided she would do whatever it took to make her dad a part of the ceremony, and fiancé Stefan Peterson was completely on board.
“We reformulated our plan immediately,” Peterson said from a hospital room that doubled as the groom’s dressing room on Saturday, May 6. “It’s just a little detour.”
HGB staff members did their best to arrange for decorations, flowers, and accommodations for both the bride and groom.
“It takes a year to plan a wedding,” said Lori Orton, HGB House Supervisor who was on duty during the wedding ceremony. “At HGB, it takes just 24 hours.”
The team was able to pull it off because everyone was willing to lend a hand. President and CEO Matt Rush and his wife, Fran, who were celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary the same day, stepped in to help. Fran assisted with getting the bride ready the morning of the ceremony.
“It’s a testament to an amazing daughter who insisted on being with her dad on her day, and an outstanding HGB team, who not only took care of her dad, and all the other patients, but at the same time found a way to make a special moment for the new couple and their family,” Matt Rush said.
Brown was overcome with emotion and gratitude just moments before the ceremony.
“It’s amazing what everyone is doing to make this happen,” he said. “I’m very thankful to the hospital to allow (my daughter) to follow through with this and allow me to be in attendance. I’m just so grateful to be a part of it.”
Though he was in a hospital gown, Brown was able to witness his daughter take her vows, right in his hospital room.
“This is our day,” Jessica said to fiancé Stefan. “It’s not about the dress, or the flowers, or the location; it’s about us.”