Volunteer Profile: Leonard Gloeb

Master gardener Leonard Gloeb & his “Little Green Friends!”
Leonard is a Ramsey County Master Gardener who heads up the horticultural therapy program at Children’s.  This program brings plants to patients, which they pot up with the Master Gardener’s help, then take home with them when they are discharged.  Leonard became a Master Gardener in January 1986, and began volunteering at Children’s that May. Since then, he has accumulated an incredible 13,425 volunteer hours! 
Prior to volunteering at Children’s, Leonard worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 35 years, including three years’ active duty in the Army.  Early in his life, Leonard developed a philosophy that we are all placed here for a specific reason: to use the abilities, gifts and talents given to us, and to do whatever task we are assigned to the best of our abilities.  After receiving one of the Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Services in 1995 and a KARE-11 “Eleven Who Care” award in 1997 for his volunteer work at Children’s, his pastor, Fr. Rick McGuire, said to him, “Leonard, this has become a real ministry for you.”  This comment, along with comments from patients and doctors here at Children’s, made him realize that volunteering with horticultural therapy is his special task, what he was put here to do.
Leonard is an avid reader. His interests range from adventure to fiction, non-fiction, mystery, horror, science fiction, spiritual, and suspense. Along with reading, he enjoys listening to classical music (especially KSJN) and gardening, though that is becoming harder as he recognizes his limitations due to Parkinson’s and heart disease.
When asked what he enjoys most about volunteering, Leonard says, “First, the realization that, in some small way, I am making a difference in the lives of children and their parents.  Hearing a mother say, “You have really made our day.”  The great people I get to work with:  other Master Gardeners, nurses, and several doctors who, seeing me outside a patient’s door, will invariably tell me to “Come right in; this patient needs you.”   When asked,  ‘Do you get paid to do this?”,  my answer, with a big grin, is always, “Yes; more than any CEO.”  I love to see the smile on a child’s face when they receive their plant, especially when it might be the first one they ever planted.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. I’ve made a commitment to do this as long as I have the physical ability to come to the hospital.”
Thank you, Leonard, for sharing your “green thumb” and giving heart with all of us here at Children’s!

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