Window-washing crew makes a Monday ‘super’ for Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital patients

July 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm 11 comments

It was just after 10 a.m. and Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital was abuzz with excited shrieks and giggles as children of all ages were celebrating “Superhero Monday.” They waited on the edge of their seats, looking out the window, anxiously asking, “What time is it now, Mommy?” Finally, the much-anticipated superheroes rappelled down the side of the building.

“They’re real! They’re real!” exclaimed one little boy from the lawn below.

“Did you see that?! That’s crazy!” another said with a giggle.

Up on the fourth floor of the Children’s Hospital, children and their families crowded the windows, giving high-fives and fist-bumps to Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America through the glass. The room was filled with shouts of “I see him…! “Spiderman!” “Batman!” “Whoa!”

For Chloe, a Hershey resident visiting her brother, Batman was her favorite. “I gave him a fist-bump!” she said with a grin.

Jackson, from Fairfield, Pa., was ecstatic to fist-bump all four of the superheroes. “Fist-bumps are better than high-fives,” he explained. “I gave Spiderman, Batman, Captain America, and Superman all fist-bumps!” As the four superheroes descended to the floors below, Jackson rushed outside with his mom to meet them on the lawn. He even made it back inside in time to see the four rappel down the side of the building for a second time. This time he was ready to snap a picture.

Along with Chloe and Jackson, many other Children’s Hospital patients and their families jumped up and down, applauding as the superheroes landed on the lawn of the Children’s Hospital.

These four superheroes were, in reality, none other than house cleaning people and window washers with Harrisburg-based Northeastern Building Maintenance Systems, Inc. The company has cleaned the exterior windows at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for a number of years, according to Jeff Dove, a maintenance manager at the hospital. “I talked with the contractor after seeing the Spiderman thing done elsewhere…Before we finished talking, we had decided on a whole crew of superheroes for our visit.” Dove continued, “Just imagine a six- or seven-year-old who is having a less-than-perfect day, all of a sudden seeing Spiderman cleaning his window or imagine The Beast from Xmen coming in and using a canister vacuum cleaner on the carpets with an apron on! We thought, ‘that would be totally awesome!’”

To create this awesome, surprise appearance, the Northeastern crew donned full-body Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America suits before rigging their window-washing gear atop the Children’s Hospital. Bystanders loved the men’s enthusiasm, as they smiled and laughed with the kids, interacting with them through the windows as they rappelled down the side of the Children’s Hospital. The four took picture after picture with the crowd gathered on the lawn before they excitedly ran up to the top of the building to rappel a second time for any children who might have missed their first entrance.

Northeastern was thrilled with the opportunity to bring an extra smile to the Children’s Hospital’s patients and families, said Penn State Hershey Child Life specialist Sarah Miller. From the willingness of Northeastern, to gift card donations for special superhero cakes and cupcakes, to “make-your-own-superhero cape” kits from the Starlight Foundation, the community rallied to help make “Superhero Monday” a reality.

“Superhero Monday” was another example of how the Child Life program at the Children’s Hospital helps children cope through medical play, age-appropriate activities and distraction or relaxation techniques. “Staff throughout the Children’s Hospital were eager to participate…and excitement for the day grew,” Miller said. “The promise of special activities, treats, and guest superhero appearances turned into a day-long ‘Celebrating Our Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital Superheroes’ event’—an event that encouraged and brightened the day for so many of these children and their families.”

Judged by the little girl boasting a Superman t-shirt, the little boy running and “shooting” spider-webs from his wrists, and the grinning parents snapping picture after picture, the morning was a success.

Entry filed under: Features, Videos. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Doug Hockenberry  |  July 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I have been a patient of the hospital it is amazing how nice the staff is. Not only the staff but the Doctors and also the upper Management . I want to be a part of this amazing hospital even on a volunteer level !!!!!!

  • 2. Anthony DeBottis  |  July 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Thats Penn State for u.

  • […] the full story at […]

  • 4. Juanita  |  July 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I think it’s absolutely adorable that this can be done to cheer up the kids and bring an extra smile to the patients and families. I even got excited about seeing the superheroes scale the windows. Great job!! …..
    mission accomplished!!!

    God Bless!

  • 5. Marco Travis  |  July 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    This is so awesome. What a great idea!

  • 6. cleanwindowsokc  |  July 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Wow, what a fantastic idea. Bet those kids loved it!

  • 7. Shani Thornton  |  August 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Reblogged this on Child Life Mommy and commented:
    Who says a superhero can’t come to the rescue?

  • 9. Susan Breidenstine  |  August 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I live less than 2 miles from the Med Center, have friends who are doctors, nurses and staff/admin there and my kids and parents have been patients in the ER and for general appointments, blood work, etc. I am so impressed with the caring and over the top love for the children who are patients. It isn’t just the hospital but the Ronald McDonald House, local organizations and community. There is an amazing amount of love to support those who need it most. The latest – the Super Heroes were so cool! Glad to be part of the Hershey Med community.

  • 11. Melissa Ortiz  |  September 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I work at Penn State Hershey Med and my son has been a patient at the Children’s Hospital alot in the past 6 years. I think the Children’s Hospital is amazing!! The Child Life Program is great and I commend them for everything they do.


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