Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones that are the most heartfelt and inspiring. A few months ago, Mercy Foundation received two white envelopes from Dr. Matt Andres, Chief of Pathology at Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines. The envelopes were filled with coins from his son, ten-year-old Connor Andres. Inside one of the envelopes was a handwritten note that read: “Please take this money and use it to buy some medicine for kids in need. I want to help them so later on they can have a normal life like me. From Connor.” For the past two years, Connor has donated money he raised in the summer to help those less fortunate. In 2016, Connor and his little sister, Madelynn (8), hosted a neighborhood lemonade stand at which Connor proudly displayed a sign that all proceeds would go to Mercy. In 2017, he sold some of his handmade artwork throughout the neighborhood, which resulted in a generous gift of $28.57.
Dr. Matt and his wife, Terri, attribute some of Connor’s desire to help others to their participation at church. Dr. Matt remembers one Sunday, there had been a guest speaker at Mass who talked about a program in which people ride their bikes around Des Moines taking food to the homeless. Connor wanted to help and begged his parents to let him make food for the homeless. Connor looks forward to the day when he and his dad can ride their bikes to help with deliveries.
The Andres family has a long history of supporting Mercy through various initiatives that have made an impact on the hospital and its patients. From causes ranging from helping women and children at the House of Mercy, to providing for patients with cancer, to renovating the pediatric unit, three generations of the Andres family have touched the lives of countless patients and families through their generosity.
Growing up in a military family, Dr. Matt Andres began his connection with Mercy at a young age. He was in high school when his parents settled in Mason City and his father, Dr. Dale Andres, began working as a pathologist at Mercy Medical Center – North. Dr. Matt recalls shadowing his dad when he was in high school. At that time, he didn’t necessarily dream of becoming a pathologist, but he knew he wanted to have a career in medicine. After his residency in 2006, he landed at Mercy Medical Center and is proud that he carries on his father’s legacy of leading a successful pathology team.
The Andres family generosity continues carries through his work as it inspires the pathology group to give back to the hospitals they serve throughout the Mercy Network. The impact can be felt in rural and regional areas as well as here in Des Moines.
Dr. Dale Andres, retired chief of pathology at Mercy, and his wife, Marie, believe that learning to give back has something to do with the family you grew up in. Their parents gave to their church and talked about tithing and giving to what one appreciates and believes in. Dale and Marie, do just that. Dr. Dale feels that Mercy has always been on the cutting edge and progressive. It was important to him and his work that Mercy would have a state-of-the-art lab and the best equipment so that tests could be done in a timely and accurate manner. He learned to be a leader in healthcare and providing for the organization was part of that leadership. Giving provides Dr. Dale and Marie an opportunity to make an impact on areas of the organization that need assistance – not only Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines – but all of the regional and rural hospitals served by his pathology group: a tradition he began that continues today.
Marie has modeled philanthropy for her children and grandchildren for years. When they lived in Mason City, Marie volunteered to lead the Crystal Ball for the Foundation. They would involve the entire community and bring in big names like the Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers, and Glenn Campbell to raise money for Mercy. Marie currently serves on the Mercy Auxiliary Board. Mercy Auxiliary is the largest donor to Mercy Medical Center and Marie’s participation on that board has a significant impact on projects such as the Comfort Health Center for Women, the 8th Floor Garden renovation and the Pediatric Unit remodel.
From an envelope full of coins to leadership gifts, the generosity of the Andres family has had an impact not only on Mercy, but a generational legacy of giving has been inspired from their actions.
Learn more about ways you can give by joining one of our Mercy Foundation Giving Circles.