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THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our April winner spreads joy to hospice patients

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – Dick Dale understands how a simple bouquet of flowers can be a bright spot in a trying time.

That’s why once a week he heads to Trader Joe’s to pick up donated flowers and trim them up a bit.

Then, he and his wife, Kathy, will spend the morning delivering them to Mayo Clinic Hospice patients.

“It’s just nice to see somebody enjoying something for the day that may be a tough day or a hard day and that’s like with hospice,” he said. “Everybody says ‘how can you do that,’ you know, we get more back than we give. We get more back than we give by far.”

Dick served on the Rochester Police force for 30 years, but he didn’t want to slow down when he retired.

“You work with the public and not everybody that deals with law enforcement has a good feeling when they get done, and it was time to give something back.”

His wife, a hospice nurse, encouraged him to start visiting patients four years ago.

“He’s just moved from one volunteer activity to the next,” Kathy said. “He’s always wanting to do something to make something a little bit better.”

“He does a lot of things here in the city that people don’t know about,” said Don Carlson, who nominated Dick for the Jefferson Award.

Don got to know Dick in the 1980’s when he worked for the FBI and Dick was with the police.

Dick encouraged Don to also volunteer with Mayo Clinic Hospice.

“He really cares for the city and he cares for the patients, and that’s the bottom line,” said Don. “He does it in a quiet way. It’s not about him, it’s always about the patient.”

Dick has lived a life of service toward others, whether saving lives with the police, or brightening lives with the gift of color.

“We’re trying to get out there with the snow all over and we come in with a nice bouquet of flowers and there’s greens out there and that’s it. And we give them a little bit of a brightness in their life.”

Dick also serves on the Rochester Park Board, and he’s also active with the Friends of Silver Lake, a group that’s working to revamp much of Silver Lake Park.

If you know someone who’s also making a difference, you can nominate them for a Jefferson Award here.

Erin O'Brien

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