Hummer Dealers to Distribute Mini Hummers to Hospitals

By: Jerick Brooks

Despite the distressing state of GM's finances it still can afford to be generous. Hummer a GM brand of sport utility vehicles and recipient of quality has one again showed its caring side when it has donated child-sized Hummer battery-operated vehicles to the pediatric units of its chosen hospitals across the United States.

The mini Hummers were donated under the program called "Courageous Kids" which aimed to make hospital experience for kids less traumatic especially for children who are to undergo surgeries and other medical procedures which may prove a little frightening for them. The mini Hummers are to be used by children patients to drive themselves into surgery and hopefully reduce the anxiety that frightened kids often experience when undergoing medical treatment.

According to Martin Walsh, Hummer General Manager, "We believe this mode of transportation definitely beats a gurney ride and can help take young patients' minds off their fears." To date hospitals in Louisiana, Washington, Wisconsin, Texas, and Michigan have begun replacing gurney rides with self-driven Hummer rides in style. The mini Hummers are also 100 percent eco-friendly and this is not because of advanced technology but more of the fact that its battery operated.

This project of donating mini Hummers to pediatric units of hospitals across the country is not developed just now. This might come as a surprise but the said project was developed last year at the General Motors plant in Shreveport, La, where the Hummer H3 is built. The first donation of the two ride-on Hummers were made to the local Sutton Children's Hospital at the suggestion of GM Shreveport employee David Burroughs, an environmental engineer.

Burroughs was familiar with diversion therapy which is a strategy often employed at children's hospitals. Using diversion therapy medical professionals and volunteers often bring with them dogs as well as other pets when visiting patients since animals are known to have therapeutic effect. Other children hospitals make use of rides in wagons and golf carts to distract children from worries about their upcoming medical examinations. Burroughs said, "So I thought why not do the same thing with Hummers?"

So far the results have been overwhelmingly positive. As a matter of fact according to the Sutton hospital's medical staff, even the most anxious kids totally forgot about their fears of surgery tanks to the excitement brought about by driving a Hummer. "Local surgeons have told us that some kids even require less anesthesia when they ride into surgery in the Hummers. It's a rather remarkable phenomenon," stated Burroughs.

Medical workers as well as parents have discovered that a ride in a Hummer toy is also a great motivator during recovery and according to Amanda Hays, Child Life manager at the Louisiana State University Health Services facility, "I worked with one patient who used to take thirty minutes to swallow his medications. Now he takes them in about five minutes so that he can ride!"

This is not the first charitable work that Hummer has given. The history of Hummer is loaded with charitable works such as:

  • In the year 2005 Hummer together with the GM Foundation announced that they would be giving the American Red Cross with 72 Hummer vehicles and $600,000 in cash over six years. The first vehicles were used in the Gulf States to aid those who are affected by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Hummers that were donated at Red Cross were also used in responding to the floods in Orange County, NY, and wildfires in San Bernardino Country, CA last year.
  • Hummer has also provided the state of Louisiana with 12 H3s at their request to aid local and state agency disaster response organizations in 2005 and 2006.
  • Hummer has also supported the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) which is a non-profit organization committed in maintaining the Rubicon Trail in California. Hummer is the only vehicle manufacturer that gas donated funds, materials, and staff man-hours to help the group's restoration projects.
  • Hummer is also a multi-year sponsor of the After-School All-Stars which was founded by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1992. After-School All-Stars aims to keep kids safe and to help them achieve in school and in life. The ASAS provides high quality, comprehensive after-school programs that emphasize pro-social activities, academic excellence, and enrichment opportunities. Nationwide more than 600,000 high-risk youth has been able to benefit from these programs in 13 cities in the US such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York, San Diego, San Antonio, South Florida, and San Jose.
  • Starting 2003 Hummer has been providing $100,000 annual endowment to Tread Lightly as part of its Hummer Helps program. The annual endowment is managed as a grant-giving initiative to selected outdoor enthusiasts clubs who are Tread Lightly members and given to sustain the lands where outdoor enthusiasts enjoy off-highway activities.

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