Kermit Andersen wanted to give back something to the Shrine Hospital that was more than just a monetary token of appreciation.
Andersen, a long-time real estate agent in the Mission Valley who has been a Shriner for over 55 years, wanted to express his full appreciation for everything the Shrine Hospital has done for patients over the years.
Andersen, who bid on a depiction of a Grizzly Bear and entered his interpretation of the bear in the chainsaw carving competition at the first annual Ronan Carving Rendezvous, got an idea after he won the bear in an auction.
“I wanted to do something besides donating money, which I’ve been doing for a long time,” Andersen said. “I’ve been trying to think of something for a long time that would be something besides money and that everyone would enjoy. Boy did I hit the nail on the head when I thought of the idea. I am still waking up two feet off the ground over this thing.”
Andersen then proceeded to load the bear, which cost him $4,000, and unload it at the Shrine Hospital in Spokane, Washington.
“When I got it loaded and unloaded, things couldn’t have gone along much smoother,” Andersen said. “The bear, with the two little cubs and my wife came along, and we drove right after (the construction workers) set it down. That is what it is all about.”
Andersen credits the help to be able to move the interpretation of the bear, along with the cubs, into the main lobby of the Shrine Hospital.
“I really credit the fellas that loaded it in town and helped me tie (the bear), because it went so smoothly,” Andersen said. “I was worried it wasn’t going to go that way, but it went perfect. I bet it didn’t take the movers more than 20 or 30 minutes to unwrap it, and then they unloaded it. I am just glad to be part of this.”
The bear, which will be located right in the center of the main lobby of the Shrine Hospital in Spokane, Washington, will stand 8 feet, 3 inches tall.
“The heck with the monetary, I’ve accomplished something out of this, and (being able to give back) is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life,” Andersen said. “Both my wife and I enjoy this, and we’ve received nothing but praise. Everyone we show the pictures to say ‘how wonderful it is, and all of that stuff.’”
Andersen has expressed his delight for the larger than life bear that adds to the atmosphere of the Shrine Hospital, which helps render aid to thousands of sick children each year.
“As I said, I am still walking pretty high,” Andersen said. “It is nice to be able to accomplish something thinking of the years I didn’t know how or what to do (to give back). This accomplishment has gone beyond my expectations.”
During several of Andersen’s interactions with people at the Shrine Hospital, he said was amazed at how many people benefited from the service of the Shrine Hospital.
“I am surprised at how many people directly benefited from the Shrine Hospital,” Andersen said. “There were so many children with stories, and they have come out. I never heard of them before I donated this bear. Now all of the sudden, people are talking.”