Jefferson Award: Jenny Herrick

Each month Siouxland News and the Siouxland Federal Credit Union give a local volunteer a "Jefferson Award." It's a way of recognizing folks in Siouxland dedicated to public service.

This month, we introduce you to Jenny Herrick, a retired nurse who brings humor as healing through the Caring Clowns Troupe at Unity Point St. Luke's Hospital.

Every Monday night, you can be sure to run into Herrick, bringing laughter and humor to every bed side, and using a combination of comedy and care to help cure patients of all ages.

"It's the most rewarding volunteer work I think anybody could have," said Herrick.

It's volunteer work that Jenny's been a part of for 16 years, as head of St. Luke's Hospital's Caring Clown Troupe.

"Proud to have Jenny as our boss. She's been a very good teacher," said Vernon Stabe, a caring clown.

"She's a very good leader," said Arnold Binneboese, a caring clown.

"She's been a very good teacher and I'm very honored to know her," said Phyllis Green.

In 2000, Jenny's love for spreading smiles, took her overseas all the way to China, as part of a Fun Medicine Delegation of clowns led by the famous Dr. Patch Adams, visiting hospitals and orphanages, and in 2001, about nine weeks after 9-11, she joined other clowns providing mirth aid to recovery and rescue teams on Ground Zero in New York City. But aside from her clown make-up and costume, she's the author of two books, a motivational speaker, humorist, coach, and mentor and also volunteers for the Crossroads Women and Children's Homeless Shelter.

"Very, very inspirational person, just to know just lifts you up. She's been a key part of our fundraising efforts and fundraiser Laugh Your Hat Off. From the beginning, she stuck with us and has worked very hard and is very deserving of the Jefferson Award," said Alice Mollet, a case manager for Crossroads Women's and Children's Homeless Shelter.

"Wow, I'm extremely honored, appreciative and pretty doggone happy," said Herrick.

Herrick also volunteers every Thursday at the hospital, where she provides patients pet therapy.

To learn more about Herrick, check out her website

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