16 Salutes Woody Wolfe
DANVILLE — A hospital is never a fun place for a child, but one man from Danville aims to bring smiles to sick children.
Woody Wolfe is well-known at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital near Danville. He is there every Thursday singing to sick children. During the rest of the week, Woody travels to other children’s hospitals in Pennsylvania. He says he feels blessed to be able to use music to bring smiles to children’s faces.
Woody Wolfe goes from room to room at Janet Weis Children’s Hosptial near Danville, carrying his guitar and visiting dozens of his friends.
“I’m not like the nurses and doctors, I’m not going to do anything to you other than sing, okay,” Woody said.
Woody lives in Danville, and is a former lifeflight paramedic at Geisinger Medical Center. 31 years ago he gave a sick child a ride in a helicopter.
“He told me the hospital’s kind-of boring, and I opened my big mouth and said I play guitar, maybe I can come see you and it led to this,” Woody said.
Woody has been playing his guitar, singing and doing magic tricks for children full time for over 20 years. Every Monday and Tuesday he travels to children’s hospitals in Philadelphia. On Wednesdays he goes to Hershey. Thursdays are reserved for Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. He does this through his ministry, Heart to Hand Ministries.
“Seeing a smile with a song and thinking I have two choices here. I can either work for a living or hang out with my friends and play music, and I opted for that,” Woody said.
Just ask seven-year-old Janna Hobelman of Penns Creek. Janna and her family know Woody very well. He sang to Janna’s older brother before he died…and now he sings to her.
“He’s someone who keeps coming back and keeps coming back. It’s really special to the kids,” Susanna Hobelman said.
“Woody has a wonderful way of just engaging them from the start, and they just brighten. That may be the only smile you see from the child that day is when woody is around,” Tracey Craddock said.
When Woody walked into Meth Desilva’s room, the 14-year-old from Mill Hall was already listening to one of Woody’s cd’s. Meth’s heart rate went up when Woody started singing.
“His whole demeanor changed when woody started singing. He’s supposed to be on sedation and he just woke up,” Nishantha desilva said.
Over the years, Woody has met hundreds of children.
“These are my friends. Of course I meet a lot of new kids each week, but you have the kids you see time and time again,” Woody said.
Sometimes he sings at their weddings…and for some, their funerals.
“These kids at a very young age battle battles that most of us as adults will never know,” Woody said.
Woody does not charge any money for what he does. His travels are made possible through donations from people and churches, and sometimes stipends from the hospitals. He does not travel with much money, but he considers himself a rich man.
“When I think about why I do this, it’s because, it’s like asking me why I breathe. I finally found what I think I was made to do,” Woody said.
Woody sings anything the children request. Many of them ask to him play songs he wrote himself. Woody gives each child one of his CDs. If you would like more information about Woody Wolfe and Heart to Hand Ministries”, click here.