BAY PINES, Fla. — Gib Topel is a tough guy. He is a retired U.S. Marine who was stationed in Okinawa.
Topel is now receiving care at a hospital in the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.
But this tough guy, well, he sure loves flowers.
“These are just beautiful,” says Gib, holding a vase filled with roses and daisies.
“I hope this bring a little sunshine to your day,” says Janette Donoghue, the woman who brought them.
“Oh, yes, it’s working,” smiles Gib.
Janette leads a Dunedin nonprofit called Random Acts of Flowers.
With the help of more than 100 volunteers, the charity recycles and repurposes day-old flowers from Publix, Sprouts, Whole Foods and Tampa Bay area florists. The rearranged bouquets go to people in health care facilities who could use a smile.
Random Acts of Flowers handed out more than 85,000 bouquets in the past few years.
Janette especially likes coming to the VA hospital.
“Men love flowers just as much as women,” Donoghue says. “That’s why I love coming here. It’s mostly men and this is our way of saying thank you.”