El Paso

El Paso Children's patients experience 'Elf on the Shelf' with a twist

Sunny The Construction Elf

EL PASO, Texas - Being a kid stuck in a hospital when everyone else is out celebrating the holiday season can be tough.

That being said, some young patients at El Paso Children's are experiencing the joys of the season all thanks to a life-size elf.

"Sunny the Elf" isn't your regular Elf on a shelf. At 6-feet tall, Sunny is an elf that sits on top of construction!

"Sunny was from an idea that I came up with. Sundt, we just emphasized "Sunny" and called him our construction elf," said Larry Kurtz, project manager for Sundt construction.

Kurtz and his team saw an opportunity to spread holiday cheer while working on the new medical building for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, which sits right across the street from The El Paso Children's Hospital.

"So we thought this was a great idea to kinda give back to the children. So we wanted to do that on a building and on a larger scale and have them wake up in the morning and see the elf in different locations throughout each day," said Kurtz.

Kurtz and his team move "Sunny" the elf every morning before the patients at the Children's hospital wake up. Every day "Sunny" is placed in a new location.

"I've been here for like a week and it was kinda boring, but once I saw the elf it started making my day," said Hailee Ozaeta, a patient at El Paso Children's Hospital.

Back in March, Hailee was diagnosed with a form of leukemia . "Sunny" the elf for her is a great distraction. 

"It makes me feel happy and glad that they did it to keep my mind off stuff. So I could just look at the elf and it will just make me laugh, said Hailee.

According to Hailee, "Sunny" has been all over the construction site!

"I've seen him in the crane machine with a safety vest. I've seen him sitting down on the cement. I've seen him peeking and I've seen him all the way to the floor where the workers are working," said Hailee.

Giving back to the community is something Sundt Construction takes pride in. By bringing "Sunny" the Elf to the patients of El Paso Children's Hospital, the children can still enjoy the holiday season away from home.

Sundt Construction plans on letting "Sunny" the elf stick around until Christmas day, when he has to return home to the North Pole.


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