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Geisinger inspires local generosity

After week-long COVID battle, Mifflin County resident pays it forward

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County resident George Losch, founder of Juniper Community Missions, was hospitalized for 7 days fighting COVID-19. Losch posted on the organizations social media page on Dec. 30, explaining,

“I have been fighting COVID here at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital for 7 days now and am overwhelmed at the care they have given me. So, I have made the decision that I’m going to try to raise money by shaving off my goatee when I get home from the hospital”

Upon his release, made arrangements to shave off his goatee (which he had come to be known for) if a fundraising goal of $2,500 was reached. The funds, would go toward the distribution of food to needy children living in the areas of Jubot, Belval, and Ka Chandel, Haiti.

But why Haiti?

Losch explained that he started the nonprofit after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and has been making trips there for over 20 years. “I wanted to honor all of the healthcare workers that are helping me to return to health,” he said.

Why his goatee?

“The reason I did it is because in Haiti, when someone sees me they call me ‘Ti bab’ which translates to tiny beard. So my name in Haiti is because of my goatee. To the average person they wouldn’t understand the symbolism.” He said.

Losch didn’t just meet his goal; He exceeded it, raising $3,470. Losch said he knew this was a confirmation that what he felt in his heart is what God wanted him to do. Using the money, Losch was able to put together enough sacks of food for 325 Haitian kids’ families.

Losch spoke highly of the treatment he received at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital during his time there.

“It was incredible how my treatment was in the hospital. They were truly the hands and feet of Christ to me. They took care of me like a family member. I didn’t feel like a patient,. Their kindness, passion and compassion were overwhelming. I was trying to think of how I could say “thank you,” and God gave me a different idea of how.” He said.

Losch was adamant that it wasn’t about him, but the unbelievable care he received in the hospital and thanks the hospital, juniper community, and supporters. Losch says he still wants to set up something directly for the healthcare workers in the near future.

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