More News Spreading Compassion: Russ Kujawski provides more than just routine repairs

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Spreading Compassion: Russ Kujawski provides more than just routine repairs

Sometimes all it takes is a “Hi” to make someone’s day.

That is the goal of Monument Health Maintenance Technician Russ Kujawski.

The experienced Mr. Fix-It is often seen chatting with patients at both the Monument Health Custer Hospital and Custer Assisted Living. What starts off as a routine repair many times turns into something much more. “All my conversations with patients start with going into their room to fix something. Then you get to know them and just stop in and talk with them,” he said. “You can just see a smile on their face and a sparkle in their eye when you stop by and say ‘Hi’.”

The avid motorcyclist moved from Nebraska to South Dakota three years ago for the beauty and rolling terrain of the Black Hills. He and his wife, Ruth, found a welcoming community in Custer.

Russ initially started conversations with those at the assisted living facility seeing that many had no one visiting them. “I just wanted to show them that they are loved and cared for. I practice love and compassion for those in need.” He remembers one woman he visited with when fixing a curtain in her room. Russ joked that she kept complaining about stuff needing fixed so she could talk with him.

In many instances, he gives hope to those who lack it. “Sometimes I pray with the people if they are leaning that way. I kind of lead the conversation to go where they want to go with it.” Not only does he take time to talk with patients, but often keeps in contact after they leave the facilities.

Russ’s compassion for others comes from his strong faith. Russ and Ruth, members of Crossroads Church, spend every fourth Sunday sharing God’s word with those living at the assisted living facility. “I go up and provide Sunday service to those who cannot get out. My Christian faith has really grown since I have been here.”

Russ’s connection with patients and assisted living residents is part of his mission in providing care. A simple gesture can make all the difference, he said.

“If you want to call me a caregiver, I will run with it. I may not be a medical caregiver, but there are all kinds of ways to give care to others.”

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