Wausau Police Chief delivers gift baskets - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau Police Chief delivers gift baskets

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Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel is no stranger to being in the hospital.

"It was difficult, and I was at a point where there were some really dark days, didn't know for sure if i was going to make it out," said Hardel.

"It was a really difficult time obviously, just being there to support your loved one in the hospital is difficult especially when it's for an extended time," said his wife, Jen.

Last year, he spent about 10 days in the hospital, dealing with shingles and life-threatening complications.

"One of our friends delivered a basket with just a number of things in them, and it really wasn't the items in the basket, it was the reason and the spirit of the basket," said Hardel.

That gift inspired Hardel and his wife to pay it forward.

For the second year in a row, the Hardel's passed out gift baskets to people staying at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau. 

"It means a lot to know that people are thinking of you and it helps keep your spirits up which helps I think with recovery," said Tara Shimel, a patient at the hospital. 

The project is growing.

"We've had a number of people that have reached out and said you've inspired us to put baskets together," said Hardel.

The doctor who diagnosed the chief last year is now in Florida, and he brought this project with him.

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