MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren, his wife Greta, and their family provided culinary comfort for patients, their families and staff at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital on Thanksgiving.
The meal, prepared by Chef Jerry Evans, provided an opportunity for more than 200 people to enjoy tastes of home.
"I feel truly blessed to work with the Warrens in their support of Masonic Children's Hospital," said Elizabeth Patty, Senior Director of Development at the University of Minnesota Foundation. "They are an exceptional family, always helping others during the most challenging times. At this special Thanksgiving dinner, families were nourished with an amazing meal, giving them the chance to take a break from their hospital rooms, enjoy conversation, and in many cases get [second helpings] — just like home."
The mother of one young child, who needed treatment that brought them far from their home, shed tears because of the outreach.
"The kindness of Mr. Warren and his family was overwhelming and comes at a time when we needed a little extra encouragement," the mother said. "Our Thanksgiving just became a little more special."
The dinner is part of an ongoing commitment the Warren family has made to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital that included a $1 million donation last December to establish "Carolyn's Comforts," a support network and emergency assistance fund to help as many families as possible through difficult times.
"The word that comes to mind when I think of Thanksgiving is 'gratitude,' " Warren said. "We are so very blessed, and it becomes easy to forget that many people who we interact with on a daily basis are in physical or emotional pain. Greta and I, along with our children and close friends who joined us, are so very grateful that we were able to bring a little joy to the lives of the patients, their families and the staff at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. I am so very thankful that God has chosen to bless my family and me with our health."
Carolyn's Comforts is named in honor of Warren's sister, Carolyn Elaine Warren-Knox, and the care she had for others. Warren-Knox succumbed to brain cancer in October 2014, but not before a courageous battle.
"We are so fortunate to have Minnesota Vikings COO Kevin Warren and his wife Greta as supporters of University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital," said Dr. Joseph Neglia, the hospital's Physician-in-Chief. "In addition to a $1 million Carolyn's Comforts Emergency Assistance Fund for children battling cancer, Kevin and his family hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of patients, parents, physicians and staff providing a wonderful meal and sense of home for those who had to be at the hospital yesterday. These are remarkable and important gifts!"