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Help send Irene to paradise.

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Welcome to Walgreens! Hi, my name is Stephanie (Walgreens Pharmacy Technician) and surely if you have been to the Richfield Walgreens in the Hub Shopping Center within the past 25 years you have met Irene. The “Walgreens”  lady who welcomes  EVERY single customer with a loud “Welcome to Walgreens” when you enter the store. When checking out you may have gotten to know her a bit and share a nice laugh and every time she wishes EVERY single person a blessed day/night/holiday and tells you to be safe as you exit the store. Having grown up and lived in Richfield myself almost my whole life I knew Irene growing up and now as a co-worker of hers (Yes, I can hear her yelling “Welcome to Walgreens” to every customer that comes in. I have had the privilege to be able to get to know her a lot better and upon learning that she hasn’t had the best or easiest time in her life and recently she suffered a stroke, it amazes me how she can go through all she has been through and still see the best in everyone. Even though all the troubles and tragedies she has endured she still does her best to put on a smile, laugh, and make everyone welcome to the store.

Irene will be celebrating her 25th year anniversary as an employee of the Hub Walgreens on April 7th and I would like to do something special for her as a suprise. Having just recently discussed with her what she would do if she had some money she said she would want to go on a nice vacation. I asked her if she had ever been on vacation and she said no she hadn’t since she could never afford it and that the farthest she’s been from MN is Michigan and Chicago. She expressed to me that she would love to go to Portland, OR or Hawaii. When asked if she was okay with flying she said absolutely. “You always have to come back down”, she said, lol. I can just picture her now with a huge smile on her face, relaxing with a drink in her hand and her feet in the sand. I can’t imagine a more deserving person than Irene and I know she would love to take a wonderful vacation. She has a month of PTO so maybe we could get enough together for her to take a week long trip somewhere and maybe some extra to give her for whatever else she might need. 

I will be asking her if she would like to take another person along with her, otherwise it would be an honor to travel along with her since I am a frequent traveler to make her vacation as fun and as stress free as possible, previously I was employed by Sun Country and know all of thier policies and procedures and while employed there I took many trips and still frequently travel and I would be able to document our whole journey for all to follow. 

I wasnt sure what people would want to donate, anything at all would be much appreciated. If you are not comfortable donating online, I also have a Venmo account and I work as a Pharmacy Technician back in the pharmacy Monday - Friday from 2pm to 10pm if you want to donate cash/check I could assure that it would be safe in the one of the many safes in the pharmacy and that its only use would solely be for this purpose. If you are a day shopper and you would like to donate cash/check before I am in the afternoon I will ensure that all the Pharmacists are aware of the situation and they could put it in the safe for you as well. 

Even if you don’t want to donate money we could always use supplies for the trip if anyone would like to donate something like you could bring it to me in the pharmacy as well. 
             For example; 
            - maybe some new luggage and travel                                         items for Irene 
             - some stuff like sunglasses and sunscreen 
             - Some stuff to do on the plane 
             - or maybe a gift card or treats for the trip 

Any extra items that won’t be used will be donated to a charity of Irene’s choice. 

Also if you would like to bring a card or something to Irene you could bring it to me as well if she is not working at the moment or maybe she’s on break and I will ensure that she gets them or would like me to give it to her when she gets the others, Just give it to the pharmacist or if I’m there I would be happy to give it to her for you. And I was also thinking of making a big card to give her at the party we as a Walgreens family will be having for her so I will be making a BIG card and if you would like to sign it, it will be located at the pharmacy. If you have any pictures with Irene or stories you would like to share, write them down and I will make a scrapbook for her. Or if you are in the store and you see her, ask for a photo with her and you can send it to me. You can also send me an email with a story if you would like. 

Send me an email with the title “Send Irene to Paradise” and attach or write what you would like to contribute. My email address is [email redacted]

Also if anyone knows of anyone who would be interested in contributing but does not have access to the internet please send me their contact info at [email redacted] or bring the info to the pharmacy and ask for Stephanie and I can most certianly help or if I’m not there you can give it to the pharmacist and they will be able to give it to me and I would be happy to reach out to them.

If anyone has any suggestions or concerns please message me on facebook or email me, again my email is 

Also I think the goal might be a bit of a stretch but taking into account flight (preferablly first class since she has trouble walking and it would be easier and more comfortable for her)/hotel/ transportation/fun/spending
& of course a day in the spa and any extra would be given to Irene to do whatever she wanted to do with it, knowing her she would donate it to charity. That’s just the kind of person she is.  

Lastly I would like to keep this top - secret so please if you see her wish her a happy anniversary but please don’t mention about the go fund me page or what we as a community are trying to do for her. I will make sure I videotape the moment I tell her the secret and I will share it with everyone. 

Please share with friends/family/anyone you know that knows Irene or has a story about her they would like to share. The more participation we can get the happier it will make Irene. She has in one way or another touched all of us at some point with her upbeat positivity and humor and made you feel welcome. 

Thank you for any donation you can make and have a blessed day.

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Stephanie Richards
Minneapolis, MN

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