Carol and DeVon Armstrong had just returned to their home in Hurricane after a trip to Panguitch. There, they had enjoyed a pleasant visit with their grandson Austin and his wife Kayla, who was six months pregnant.
Although the journey home took less than two hours, the message left on their answering machine indicated that much had changed: Kayla had given birth, and mother and baby were being whisked to St. George via LifeFlight helicopter.
Alarmed, the Armstrongs rushed to Dixie Regional’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and immediately gave the baby, Tessaley, a church blessing. Born three months early, their new great-granddaughter weighed a mere one pound, thirteen ounces, and was about the length of a dollar bill.
While Tessaley was dangerously premature, her family knew she was in the right place. “We’ve got top-of-the-line care at Dixie Regional,” said Carol. “Until you need the facilities, you don’t realize what’s available. Everything necessary to save Tessaley was here.”
The Armstrongs also discovered that the NICU’s advantages extended beyond sophisticated medical equipment. “We came a number of times to see the baby,” DeVon said. “So we became acquainted with the doctors and nurses who cared for her. They were always so accommodating and understanding.”
Under the expert care of the NICU staff, Tessaley grew and began to thrive. When Tessaley was three months old, DeVon and Carol were thrilled to hold her for the first time, and she was released from the NICU later that day.
Glad as they were to finally have Tessaley home, leaving the staff was bittersweet for the Armstrongs. “We wanted to do something to honor the NICU,” Carol said. “We’re so grateful for what the NICU has done for our family.”
As a result, the Armstrongs have chosen to include a generous gift for the NICU in their will. “It feels like a natural thing to do,” said DeVon. “We just hope that as many people can benefit from our gift as possible.”