The climate in Morris County, N.J., on Tuesday went from a gloomy and ominous morning to a bright and burnished autumn afternoon in what seemed like no time at all.
Such an inspiring transformation appeared to be identical to the morale of the children and families at Atlantic Health's Goryeb Children's Hospital of Morristown after Jets wide receivers Brad Smith and Wallace Wright paid a visit.
"It's great seeing their first reaction when you walk into their room," said Wright, a second-year member of the Jets. "Some of them come off as shy, but you can still see the happiness in them and their parents."
Atlantic Health is a non-profit health care system that includes Overlook Hospital in Summit as well. Goryeb Children's Hospital is located at Morristown Memorial Hospital in Morristown, which is just miles away from the Jets future headquarters in Florham Park, NJ.
"We are really excited to have them right in our back yard," said Child Life manager Lisa A. Ciarrocca, CCLS. "Brad and Wallace did excellent. They were made to do this. I think they even have a career to do this."
Wright and Smith visited children of all ages, backgrounds and ailments in the hospital's third-floor pediatrics and PICU, second-floor Valerie Center and clinics and first-floor day hospital.
"I think it's just very telling that this is what they are doing on their days off," marketing manager Maureen Boulanger said. "We acknowledge that this is the heart of the Jets. This is what they're going to bring to our community and this is another reason why we're going to partner with the Jets."
"They were so accommodating and are such naturals," Boulanger added. "Both young men were very at ease with some of the situations. I think they did an outstanding job and made everyone very comfortable. If I were to hear Brad Smith say 'God bless' one more time, I think I might cry."
Smith and Wright patrolled the hallways with excitement and motivation to help brighten the children's spirits in any way possible. Even the doctors and nurses of each unit were touched by Smith and Wright, making it an all-around stimulating experience of non-stop enjoyment.
"Even if it brightens up the kids' mornings the slightest, it's worth it. It's a great feeling," Smith said. "The parents of these children, no matter what situation they and their families are in, sincerely thank us and it means a lot."
"I knew it was going to be an overwhelming experience for everyone but I didn't realize that these two guys would be so awesome," said Ciarrocca. "Everyone they met had the smiles on their faces because they were so very warm and they stopped for anyone and everyone. We're very lucky to have had them here."