NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was a special delivery Monday for frontline warriors – bouquets of tulips to brighten their days.

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, it’s in celebration of International Women’s Day.

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Tulips symbolizing love and charity were ready for delivery outside of NYC Health + Hospitals Elmhurst.

“It brings hope,” said Josephine George, the hospital’s head of patient relations experience. “There is a positive future over COVID.”

Murdock watched her load up the brilliant blooms and wheel them inside for handoff to what she calls the bedrock of the organization – the women who work there.

“Seventy percent of employees are female. Perfect time to give and show appreciation,” said Petals For Hope founder Brittaney Sard.

Sard founded Petals For Hope three years ago. The nonprofit rescues flowers from events and weddings, then repurposes them to bring joy to those who could use a little color in their world.

LINK: Petals For Hope

Monday’s handoff was somewhat different. U.S. tulip growers and European bulb suppliers donated the signs of spring to Petals of Hope so that 1,000 bouquets make into the hands of women on the frontlines.

“Do these make you happy today?” Murdock asked.

“They sure do,” said Chief Nursing Officer Joann Gull. “They bring a smile to all our staff. Spring is here, a time to rejoice and feel better, thanks to the vaccine.”

Sard describes delivering the blooms Monday as emotional and overwhelming.

“Seeing everything they’ve given – time with family, health – just to make sure we stay safe means so much,” Sard said.

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The delivery to Elmhurst Hospital is one of 10 happening across the country in celebration of International Women’s Day.

“I walk on the shoulders of so many women who do little things every day to make health care better,” said Elmhurst Hospital CEO Helena Arteaga Landaverde.

Landaverde is the first woman to hold the title CEO at the hospital. She has something she wants little girls to know.

“Your zip code does not define you,” she said.

Her roots go deep in Corona, Queens.

“Being a person of color in this zip code, the likelihood of you being a successful leader and CEO is slim, less than 4%,” she said.

Landaverde defied the odds.

“Elmhurst Hospital, one of biggest in Queens, and someone from the neighborhood is running it. It’s a huge honor,” she said.

And accomplishment, one to be celebrated especially on International Women’s Day.

She started as CEO one month ago. It’s fitting the tulips she received Monday also symbolize new beginnings.

Monday’s special delivery helps kick-off a month long celebration. The culmination a virtual tulip festival at the end of the month.

 

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Vanessa Murdock