DETROIT – Many Detroit babies received their first “wings” today as the Red Wings launched their brand new Baby Wings program in partnership with FirstMerit Bank.
Forward Daniel Alfredsson helped launch the program, which delivers a special goody bag to families who come to one of three hospitals in Metro Detroit for the birth of their child during the hockey season. The effort’s goal is to help foster lasting memories for local families, an experience Alfredsson, a father of four, is familiar with.
“I have been part of four births myself, I have four boys at home and it’s a very emotional and a very, if everything goes well that is, it’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever had,” Alfredsson said. “It’s one of feeling until you meet something that’s gone through it, you can’t explain it and I’m looking forward to obviously seeing the emotions of the new partners and share my story and congratulate.”
Alfredsson and Sandy Pierce, CEO of FirstMerit Michigan, visited two families at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit who were there for the birth of their child to kick off the partnership.
Fatima Griffin welcomed her son Thaddeus to the world on Wednesday and was very excited to take part in the Baby Wings program.
“It was nice, it was different, just something new and I don’t mind supporting what other people are doing,” said Griffin. “It’s just a wonderful thing.”
In addition to posing for photos with the families, Alfredsson, Pierce and FirstMerit’s mascot Franklin the moose himself delivered the first of the special goody bags and an Alfredsson bobblehead to parents and their newborn babies. The bags included a Franklin stuffed moose, an infant Red Wings beanie and a congratulatory certificate signed by the Red Wings forward welcoming their new family member to the world.
“It’s such an emotional time and you’re so happy, what you’ve gone through especially the mom and just to give them a little encouragement,” said Alfredsson. “They’re probably extremely tired as well and will be for some time to give them a little encouragement and wish them a good start.”
Alfredsson offered a bit of advice to the new parents as well.
“To the dads my offer is hopefully mom will breast feed as long as possible so we can sleep through the night,” the Red Wings forward said with a laugh.
The three hospitals that will be participating in the Baby Wings program are Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, DMC Hutzel Women's Hospital in Detroit and DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce. DMC is the official health care provider of the Red Wings.