ST. LOUIS — He served our country overseas in World War II at just 17 years old. These days 94-year-old O'Fallon native Carl Hall is continuing to serve in a different way.
If you’ve walked through the doors at Shriner’s Hospital you’ve probably come in contact with Carl Hall.
“When you see Carl you just light up,” said nurse Pauline Mopkins.
The 94-year-old World War II veteran has seemingly seen it all in his life.
“I was in the Army Air Corps. I got over to Europe at the end of the War,” said Carl Hall. “Going to the South Pole, the Berlin Airlift. I was in Iran when they still had a king.”
Since retiring in 1990, Hall dedicated his life to a different kind of service.
“Right now here’s what I’m doing,” said Hall. “I’m just handing out toys.”
For the past 32 years, Hall has handed out smiles to everyone who walked through the door at Shriners Children’s Hospital.
“Carl treats us all like we’re a part of his family,” said Mopkins.
“It’s really helpful to your physical and mental health because you’re helping kids get better,” said Hall. “I’ve seen kids come in here that couldn’t even walk or do anything. When they leave they’re like a regular kid anymore. It’s just amazing.”
“He loves the patients and his biggest joy is seeing the patients smile when he gives them a gift and talks to them and has a conversation about how special Shriner’s is to them,” said Mopkins. “Carl is Shriner’s.”
However, Hall has brought more than just happiness into the hospital.
Over the years working with a number of church groups and community organizations Hall has helped raise more than $270,000 in donations for Shriners Children’s Hospital.
“People bring me money to bring in and I bring it in,” said Hall. “I’ve seen some what I saw as babies coming in now with their babies. That gives you a good feeling because you know somebody is here to help.”
With that in mind, I wanted to know how much longer he planned to continue manning his post.
“As long as I can,” said Hall. “I have no idea how long that will be. As long as God helps me, I’ll do it.”
“If no one shows up, Carl will be here to greet the kids and make them feel welcome and let them know that Shriner’s are here for them and here to do everything we can do for them to make them a better person to be successful in society,” said Mopkins.
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