More than 300 Holiday Decorations Transform Cook Children's into a Winter Wonderland
Every December, the Cook Children's Medical Center campus in Fort Worth transforms into a magical winter wonderland.
Larger-than-life holiday displays cover the grounds, garland and candy cane ribbon wrap every light pole, a 32-foot tree stands in the front circle and rumor has it... you can spot the thousands of Christmas lights all the way from the North Pole!
Although Christmas at Cook Children's seems to appear overnight after Thanksgiving, it takes months of preparation and planning to create the magic. Much like Santa has his elves to help him spread cheer, Cook Children's has Martin Aguado, Facilities Appearance Manager, and his team. Martin's crew works incredibly hard and partners with a couple of vendors to deck the halls at Cook Children's.
"Facilities Appearance starts to prep around springtime," Martin said. "We begin by taking care of any exterior appearance needs, including landscaping. It takes the whole team and some of our vendors to make this place look as good as it does."
Martin has been at Cook Children's for nearly 10 years and he enjoys his unique position of interacting with the whole organization. When describing his leadership style Martin said, "I consider myself a listener and I allow my team to accomplish their goals by supporting them. I am hands-on with many of my team's tasks and step in to help them in any way possible. I like to describe it as 'coaching leadership' and will support their goals and help them strengthen their weaknesses."
"I love that I am a people person and don't mind helping out," he said. "My day-to-day could be meetings and office work, but it changes as needs occur. I am always ready to do what is scheduled and unscheduled."
Martin has one of the most contagious smiles on campus, even under his mask during the pandemic. He co-leads a team of 11 to ensure the Fort Worth campus looks as good as possible at all times, but this time of year is what drives them to see the patients, families and staff with their own smiles when they see the outcome.
“I cannot express my appreciation and gratitude for Martin and the appearance team enough,” says Nick Markham, Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Campus Services, and Martin’s manager. “We have the best-looking campus and hospital in the world, and Martin is a gigantic role in that. I am so proud of everything he has and will continue to accomplish in his career.”
Some patients, families and staff call Cook Children’s ‘home’ during the holidays and Martin and his team make their time here as joyful as possible. Walk in the medical center, and you will see people in the Atrium taking pictures and sitting by even more Christmas trees, wreaths, elves, and a giant throne for Santa.
Step outside and the giant Christmas tree in the front circle is the easiest to spot, but the Dillard Garden is the favorite area among patient families and the community. Every night in December you can find families strolling around and taking pictures in front of the displays, driving by in their warm cars or running and cycling through campus. The decorations have also been known to make a Christmas card or two!
The Facilities Appearance team adds more lights and decorations each holiday season and it would be difficult to miss two of the new displays this year. The iconic rows of crepe myrtles that lined the drive to the medical center front entrance were removed following the winter storm in North Texas in February 2020. A glowing shooting star that changes colors now fills the space this season. The second new display this year is a 22-foot motif of Peaks the Dragon and can be found in Dillard Garden.
"Out of all the Christmas displays, the Dillard Garden would be my favorite," he shared. "I can walk through it every time I'm outside and it's special to drive by in the morning when I get here at 6 a.m."
The next time you and your family see Cook Children's at Christmas, we hope you think of - and thank - Martin and the entire Facilities Appearance team for helping make the spirits bright.
Cook Children's Holiday Decorations by the Numbers:
- 15 Christmas trees
- 300 installments
- 32-foot Christmas tree in the front circle
- 214 parts to the tree
- 2,556 ornaments on the tree
- It takes 8-10 people two full days, and a lift to assemble the tree