It started for Melody a few years ago. Her former pastor's wife made a comment that when you have a young mother cry on your shoulder because she has just lost her baby and she trusts a clown because she can't see the face behind it then it's all worth it. That stayed with her. She told her husband Gary about really wanting to have a clown ministry. He said I was on my own, but it would not leave her. She didn't want to do it without him, so she started praying if this was from the Lord that her husband would want to clown too. About a year or so later Gary mentioned he would like to get away from himself for a little while and thought clowning might just work for him.
In the beginning they had a lot of help from how to start a clowning ministry to even how to put the makeup on. They were told for a clown name to use something that was part of themselves. When Melody was a child she had a lot of freckles that she disliked, because she got teased about them. She felt her clown name should be Nurse Freckles, because it might help some little child realize freckles aren't that bad. She puts three dots on each side of her face that are freckles representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Gary had a hard time figuring out his name, as he always feels like he has to do everything right. One morning on the way to work Melody asked the Lord what Gary's clown name should be. She saw the dew on the grass and felt the Lord saying that just like the dew brings lift to the grass Gary would bring life to people. So, he became Dr. Dew Rite.
In April of 2011 Gary & Melody became incorporated with the State of Missouri as Caring Clowns for Souls. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. They volunteer at two of the local hospitals, two nursing homes and for Hospice Compasses every Saturday. The first and third Saturday of the month they are at Mercy Hospital and Mercy Villa. The second and fourth Saturday of each month they're at Cox South and the Maples Nursing and Rehab Center. At both Nursing and Rehab centers they see residents for Hospice.
So many people have been left and forgotten at the nursing homes. They go and give a smile, a hug, and just listen to them for a while so they know someone cares. At the hospitals they are there not only for the patients, but also for the staff who need some smiles or encouragement as well.
Dr. Dew Rite has gotten patients to take their medication, when the nurses couldn't get them to. The hospitals have given them an official title of "Giggle Therapists". They spread humor and laughter to cheer people up, when they're depressed. They give out life, love, and laughter without expecting anything in return. As Melody says, "We are there to show the residents, patients and staff we love them."
They've found that residents will talk to them, as clowns, about things they don't want to tell their families. They've had doctors ask them to go see patients that are depressed. Clown smiles on a stick are hand outs that they always bring with them. They inform the patients and residents that having a happy heart helps with recovery and for those times it's hard to smile they can have one of theirs. That always makes them smile.