Ministry St. Jospeh's Hospital Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Their NICU

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While dads celebrate Father's Day across the nation, a very special group of fathers came together in Marshfield this weekend.

More than 400 dads packed Marshfield Wildwood Park Sunday and they all had one thing in common. They've all had a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ministry St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

This Father's Day the hospital is commemorating forty-five years of its NICU.

Inflatable attractions and a free meal brought families from as far away as California to Marshfield. One nurse tells NewsChannel 7 she credits the event's high turn out to the quality of care families received.

"There is consistency. So they know who is going to be there everyday. So you build up a trust relationship," NICU Nurse Joan Barton explained. "I've attended high school graduations for my primary babies because you become friends with them."

Barton was the primary care nurse for baby Noel who was born premature. Noel's parents say in the two months he spent in the NICU they believe the nurses have left a lasting impact.

"He sees Joan and some of the other staff and he smiles," baby Noel's dad, Noel Felix III, said. "I think he recognize her voice. A lot of them sang him to sleep, and when we couldn't be there they fed him and took care of his diaper. So, for him, they are kind of like part time mothers too."

Prizes were awarded for smallest baby and longest stay.

To learn more about the Felix family and their personal journey you can visit their Facebook page at