Monday was a whirlwind day for Wells Enterprises President and CEO Mike Wells. It started early in the morning in New York City, and ended with a trip to Columbus, Ohio.
By the next morning, he was back in New York, giving a series of interviews to talk about the Le Mars, Iowa-based company's new partnership with the national Make-a-Wish Foundation.
On Monday, the makers of Blue Bunny ice cream formally announced it will grant 100 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions in celebration of its 100th anniversary this year.
One of the first wishes was granted during NBC's Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. Eight-year-old Nick Santillo, who has a rare heart defect, met his hero, WWE champion John Cena.
Cena invited Nick to a WWE Raw event in Columbus, where he appeared on stage. Wells tagged along to share in the moment.
In an early Tuesday morning interview with the Journal, the CEO said he plans to personally take part in as many of the wishes as possible.
"It's not only a depiction of the great culture at Wells, it's something I personally find a lot of satisfaction in being involved with," he said. "I also believe as the leader of the organization, I should lead by example."
Wells employees are encouraged to volunteer to help with wishes. Supervisors will help adjust work schedules, and the company is making its intranet computer system, or bunny.net, available to coordinate requests.
Blue Bunny will finance at least one wish for each of the 62 Make-a-Wish chapters.
"We don't have any input as to what wish gets granted," he said. "That's what Make-A-Wish does, and they do such a wonderful job in doing that."
Blue Bunny this week launched a national ad campaign to highlight the Make-A-Wish partnership. Wells said he hopes to raise the profile of the national nonprofit organization, which currently only has enough funding to grant half of the wishes it receives.
So far, the public response has been overwhelming, Mike Wells said. Before the Today Show appearance Monday, Blue Bunny employees passed out ice cream to people gathered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A woman approached Mike to ask what all the commotion was about.
After hearing about the plans for the 100 wishes, "She teared up and said, 'What a wonderful thing you are doing. and thank you.' " he recalled.
For more information about the wishes being granted as part of the 100 Years, 100 Wishes program, visit www.100Years100Wishes.com
Videos and photos of the wish-granting events will be available at www.100Years100Wishes.com. Join the birthday and wish celebration by signing the Wish Card at the site.