The next question was the wedding site. "We didn't want them to have to do this in his room," says Erdmann. The employees in facilities got to work on a courtyard that had been neglected because of construction of the new hospital next door.
"Then we bought a cake and got some flowers and the facilities guys decorated our courtyard," Erdmann says. "There was weed-whacking and leaf-blowing all over the place."
Erdmann enlisted the help of another staffer who he knew could play the piano, and she knew someone in the lab who could sing. The chaplain service worked out the details of the ceremony itself, and the media department prepared to shoot wedding photos and video the event.
"While all this was going on, I communicated with the fiancée that it was going to happen," says Erdmann.
She didn't know her way around the town of La Crosse, so someone volunteered to drive her to pick up Smothers' clothes and her wedding dress.
"She met me in the parking lot, and I lugged her dress and the clothes up to the room, but I never told them we were setting all the rest of this up behind the scenes," Erdmann says.
But two more documents were required from another city 20 miles away.
"I thought there's no way we would get this done by 2 pm," Erdmann says. "All these people dropped what they were doing in the moment, and it wasn't like I had to even ask them. There are countless people who I don't even know who helped with this."