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Volunteer donates $1 million to Alabama NICU where he rocks preemies once a week

For the last year and a half, 81-year-old Louis Mapp has been rocking babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at USA Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. 

The NICU relies on volunteers to spend time with premature babies whose parents can't be there 24 hours per day. Mapp is more than happy to help. Every Tuesday, he rocks, feeds, and burps, any baby who needs a little TLC.

"I love to look at their expressions when I rock them,” Mapp told WKRG. “This one is smiling at me right now, and it just makes your day to do that.”

WATCH: Mapp donation to hospital

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During his time volunteering there, Mapp became very impressed by the NICU medical staff. So impressed, that he and his wife, Melinda, recently gifted the unit $1 million.

Everyone, nurse manager Renee Rogers said, was shocked by the generous donation.

"For him to come with his time alone is fabulous, but then the donation! It was massively surprising," Rogers told WKRG.

The Mapp’s gift will establish an endowment, allowing NICU staff to offset unforeseen needs that pop up within the unit. “We wanted (the endowment) to be large enough that it would produce enough income so the caregivers, when they recognize a need during the year that might not be in the budget, they would have funds available,” Mapp explained to the University of South Alabama.

“A lot of people don’t realize what a wonderful facility this is, what they do here, how many lives are affected and how many lives they save,” Mapp continued. “It’s an honor for us to share our blessings, and we can’t think of a better place to do it than here at the NICU unit of Children’s & Women’s Hospital.”

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