Residents at a Trail care home who have been isolated most of this year, received an early Christmas present earlier this month.
One that was delivered with plenty of joy one Saturday though it’ll shine on throughout the holidays.
An enthusiastic group of Rotary Trail volunteers strung Christmas lights and decorations around the outside courtyard on Saturday, Nov. 14, a lovely seasonal gesture that brightened the day and will light up the nights for seniors and staff at Columbia View Lodge (CVL).
“Our residents absolutely love the results and they also enjoyed watching the volunteers through the windows as they worked away,” said CVL Recreation Therapist Margot Wright. “The Rotary and the various local businesses that donated items are so appreciated by all of us at Columbia View Lodge.”
Rotarian Mike Holtz organized the event, realizing the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on seniors in care homes.
The previous year he had noticed a Facebook request for decorations at CVL, and thought this would be a good time to follow through.
“It just sort of stuck in the back of my head,” said Holtz. “I live close to the CVL and thought it would be a good gesture, so I brought it up at Rotary and got huge support.”
Holtz now just needed permission from the lodge.
“With COVID, we all know the Christmas season is going to be different so the Rotary Club approached me to see if this is a project that CVL would accept,” said Wright. “Of course the answer was a resounding yes. We are so excited to have our courtyards lit up for Christmas as it will bring some joy to the residents in these confusing times.”
Holtz then approached local businesses who jumped at the chance to offer what they could.
“All the businesses here, all the main hardware stores, even the small hardware stores and shops, everything was donated,” Holtz said. “It was quite touching.”
From Christmas lights to wire animal ornaments, local businesses outfitted the Rotary Club with a variety of different decorations and Holtz rallied more than 15 volunteers for the self-distanced and masked-up decorating party.
“We had 12 on site at any one time, then we had a couple people back at my house making cookies and coffee,” said Holtz. “We made a weigh station away from the site, we tried to minimize the Covid exposures. We had no physical contact with residents and absolutely minimal with staff.”
CVL residents watched through the windows as volunteers strung the lights and put up decorations, giving approving smiles and nods for a job well done.
“We were being window-supervised quite heavily,” laughed Holtz. “Lots of thumbs up. It was pretty darn good.”
While COVID has put a damper on much of the holiday season’s festivities, the small but significant actions, like the Rotary’s, provide hope, renew faith, and remind our most vulnerable that they are not forgotten.
“That’s why the card says, ‘We’re thinking of you,’” said Holtz.
“The support was amazing,” he added. “This is a really beautiful little town, who has their heart in the right place. It’s a small gesture, but we got a couple smiles out of it, so it was worth every penny.”
The Rotary Club is a non-profit, service club that has been active in Greater Trail since 1927. Their theme for 2020 is ‘Rotary Connects the World’ and brings communities like Trail together.