Letter: Local schools, churches deliver holiday joy
There was definitely magic in the Vail Valley this season. Some of it was spurred by Rob and Lynn Bowles, who for the past seven years or so, have made sure each Eagle County senior had a gift to open through the creation of the “Senior Christmas Wish” program.
Even after Rob and Lynn moved to the Front Range two years ago, they have kept their commitment to the older adults of Eagle County. The program is a collaboration of many local churches and their thoughtful congregations to make this very big project run seamlessly.
This year, due to the pandemic, the program was simplified by giving gift cards in place of physical gifts. Every year, the churches are so generous, but this year more than ever. The Eagle River Presbyterian Church, the Vail Church, Calvary Chapel, and Redeemer Eagle Valley, just to name a few, reached out to their parishioners to donate monies for Walmart and City Market gift cards.
In addition, the Vail Church Children’s MInistry team matched 14 families with older adults to deliver care packages filled with fun seasonal items and sang Christmas songs for each of these households. We received feedback from one of the households where a husband living with dementia resides — she said he just “lit up” seeing and hearing the children sing. He was especially excited to see the brightly-colored wrapped gifts in a bag for him. At one point, he noticed a candy cane and he smiled and stated that he used to get these from his “granddaddy” in Caribou, Maine. His wife explained that this simple gesture brought him back to an experience 80 years prior!
If that wasn’t enough, the Vail Mountain School “adopted” many Vail seniors. They sent cards and delivered the gift cards from the churches. Bev Christiansan and the Gracious Savior Lutheran Church adopted many Edwards and Red Cliff older adults.
We also want to express our gratitude for the 12th grade at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy’s “Yetis on Wheels” dinner program. This group of students delivered meals they had created to many of our older adult homes in MInturn. They plan to continue in 2021!
We are so fortunate to live in a community where our older generations are loved, supported and respected and we appreciate all of you for making it a wonderful holiday season in a year that has otherwise been quite challenging.
Happy New Year!
Pat Nolan and Carly Rietmann
Eagle County Healthy Aging
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