March 11 brings liberation to the residents of Wildpine Residence

(The staff at Wildpine Residence who took part in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines on March 11, 2021. Seen here posing with the created mural from Stittsville United Church and given to residents and staff letting them know the community cares. Photo: Stittsville Central)

For the residents and staff of Wildpine Residence, March 11, 2021 marked an important day for all. Yes, it denotes the one year marker for the date on which our uncertain future began. But, for all who live and work at Wildpine, they knew it was a day that their lives would be changed with the special delivery arriving that morning.

It has been a tough year of lockdowns for the residents, without the hands-on support and love of family members. The staff at Wildpine have lovingly become the surrogate daughters, sons and grandchildren for the residents. In fact, the residents call Frances de Beaumont, General Manager, ‘Mother Frances’ some of the residents shared.

On Thursday morning the team of Ottawa Paramedics and Ottawa Public Health rolled in by bus (literally) with their precious cargo in a separate vehicle. The vaccine for the residents had arrived. The residents would receive their 2nd shots!

The teams quickly got to work thawing the vaccine and mixing the solution for the dosage bottles. The resident listing of names was checked and re-checked for each floor as the Paramedics and Health personnel formed their teams for each of the four floors where they would deliver the vaccine into the residents’ arms.

This Editor was fortunate enough to be invited to see it all first-hand. On arrival, I was given a COVID-19 Rapid Test that came up negative and this result allowed me to enter Wildpine (with the proper mask coverings and health protocols followed) on this exciting, yet emotional, day for the residents. To see it on the 6:00 news and be there in person to read the eyes and hear the comments, brings about an increased respect for what science and our Ottawa paramedics and public health officials are doing for our senior community.

Frances was our lead for the third floor team, where we visited the residents in their rooms. The first to receive her COVID-19 vaccine was long-time Stittsville resident, Mary Wilson. In fact, Mary was receiving her first shot, as she is a new resident at Wildpine. “Will I feel it?”, Mary asked and was assured that she “may feel a small twinge as the needle is entering the muscle of her arm”. Mary couldn’t believe it was done – she didn’t feel a thing. “You know what you are doing,” she exclaimed to the team. Next up, was another Stittsville resident, Joan Davis, who has lived here with her husband Gord since the 1960s and are well-known for their community involvement. The couple celebrated 70 years of marriage in 2020. “The lockdown has been hard – I am so happy to receive this second shot so we can see our family and share some big hugs,” Joan elatedly said. Margaret Busci, another long-time former resident of Fernbank Road received her shot and was “looking forward to going out”.

Beryle Ridout, a resident on the second floor, told me, “I am on cloud nine, so happy. Now I’m just waiting for the freedom – closing my door behind me for a couple of hours to get out to the local shops”.

The morning went smoothly and all 69 residents received their shots. The Paramedics and Ottawa Health team were treated to donuts supplied by Mavericks Donuts Stittsville.

A large banner was unfurled, made and signed by the residents and staff, to thank the Paramedics and Public Health teams for bringing the Wildpine residents that much closer to days of health, family and freedom. Wildpine Residence were pleased to present the Paramedics with a donation of $1,400 to the Ottawa First Responders Foundation. The residents donated $400 and Wildpine donated $1,000 for OFRF.

(The Paramedics and Public Health staff were treated to donuts compliments of Mavericks Donuts of Stittsville.)


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