By Shirley Shuman
Last Friday staff and residents of the Braxton Health Care Center released balloons to honor the 26 residents who had died during the last year. Activity director Julia Drake explained how the balloon release came about.
Drake said that a local woman whose mother, a resident at the health care center, had died, asked them to release balloons to honor her mother. Drake and others at the center agreed to fulfill her request and decided to go a step further. “We decided to release balloons to honor all the residents who passed away last year,” she said. “Our residents hadn’t been able to get together to mourn those who had died because of Covid, so we decided this gave us the opportunity to do that.”
Drake emphasized that the balloon release acted as a remembrance of those who died last year and as a celebration not only of the lives of the deceased but also of the freedom which current residents enjoy since the threat of Covid has lessened. “It was a kind of ‘coming’ out,” she said, “letting residents get together.”
One current resident, retired Braxton physical education teacher Brenda Hickman, took part in the balloon release. Asked for her reaction to the event, Hickman said, “It wasn’t a bad idea. It was a good way to pay respect to those who passed away.” She also said she enjoyed the activity. “I saw some kids I’d had in school,” she noted, “some whose parents were being honored.” The activity director explained that the balloon release is not the only group activity with which residents will be involved. On September 24, they will be making apple butter, and the public is invited to attend.