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White Rock seniors residence feeling the love

Community spirit shining bright at White Rock Seniors Village

There’s been a whole lotta love coming to – and out of – White Rock Seniors Village this holiday season.

From a repeat of a fundraiser for the BC SPCA by one of the residents, to the return of a local family bearing Christmas gifts for the seniors, to the generosity a resident shared in the wake of November’s devastating floods in his former hometown, it’s fair to say that community spirit is more than just alive and well at the Maple Street retirement residence – it’s quite simply exploding.

“We all feel very blessed to live/work in such an amazing setting,” community relations manager Si Cussen said Tuesday (Dec. 28).

Cussen first alerted Peace Arch News to Harold Zelt in the fall of 2020, after residence staff helped the senior create a calendar from photos he had taken of local dogs, met while he was out and about in the community. Sales that year raised $1,250 for the SPCA.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Senior’s Dogs of White Rock calendar returns for 2022

Cussen said this year, 2022 Dogs of White Rock calendar orders – combined with proceeds from the sale of some paintings from the estate of another resident whose family wanted to support the effort – have translated to around $1,600 for the animal-welfare organization.

Meanwhile, the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s Carpenter family – Mike, Danielle and their two boys, Colton and Wyatt – has been bringing love to the retirement residence throughout the pandemic, spurred by involvement with the residence that began pre-COVID-19 by way of young Colton’s Buena Vista Montessori class, which had been making cards, singing songs and sharing laughter with the “grandmas and grandpas” since 2019.

READ MORE: Semiahmoo Peninsula brothers deliver sweet treats for Easter

Easter, Valentine’s Day and Christmas have all been made that much more special for the seniors through Colton’s desire to keep the connection going strong, Cussen said.

“Every special occasion, they come by and share the love,” Cussen said. “Amazing family, and the seniors are delighted every time they come.”

The extent of WRSV resident David Wright’s desire to help out following the floods and landslides that were triggered in the Fraser Valley and beyond by “atmospheric river” events caught Cussen off-guard.

Cussen said Wright approached her wanting to donate to the Sumas flood-relief fund.

Assuring Wright that she would figure out how to get the donation to the right people, Cussen took what she thought was his cheque for $25 and set out to do exactly that.

Returning to her office with it, she was floored to realize the cheque wasn’t for $25, but rather $25,000.

“He used to live in Abbotsford so felt it was the least he could do,” she said.

Cussen described the gesture as “incredible.”

“We really have a great group.”
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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