For my work, I get to catalog the stories of those that I sometimes help indirectly through my efforts. This story comes from a very special place. You see once upon a time, I worked as an employee at this retirement community. And, I loved every minute of it. So, I got to meet Charlie first hand. In fact, I saw Charlie every day.
Now as a consultant helping them out, they asked me to write a story about Charlie for their annual report that I am putting together.
So, here begins the story of Charlie…
You let us do the driving.
“You all grew on me.”
It was thirty years ago when Charlie Domina’s daughter-in-law Val set her sights on Charlie’s impeccable driving skills. Val was UMEC’s Activity Director at the time, and she just knew that Charlie would be the perfect person with his newly acquired retirement for a position that she had in mind.
And, Charlie gave in. Soon, he found himself taking residents shopping, driving to local restaurants and other outing destinations, transporting residents to appointments, and doing whatever else he was called on to do.
He was having so much fun and saw how everyone living at Winslow Gardens just loved it there that in 2002 he decided to move in himself and began driving even more. In fact, Charlie drove that van for the next twenty years, all with a clean driving record to boot.
Then in 2007, Charlie decided it was time to give up his van “job,” but that wasn’t the end of Charlie helping out. He felt a need to give back to the community he had grown to love. And, so he began helping out at the Country Store.
Over the past thirty years, Charlie has given an incredible 5,867 hours of service. And, now he is finally ready to really retire.
For the past twenty of those thirty years, Charlie has called UMEC home and says that the care and supports that everyone provides there are done with such love, that he just couldn’t think of calling any other place home.
And, today at 92, Charlie who has given so much to so many over the years, is now himself being well taken care of in the place that he loves.
Most importantly though, he agrees, “It is finally time for me to retire and let UMEC do the driving!” And, after all he has done, we couldn’t agree more.