The Maxville Manor long-term care facility celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala event at the Metcalfe Centre on Saturday evening.
More than 180 people showed up to the event, despite unfavourable weather conditions and the absence of electricity.
“The gala was a huge success despite the power outage,” said Executive Assistant to the CEO Kristie Campbell. “It was proof of how everyone in the community can come together to make these things work and really that’s what the manor is all about.”
The gala opened with a cocktail hour where guests were welcome to mingle to the sounds of the Campbell Trio.
Master of Ceremonies Bill Shields did an excellent job rustling guests to their tables for the opening talks followed with a blessing by Reverend Jim Ferrier. Rev. Ferrier spoke of the original pioneers who first envisioned the Manor and strove to ensure its place in the community, as well as the many people who helped support and strengthen the Manor ensuring its continued presence in the community and its ability to provide for the welfare of its residents and the community.
While there were a few nervous jitters as the guests settled in to their tables, La Cuisine Volante did not fail to impress. “They did an amazing job considering the circumstances,” exclaimed Ms. Campbell. “They basically prepared all of the food in the dark and without power.”
The event’s motto, “A community caring for seniors,” was well phrased as community members, families of residents, and members of the board young and old shared stories about the history of the Manor and their experiences over the years. The commitment and devotion of the community were also demonstrated by the efforts volunteers and guests made to ensure the event went off without a hitch, despite the lack of power. Guests rushed out to collect generators which were used to power the microphones and play videos while lanterns were provided by Debbie’s Country Corner.
Welcoming remarks opened with a few words from Kellie Pickett, Chair of the Maxville Manor Foundation along with Bernard Bouchard, Maxville Manor Chief Executive Officer and Ivan Coleman, Chair of the Maxville Manor Board of Directors.
“We’re celebrating the fact that we’ve been going for 50 years. This is what the community can do when we come together,” said Ms. Pickett. “We’re all excited about the anniversary, the history, the hard work and the devotion people had to the Manor,” agreed Mr. Coleman. “It’s part of the heart and soul of Glengarry.”
They were followed by guest speakers Allan MacDonald and Joan Siwik. “What the people of Maxville and district achieved in 1968 is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when a community has leadership, social cohesion and a determination to do great things,” said Mr. MacDonald, Glengarry County Archivist.
One of the original pioneers of the Manor, Ms. Siwik recalled the early days of the organization and the work needed to garner the support of the community. “I started working at the Maxville Manor in 1968,” said Ms. Siwik. “My mother told me that I had to go out and tell everybody to support the manor because some day we might need it.” From there, Ms. Siwik went on to pursue a busy career as a nurse and lectured at St. Lawrence College where she often took students to the Manor for placements. Later she worked as a general duty nurse at the Manor and went on to tell of some of her favourite experiences working with special care residents and tales of working the night shifts. In the late 1980s, Ms. Siwik decided to turn to politics becoming a council member for the former Kenyon Township during which time she represented the township on the board of the Maxville Manor before becoming the first Chair of the Maxville Manor Foundation in 2000. “It’s a community within a community,” said Ms. Siwik. “The community was very active and sponsored the Manor, all the different groups in the community have continued to sponsor and support the Manor, but a lot of the staff were also members of the community.”
Guests heard tales of snowstorms and great drifts making the roads impassable during the 1970s and how community members volunteered to drive out to staff members’ houses on their snowmobiles and transport them to work. Ms. Siwik also recalled the Great Ice Storm of ’98 where the Manor managed to stay open thanks to countless volunteers who helped care for the residents as well as how the Manor housed more than 50 members of the community who were in need of shelter.
“We were feeding each other,” Ms. Siwik explained.
The event closed with the presentation of a video walking guests down memory lane and a silent auction which raised more than $4,000. Auction items were donated by local businesses, members of the community and families of Manor residents past and present. The most popular item was a pair of tickets to watch the Leafs play Philadelphia, which was auctioned off for a whopping $900.
HIGHLIGHTS: Above: Joan and Len Siwik. Photo right: Ivan Coleman, Chair of the Board of Directors, Kellie Pickett, Chair of the Foundation Board, Bernard Bouchard, CEO. Below: James Morris.