Letters to the Editor

She won't forget them

When Mary Frawley cared for her father in a South Texas hospital last year she would take breaks and visit the elderly Mexican lady in the room next door. In spite of the language barrier, the lady so much enjoyed the attention that on the last day of the visit, she mustered what little English she knew and said to Frawley “please don’t forget me.”

Upon returning to Oak Harbor, Frawley, who is retired from corporate life and recently lost both of her parents, found a new mission: do something to help the elderly in an assisted living facility.

For seven months she has been visiting Harbor Tower Village in Oak Harbor once a week with one or two of her canine friends. Some of the residents have no one to visit them. “They really look forward to the regular visits and come alive when Ben (the Australian shepherd) or Willie (the Golden Doodle) walk through the door,” said Hazel Welliver from Harbor Tower Village. Even those more sedentary or withdrawn undergo amazing transformations. Ben also makes private room-to-room visits to selected residents in need of “puppy love.”

Having noticed that her father yearned for any type of activity away from his assisted living facility before he died, Frawley also organizes a monthly outing for Harbor Tower Village residents. Each month, she arranges for a local restaurant, cafe, B&B, or home to host an afternoon tea, coffee and light snacks for a group of 15. Transportation for the residents is provided by their facility and the restaurant, B&B or home provides the coffee, tea and snacks. Volunteers help serve and sometimes provide snacks.

In the corporate world, company projects are usually given a name. Frawley hasn’t named her outing project yet, but a likely candidate might be “Don’t Forget Me.”

Participants so far have been Soaring Eagle Lodge, Frasers Gourmet Hideaway, Angelos Caffe, Whidbey Suite by the Bay, The Bluff on Whidbey, all in Oak Harbor; and Anchorage Inn in Coupeville. The June outing will be at Applebee’s Restaurant in Oak Harbor.

Besides Frawley, other volunteers are RoseAnn Harrigstad and Motoko Dupalo. If you would like to volunteer or to host a monthly outing in your home, business or restaurant, contact Mary Frawley on her cell phone at 206-200-5851 or Hazel Welliver at 675-2569.

Al Ballou

Oak Harbo

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