CREATING LASTING BONDS
My story begins ten years ago but, because of the beginning, there won’t be an ending. As a Board Member of the Yorba Linda-Placentia YMCA, I was fortunate enough to become a senior fitness instructor of a newly formed class. Thanks to Placentia Linda Hospital’s sponsorship and offering a room to hold the class, a small group gathered together on November 10, 2004, in hopes of maintaining flexibility and good health by exercising. Through excellent marketing on behalf of the hospital, the class soon outgrew the room and we moved to the Placentia United Methodist Church, thanks to the recommendation of another YMCA and Church Board Member, Tom Schofield.
Our oldest member was a man nicknamed “Ace” who joined around nine years ago. All the class members have formed relationships of one kind or another but two ladies have taken their friendship with Ace to a new level. At the age of 96, Ace was no longer physically able to attend classes and also moved to an assisted living home. Best friends, Linda and Lynn, started weekly visits to keep in touch with their friend. For the last three years, thanks to Linda and Lynn, Ace is able to maintain a relationship with the whole class through updates. He is still invited to attend celebrations and classmates attended his 98th birthday lunch this past February. Linda fell last year and had surgery and Lynn has battled multiple sclerosis for over ten years but somehow, someway arrangements were always made for one of them to visit Ace. He counts on it and, in more ways than one, Linda and Lynn count on it, too. Thanks to the brilliant idea of the YMCA Executive Director, Clare McKenna, about offering seniors a chance to be fit , over 50 of them have created bonds that will last forever. Three of them are an inspiration to me and, for that, I will be forever thankful.
Louise Hernandez, Nominated by Kim Leibert
YORBA LINDA/PLACENTIA Family YMCA