Twenty-one volunteers were in attendance, which Johnson said,
with the exception of the dozens who take turns helping with Sunday
Communion represented the majority of the volunteers at the Manor.
The day began with welcoming comments and prayer by Johnson, then
moved on to a meal served by Johnson, Linda Bree, Marie Parr, Becky
Kleinman and Manor Administrator Mike Eads. Lunch consisted of
barbecue sandwich, coleslaw, pickle slices and potato chips, with a
decadent Red Velvet Pie served for dessert.
After the lunch, Johnson led the group in a fun game. She placed two
brown paper bags at each of the three guest tables, then read a
story about Mrs. Wright (right) and her daughter who had a great
adventure getting ready to visit St. Clara’s Manor. The key to the
game was the word 'right' and also the word 'left'. As Johnson read
the funny story, the person holding onto the bag was to pass it to
the left or right accordingly. As the story moved along, it was
funny to hear, but also, fun to hurriedly pass the bags left to
right to right to left. When some got confused the laughter at the
table would ensue. At the end of the game, the person holding the
bag won the prize inside.
After the game, Johnson talked about the gifts of the volunteers and
told a story about life in heaven and hell. She said, in hell there
was a table filled with all the wonderful foods anyone could ever
imagine, and that the guests of hell were welcome to any and all of
it. Each person was given a fork and told to dig in. The problem was
the fork was three foot long, and no matter how hard they worked
they could not get the food on the fork into their mouths. This
story had been relayed from a person in hell to a person in heaven.
The person in heaven said that the same table with all the glorious
food was there as well. And again, yes they could have all they
wanted to eat at any time, and yes they had the forks that were
three foot long, but they all still ate and ate very well because
instead of trying to feed themselves, they filled their forks and
fed each other.
Johnson commented that one of the Bible's most important verses
(paraphrased) is "what you have done for the least of these you have
done also for me.”
During the luncheon each year, one person is singled out to be
honored as a Volunteer of the Year. On Monday, Johnson named off the
volunteers she has named in her time as activity director, then
asked for a show of hands of others in the room who had been named
by previous activity directors. She verbally applauded each one of
She then began her introduction of the 2016 Volunteer of the Year
who was Ginger Shelton and her family. Though Ginger may be the
primary volunteer, she comes often with the help and support of her
family members who each month host birthday parties for the
residents. Johnson noted that the Shelton family has been doing the
monthly parties for the past six years.
Ginger Shelton is the wife of Pastor Glenn Shelton of Lincoln, and
she is also the daughter of the late Gladys Harrington. Gladys was a
resident of St. Clara’s and a member of the Centenarian Club for the
past three years. This year Gladys was unable to attend the
Centenarian luncheon held in February because of her quickly fading
health. She passed away not long after.
This week, the volunteer luncheon held a secondary purpose. Many of
the volunteers remembered Gladys to her daughter and each other and
noted that the two women possess many of the same traits from the
fact that they look very much alike to their sweet demeanor and
their great love for God, family, and life on the whole.
Before leaving for the day, Johnson asked to go around the room and
that the volunteers speak about what they do for the residents of
St. Clara’s. Many gave that information, and some took advantage of
the moment to expand on what the Manor, the residents, and the staff
mean to them.
Among those was Norma Kramer. She is the wife of Pastor Ken Kramer
of the St. John’s United Church of Christ. She explained that she
and her husband had come to Lincoln to minister to the church, and
had relocated her aunt to St. Clara’s Manor, a decision she found to
be the best possible one for her loved one and herself. She gave her
personal thanks to all the volunteers who help make her aunt's life
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Lyle Read spoke about what God has done for all of
the volunteers, for all Christians. He said God had pushed them all,
telling them they belonged here doing his work. He remembered that
his mother was a resident. He came and would sing for the residents
so that he could sing for her. He said that as his mother’s time
drew near, she challenged him saying that when she was gone, he was
not to stop his ministry to the residents. Read said that after she
passed away, he did bow out for about a month, then one day God
tapped on his shoulder and reminded him of his promise and brought
him back to the Manor. He said, “Sometimes we read the news in the
paper and wonder if there is a God anymore, but yes there is a God,
and he is right here.”
Read also noted that not only are the volunteers a blessing
to the residents but so are the staff such as Rebecca Johnson
and many others.
John Lindenbaum recounted that he comes to St. Clara’s to sing
and read scriptures. He recalled a time when he was told never
to stop singing. The person talking to him reminded him that God
gives us all gifts, and we are expected to use them for Him. He
was told, that he will keep his gift as long as he uses it, but
if he ever stops, God will take that talent away and give it to
someone else. He recalled that his father’s sister had
Alzheimer’s and could not speak, but when she was in a facility
when people would come and sing, it would often times unlock a
memory in his aunt, and she would begin to sing. He noted that
the gift of music was of great value to his aunt, and to
everyone who hears it.
Ben Vogel had spoken earlier, but after all the introductions
were over he spoke again, focusing on St. Clara’s Administrator
Mike Eads. He recalled a resident at St. Clara’s that was often
referred to as the “Princess.” He said one day he was visiting
the individual rooms and came into to see the Princess and
things were not good. Vogel said they had prayed for the
Princess and asked God to send someone to help her and had no
more than said the ‘Amen” when Mike Eads walked in the door, and
went to her side, sat with her and talked with her. Vogel said
he noted out loud to the others he was with that God had quickly
answered that prayer.
He also said there was a day when he came into the Manor, and he
saw Mike sitting at the nurses desk reading a resident file.
Vogel said he noted to himself that Mike Eads was a caring
administrator who cared enough about the residents to know their
history and understand their lives,
Vogel asked Eads about his history with St. Clara’s. Eads
explained that when he was sixteen he had gone to work at
Bartmann’s Nursing home in the dietary department. He later left
there and went to work for his father in construction. When he
was married, his wife a nurse, came to work for St. Clara’s.
Eads said he decided that he wanted to work here also and
started as a maintenance person. He said he stayed, and his role
with the nursing home continually grew from there.
Earlier in the day, Eads had talked with LDN about the beautiful
stained glass windows that are in the chapel as well as the one
upstairs in the community and dining room area. He said that he had
personally built all but two of the wooden frames that now preserve
the antique windows and keep them on display for everyone to enjoy.
He said it was one of the first duties he performed when he began
working in maintenance at the Manor.
Eads also took a moment to express his appreciation to all the
volunteers who make the lives of the residents better, and Johnson
thanked not only the volunteers but her staff; Linda and Becky, as
well as Marie Parr for all they do for her in her job as well as for
the residents. Gratitude was also expressed for all the other staff
at St. Clara’s who dedicate themselves to the care of the residents.
After a closing prayer, guests were invited to stay and visit if
they wished. As they left the chapel, each one in attendance was
given a gift of appreciation for the love they show daily to those
who need them.