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Residents give back

In an outdoor gathering on Friday, the residents of Lake Prince Woods retirement community thanked the staff for their service throughout the pandemic.

As news of the COVID-19 outbreak first made headlines earlier this year, data showed that senior citizens were most at risk of contracting the virus. This risk made retirement communities like Lake Prince Woods take many precautions by changing most of what they do.

A representative from each staff department was at the event, and residents spread out to keep a proper distance. Under the new Phase II restrictions, which began on Friday, 50 were allowed to gather and spread across the main entrance area.

“The residents really came together and worked as a group to put this together,” said Judy Raymond, the executive director at Lake Prince Woods.

John Sulfaro, the president of the resident association, spearheaded the donation. Even though it was not his idea, he helped make it a reality.

“The idea started as a simple gift card, and then it exploded,” said Sulfaro. “I only had to ask one time, and then I had to set a limit because the residents were giving too much.”

The residents and the staff did their parts to keep the virus out of Lake Prince Woods. The residents stayed inside and gave up some of their freedoms, too, to help stop the spread. Employees had to be careful even on their time off that they did not come in contact with the virus and bring it to work.

“Some days, it just felt like Russian roulette coming to work,” said Raymond. “We did everything we could to protect everyone, and we just kept praying. That is the only way we will get through this is to keep praying.”

Lake Prince Woods has had no COVID-19 cases, and according to Sulfaro, it was only because of the employees “doing their part to keep them safe.”

“We wanted to make sure we thanked all the employees, not just the visible ones,” said Sulfaro as he held a basket full of envelopes for each staff member. “We wanted to thank them for their continued services and sacrifices during this time.”

The employees and residents have a mutual love for each other and a good relationship. It was shown in their light-hearted attitudes and playful atmosphere as Sulfaro handed out the envelopes.

“The staff really rose to the occasion,” said Raymond. “You can tell that they really love what they do by how they went over and above in everything they did for our residents.”