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Church treats Lakewood Senior Living to tea party

VALLEY — The 15 residents of Unit 2 at Lakewood Senior Living had a wonderful time Thursday afternoon. Members of the Fairfax Methodist Church treated them to a tea party complete with sweet tea and a variety of tea cakes. When the Fairfax group comes by on Thursdays, the residents know they will have a fun time singing songs from way back when.

“We appreciate this so much,” said Tameka “Coco” Johnson, activities director. “It really lifts their spirits. They enjoy the praise service and look forward to it every week. We like to give them gift bags, thanking them for coming here.”

“This is a wonderful thing they are doing,” said Gary Freeman, the administrator. “It enhances the lives of our residents, and we appreciate it.”

The group from the Methodist church also visits with residents in Unit 1, Lakewood’s specialty care unit. Some of the residents there don’t sing as well as they once did, but they are very much in the spirit of what’s going on. They listen to the music and smile as the group sings.

The church pastor, Rev. Paul Messer, joins them for most Thursday sessions and opens with prayer. Lakewood resident Jane Fields collects church bulletins. She’s got a lot of them, and they have helped her in planning devotionals for fellow residents.

One Lakewood couple, Calvin and Demetra Presler, enjoyed both the tea party and the company of their daughter, former Valley High French teacher Debra Clark.

The Pressers recently relocated to the Valley from their home in Rockingham, North Carolina. Mr. Presler worked for the railroad and Mrs. Presler worked for the Rockingham race track.

She says she didn’t know that much about NASCAR racing but that well-known drivers like Richard Petty and Cale Yarbrough really liked her.

“They loved me,” she laughed. “I was the one at the track who gave them their paychecks.”

For those who take the time to visit assisted living facilities, the residents there can tell you some great stories when you sit down and talk to them.

Long-time Fairfax Methodist member Danny Berry started a Lakewood tradition when he came to play the piano and sing for his seniors. It was during the period when his mother was living there. Carolyn Dean now plays the piano and Berry leads the singing.

“We do this every Thursday morning,” said Dayle Cook. “We come, visit with them and sing for an hour. Everyone has a great time. We all have fun when we sing.”