Gift giving, generosity, and kindness are all at the forefront of our minds during the holiday season. This story epitomizes the spirit of the holidays.
Ricky Grant, a resident at Clay County Care Center in Hayesville, NC, is passionate about college football and is a huge fan of the Georgia Bulldogs. Ricky had never been able to attend a live Bulldogs game. That’s where Scott Alexander, executive director of Clay County stepped in behind-the-scenes to prepare the surprise of a lifetime.
One day, all of the staff at Clay County wore red to work in preparation of a big reveal to Ricky. In front of all of Ricky’s family, the Clay County staff, and residents, Scott presented tickets for Ricky and himself to attend an upcoming Georgia Bulldogs football game at Sanford Stadium, in Athens, Georgia. Ricky’s family brought him Georgia clothing to wear to the game, a cake, and a homemade Georgia wreath to help celebrate the big upcoming game. We asked Ricky how he felt during the big reveal, and he said, “Oh man, I was excited, and very emotional. I had never been to a Georgia game.”
A couple of weeks later, the two men went to the game, along with the director of rehabilitation from another Consulate Health Care center. The day couldn’t have been better, and the Bulldogs beat Missouri 53-28! Ricky was beyond grateful to all of the people who helped make his lifelong dream come true. Scott mentioned that he will get stopped at the grocery store by people who heard about the football outing.
Scott said the idea for the game came to him last summer, when an Eagle Scout had built a multi-surface walking trail outside the care center. Ricky had been working hard on the outdoor trail to improve his mobility. No one knew it at the time, but Ricky would need to use that new mobility to get around the stadium at Georgia!
Scott’s enthusiasm for the residents and the activities at Clay County is infectious. “We are a family (at Clay County). Everybody treats each other as a family member. We show respect, dignity, and trust. And we do the right thing the first time,” says Scott. Scott would know, as he has been working in long-term care for 30 years.
Scott likes to give credit to his activities director for all the new, dynamic programming at Clay County. He said it is common for there to be eight outings a week for the residents. Clay County has earned grants that enable them to purchase new technology for the residents to use.
Because of the success of Ricky’s outing, Scott and the other staff at Clay County want to interview all of the residents to answer the question, “What would you like to do that you have never gotten to do before?” Scott is hoping to make a difference in every resident’s life, and we have no doubt that he will accomplish that goal!