A bittersweet send off after 40 years of service

Jaime-Lynn Kalmikov, Manitoulin Lodge administrator, right, presents Debbie Wright with gifts at her retirement party in Gore Bay.

GORE BAY – Colleagues, family and friends all participated in wishing Debbie Wright a very happy retirement as an employee with the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay.

“This is a bittersweet day for Deb and us all, the Manitoulin Lodge and Jarlette Health Services,” Judy Maltais, director of people, engagement and culture for Jarlette Health Services told The Expositor. “Deb has definitely left her footprint on the Lodge and everyone who works and lives here, and she will always have a spot in all of our hearts,” said Ms. Maltais. “She has definitely made a significant difference in the lives of residents, staff and family.” 

Several presentations and gifts were presented to Ms. Wright in the morning, along with best wishes, video calls from administration of the Lodge, the Jarlette family and others, prior to a drive by parade with at least 25 vehicles full of friends, family, present and former colleagues honking horns, waving and wishing Ms. Wright the best on her retirement.

One of those wishing Ms. Wright happy retirement was Jaime Kalmikov, administrator of the Lodge. “Thank you everyone for joining us this morning to celebrate Debbie!”

“For those of you that don’t know, Debbie has worked at Manitoulin Lodge for the last past 43 years,” said Ms. Kalmikov. “I am not alone when I say you have been the go-to person in this building for every and all issues that arise on a daily basis.”

“You have set a high standard of care for our residents and I know over the last 43 years you have continuously added value and made a positive impact on our staff, residents and community,” continued Ms. Kalmikov. “You truly are the most engaged, dedicated employee I have worked with; your guidance and encouragement has helped me personally and I am sure so many other employees thrive in our home.” 

Well-wishers participated in a parade to celebrate Ms. Wright’s retirement.

   “We are all going to miss you like crazy,” stated Ms. Kalmikov. “Morning report on Monday will not be the same without you,” she continued, adding, “we wish you all the best, and truly hope you enjoy every moment of retirement. Living the lake life.”

Sue Farren, director of resident care told The Expositor, “Debbie is going to be sorely missed at the Lodge. She is a very hard worker and she is leaving big shoes to fill. She is a high-energy person who gets things done quickly.”

“Debbie is a role model and has been sort of like a mother for staff, and she has supported each and every staff member that she has worked with,” continued Ms. Farren. “And when someone has been with an organization as long as Debbie has, it is hard for them to leave, and hard to fill their shoes.” 

A barbecue lunch was held for everyone on hand.

“I am truly overwhelmed by everything,”  said Ms. Wright. “Absolutely everything, from the car parade, video calls from administration, administration at other nursing homes, and from David Jarlette and the Jarlette family. It has been incredible.”

As was reported in a recent edition of The Expositor, Ms. Wright has seen and been a part of just about everything involving the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay, having been employed there for the past 43 years. 

The Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home opened in May 1977 and Ms. Wright began her career as a nurse at the Lodge in October 1978. She started as a registered practical nurse. During her career, always at Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home she was a restorative care and volunteer services coordinator, administrator for five and a half years, staff education coordinator, and most currently, as co-director of care.