M’CHIGEENG—Robert Beaudin thought he was being pranked when he got the call from the Wikwemikong Nursing Home telling him that he had won the grand prize in the long term care facility’s annual resident fundraising raffle. That prize was a 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 ST 4 X 4 with extended cab, but another surprise was coming down the road when his partner won a $2,000 weekly draw prize in the Little Current Lions Catch the Ace lottery.
“I originally thought it was a joke,” admitted Mr. Beaudin. “We were on our way between Espanola and Sudbury when they called.”
Mr. Beaudin and his partner may have stumbled upon their own little secret strategy for winning entries. “I didn’t even actually buy the ticket,” he said. “She (Deanna Sampson, Mr. Beaudin’s partner) wrote my name down on the ticket. I knew it was for the nursing home, which is a great cause, I get a ticket every year.” Mr. Beaudin returned the favour when it came to the Little Current Lions Club Catch the Ace draw, writing Ms. Sampson’s name down on the ticket.
So what is the plan with the $2,000 from the Catch the Ace? “Putting gas in the new truck?” suggested Mr. Beaudin with a laugh.
“Seriously though, I was absolutely over the top when I realized it was for real and I had won the truck,” he said. “I have never won anything of any significance before and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. I was looking at buying a new vehicle that week.”
Wikwemikong Nursing Home Administrator Cheryl Osawabine-Peltier noted that the nursing home and its residents were pretty happy too. “The draw went really well.”
Wikwemikong Nursing Home finance officer Tara Dowdall confirmed that the raffle had sold 2,969 $25 tickets.
“It was Darlene Wemigwans and Emily Barnes who approached Manitoulin Chrysler about doing the truck draw,” said Ms. Osawabine-Peltier. “We thought it was a pretty good idea and so did they.”
In fact Manitoulin Chrysler were delighted to be a part of the raffle project and, given its success, plans are in the offing to do it again next year.
A residents’ council makes the decision on how funds raised from the annual draw are spent, noted Ms. Osawabine-Peltier. “This year they are using the funds to increase the number of outings that the residents are able to go on,” she said. Those outings may be to Espanola or the Slots in Sudbury, going out for lunch somewhere or simply a tour around the community. “They normally are able to go out once a week, now they can go twice a week. It really adds to the quality of life to be able to get around more. It opens up so much,” she said.
Past projects the residents have initiated include a new pool table (“the guys really like playing pool,” noted Ms. Osawabine-Peltier), a foosball table, and last year the raffle was specifically directed by the residents towards new bedside tables for the residents.
The Wikwemikong Nursing Home has a number of other initiatives underway for the benefit of the residents. “Dr. Poenn’s son Jonathan is coming in to set up a music program,” said Ms. Osawabine-Peltier. “He can do groups and one-on-one, so it is really good.”
The nursing home is also looking into iPods and creating individual playlists for the residents. Music has proven to be remarkably effective in dealing with a number of age-related issues. “We are so excited to get this up and running,” said Ms. Osawabine-Peltier.
The nursing home is also in the early stages of finding new digs. “We are in the feasibility stage right now on the new building,” she said.
Wiikwemkoong’s favourite songbird, Crystal Shawanda, will also be stopping in today (Wednesday, September 27) from 2 pm to 4:30 pm to entertain the residents. “It is open to the community,” said Ms. Osawabine-Peltier. “It is always nice to have visitors.”