Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient prepares for life at Arbour Trails
Pick any one of the Schlegel Villages and you’ll find a community of people who collectively represent a massive store of wisdom and experience; people who’ve helped build nations, one community at a time.
As marketing co-ordinator Phil Aubin looks forward to the opening of the Village of Arbour Trails, this collective wisdom is an aspect of village life he says will be most exciting.
Earlier in September, for example, he met with Gladys and Bob Sheard, one of the couples who will call the new village in Guelph home when it opens next year.
Gladys had just received prestigious recognition for nearly 30 years of dedication to stroke survivors with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, given to Canadians who’ve demonstrated outstanding work in the betterment of their communities.
In speaking with her about the award and her work, Phil was inspired. He thought all the people already living at the Village by the Arboretum — the existing community of seniors’ residences where Arbour Trails is being built — and all they’ve given throughout their long lives.
Gladys is modest when she speaks about her work organizing support for stroke recovery, which she began almost immediately after surviving a stroke in 1985. She found limited options available for stroke survivors after hospital stays and rehabilitation and worked to change this reality.
“I thought, well, I’m not the only one in Guelph who’s had a stroke, so I’m going to find them,” she says. The first people she found were visiting day programs for people who have intellectual and physical disabilities.
“They were trying to do crafts with them, and that isn’t what they needed.”
What they needed was to talk about their recovery and how their lives had changed dramatically because of their stroke.
So she founded the Guelph-Wellington chapter of Stroke Recovery Canada, and for nearly 30 years stroke survivors have been helped through the connections they have to each other through the group.
She says other people are more deserving of the Queen’s medal than she is, but the fact is she spearheaded a drive to help struggling people and their caregivers find solace in their community.
Phil says Gladys is as deserving as they come, and he’ll be honoured to welcome her and her husband into their new home when the time comes.
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