“Oma was always so generous, loving and caring,” writes Jack Pompili about his grandmother, Johanna of Taunton Mills. “She used to comfort me when I felt bad or was upset, now I hold her hand and comfort her if she is upset when I visit.”
Another grandchild, Autumn, says quite simply that “my life would not be as bright and fun as it is today without my grandparents.”
In the weeks leading up to Grandparent's Day on Sept. 8, Schlegel Villages ran its second annual Grandest Gran contest seeking submissions from residents and loved ones explaining why theirs is the ‘Grandest’ grandparent. The submissions came from all over representing both family members whose loved ones call a Village home and team members whose relationship with their grandparents was in one way or another an inspiration for a career in service to others. In many ways, the love and reverence shown by so many people are reminders of the importance of connecting the generations in society. The invaluable role that grandparents and older mentors play in the lives of so many was the highlight of this year’s quest for the grandest.
Particularly touching were two submissions offered by team members: Glendale Crossing’s Angela Dunn and Nicole Gatto of Wentworth Heights. Nicole’s ‘Dedda’ was there for her during one of the most important moments of her life when he walked her down the aisle at her wedding this summer. Nicole’s father was lost to cancer five years before, and of all the thoughts racing through a grieving mind at the time she thought, ‘who will walk me down the aisle on my wedding day?’
Five years later, despite a few mobility challenges, Dedda was there for Nicole, and his presence that beautiful day is something she’ll never forget.
“When he gave my hand in marriage to Cristiano we had a beautiful moment, the three of us, in front of the aisle where he shared some advice about marriage and blessed us both,” she recalls. “It is a memory I will cherish forever.”
Angela says her grandparents were also at her side during every important milestone in her life, including her wedding, which was held in their back yard. She has fond memories of picking strawberries with her Papa and making pies and pickled beets with Nana.
“Without the strong presence of them throughout my childhood, there is no way I would have become the person I am today,” Angela says. “There is no amount of words that could explain how important they are to me.”
Out of all the submissions received, one was randomly chosen "contest winner", and we're pleased to announce that Marisol was chosen for her submission about her ‘Grumpa’ Richard of Arbour Trails. They will be treated to lunch and an opportunity to have their story featured in The Village Voice.
Thank you so much to all the people who took part in this year’s celebration of grandparents and mentors; our hearts are all the more full because of it. Click here to see all the wonderful submissions.