Friends and colleagues celebrate Linda Kenny’s retirement during a surprise parade on April 18, 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

VIDEO: Port Alberni nurse surprised by retirement parade

Linda Kenny’s friends and colleagues took to the streets during COVID-19 to celebrate her retirement

SONJA DRINKWATER

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Port Alberni’s Linda Kenny has been in nursing for 47 years and has loved every minute of it.

Linda had the shock of her life on the evening of Saturday, April 18 when ambulances and fire trucks drove past her home with sirens blaring. Jackie Tooke, a former co-worker, had organized for the emergency workers to detour past her home after their regular Saturday run by the hospital to celebrate Linda’s retirement. Co-workers didn’t need any prompting to jump on board and join the parade with banners, posters and gifts, all while keeping safe with social distancing.

Linda cried tears of joy and disbelief, while her husband Scott videoed the event and daughter Kerri photographed it on her cell phone.

Linda was born in Edmonton to Marian and the late Rod McDonagh and is one of five children. She graduated from high school in 1971 and went straight into the University of Alberta hospital school of nursing.

“I went in for the three-year program and was 17 years old, and graduated when I was almost 20,” said Linda. “I was told that to date I was the youngest to graduate as an RN. After grad, I went to work in my school of learning in neurosurgery and the ICU for 16 years.”

So why nursing?

“In the ’70s there weren’t many choices for women and so I decided of the few choices, nursing interested me the most, and I have never regretted it,” Linda said. “I have gone to work every day enjoying my work, my clients and my co-workers. I am going to miss them now that I have retired.”

Linda married Scott in 1985. He worked for the parks and recreation department in Edmonton, and in 1989 he took a job in Port Alberni. He is also retired.

In 1991, Linda went casual and was a stay-at-home mom for seven years for her three daughters (Nicole, Michelle and Kerri).

Linda took a refresher course and got a job in the medical surgery ward at West Coast General Hospital. When the new hospital was built, she moved with it. She applied for community care in 2005.

Of Linda’s three children, Nicole (husband Mike Fraser of Christina Lake) has two girls (Brenna and Eva). Michelle (husband Marc Cripwell of Chilliwack) has one daughter (Aranae) and another baby due in August. Kerri has one daughter (Sloane).

“Right now I am enjoying reading, walking and hopefully travelling and Skyping with the children,” said Kenny.

She gave a huge thank you to the EMTs and co-workers for their great send-off, as well as a thank you to all of her clients.

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Friends and colleagues celebrate Linda Kenny’s retirement during a surprise parade on April 18, 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Linda Kenny is shocked by the parade organized for her retirement. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Linda Kenny reacts to the parade organized for her retirement, while daughter Kerri photographs the event. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Friends and colleagues celebrate Linda Kenny’s retirement during a surprise parade on April 18, 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Linda Kenny reacts to the parade organized for her retirement, while daughter Kerri photographs the event and husband Scott takes video. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Retired nurse Linda Kenny stands beside her husband, Scott. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

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