When Ivy Deakin passed away in 2018 after spending the last two years of her life at Echo Village, the Deakin family started looking for the best way to say thank you to the staff at the Port Alberni seniors’ home. Last week they found it.
One of Ivy’s sons, Pat Deakin, also the economic development manager for the City of Port Alberni, has been working with local entrepreneur Kevin Wright to produce face shields for health-care workers in the Alberni Valley. Wright owns several three-dimensional (3-D) printers and has switched over from making keychains, signs and other objects.
The Deakins have paid for 200 face shields to be distributed among staff at Fir Park Village and Echo Village seniors’ long-term care homes.
“We really appreciated what the staff there did for her,” Pat Deakin said.
“We’ve been looking for a good way of saying thanks. We’ve had conversations about a piece of equipment or a bench or bursary. This presented a great opportunity to say thanks.”
The Deakin family paid for the cost of materials for the 200 face shields, made a contribution toward Wright’s time and also contributed to the amortization of the printers’ cost (the City of Port Alberni purchased 10 more printers to help Wright meet demand).
“It finally gives us the opportunity to say thanks in a really meaningful way,” he said.
There was also some familial synchronicity in the decision: Ivy Deakin was good friends with Bertha Castelyns, who still lives at Echo Village. Castelyns’ daughter is Toosha Houle, and Toosha’s husband Denis is helping produce the face shields.
“It’s all exciting when it all comes together,” said Toosha.
The donation of face shields is a welcome gift, says Joe McQuaid, executive director of the Alberni-Clayoquot Continuing Care Society. McQuaid oversees both Fir Park Village and Echo Village.
“Part of the challenge in the coming months is going to be on PPEs, making sure we have enough,” he said. “This is not an easy thing to fight.”
Community donations will go a long way to helping healthcare workers in long-term care facilities keep their clients safe, he added.
“That sort of generosity that’s playing out, we’re fortunate the community is so thoughtful and benevolent. It’s that type of community effort that’s going to get us through this.”