Friday, July 27 was a very special day for Haven patient Elaine Farmer-Wingrove. It was the day she celebrated her 70th birthday, and several visitors from Haven were on hand to help her mark the occasion.
In addition to spending time with Farmer-Wingrove, Haven also delivered a cake, candy, a blanket and balloons to help her celebrate her special day. “It meant everything to me. I would not have had a birthday otherwise,” said Farmer-Wingrove of her birthday party. “My son and grandson live about an hour and a half away, and I have never really had that big a family so I don’t know what big celebrations are.”
The fun did not end with her birthday party, she was also treated to a haircut courtesy of Haven volunteer Mary Jane Deas. “It was great to get my haircut. That was something I have needed to do for some time now,” said Farmer-Wingrove, a former nurse from Mount Clemens, Michigan who has lived in Archer for over 30 years. “I just appreciate Haven to no end. They spent a good hour and a half with me and I just couldn’t have had it any better.”
Deas has been volunteering with Haven for over 12 years in different capacities including as a patient caregiver. However, her role providing haircuts to our patients and sometimes their caregivers may be the one she excels at the most. “I was a hairdresser for about 40 years until I retired in 2012,” said Deas, a Fanning Springs resident for over 55 years. “I really enjoy giving the patients, and sometimes caregivers, haircuts. It is such a joy to be able to spend time with them. I’ve recently started spending most of my time volunteering with the patients that do not have too many family members around to come visit with them.”
While she works primarily with Chiefland patients, Deas is extremely flexible and willing to meet the needs of our patients outside of the Tri-Counties. “She travels to patient homes, nursing facilities and in Haven’s care centers,” said Haven Chiefland Volunteer Coordinator Vondla Sullivan. “Even though she is retired, she still maintains her licenses in order to provide this service to Haven’s patients and caregivers and of course there is no charge for the haircuts.”
She joined Haven as a volunteer after a personal experience with the organization. “Haven took care of my mother toward the end of her life and I decided that after my mom received such great care that I wanted to start volunteering there,” said Deas. “When I first started I didn’t think that I would be able to sit at the bedside of a patient who is actively dying, but over time I have been able to do that and other things that I thought were outside my comfort zone.”
While she has certainly brought joy to many over her years volunteering with Haven, Deas is quick to point out that it is not only a one-way street. “Spending time with Elaine for her birthday really cheered us all up. She was so upbeat, she had done her makeup and she was beautiful,” said Deas. “Miss Elaine is just a joy to be around and I want to stay in contact with her. We just had a great time, and I am hoping that I will be able to visit with her as often as I can.”