The annual Christmas party at Winona Manor is only a few weeks away, and residents say they’re looking forward to it.
This year the party, sponsored by the Carroll/Montgomery area communities, will take place De-cember 7 at 1 p.m. As always, there will be holiday refreshments, a program of music and telling of the Christmas story, a visit from Santa, and a special gift, tailored to each of the 110 resident’s desires and needs.
“We started promoting it to the residents in September,” said Hazel Knight, activities director. “We look forward to this special time here at the Manor.”
Each resident has a story of his or her life before coming to Winona Manor, and some are now without any family to visit or bring Christmas gifts. Since 1984, people around Carroll and Montgomery Counties have made sure that no one does without, and that there is a bit of holiday cheer for all who live in the nursing home.
Resident Reverend Frank Small Jr., 98, who preached in the Kilmichael and Winona area for many years, said the Christmas party is a nice time for everyone at the Manor.
“I enjoy the party very much.”
Small’s wife, to whom he was married 71 years, passed away last year. “We were never separated, not one day. She loved being a pastor’s wife” he said.
Small tells a story of how he saved his wife’s life once by applying pressure and ice to a head wound to stop the bleeding until the paramedics arrived. “She had a fall in our kitchen,” he said.
The Smalls did not have any children, but had 28 who lived with them at different times through the years, he said. He has a large extended family, and has a few who visit regularly. “Some of them do, some don’t. A niece washes my clothes for me.”
Small was also a member of the 93rd Infantry division of the U.S. Army in World War II. Terrible memories of that time still bring emotions to the surface, and he begins to cry and tremble at the thought of what happened to those around him. “Some I can talk about, some I can’t,” he said.
Norma Wilcutt, 66, who has a ready smile for everyone, has been a resident at the Manor for four years. Her mother, who is 85 and lives near the nursing home, comes to visit each day. “My sisters come during the week,” she said. Wilcutt feels she is blessed to have family who visit often. “A lot of people don’t have family,” she said.
Wilcutt said she was a preacher’s daughter. She never married. She greatly enjoys visits from friends and relatives. Her favorite things at the Manor are Sunday School, taught by local church members, and Bible Trivia.
“I really enjoy the Christmas party,” Wilcutt said.
A steering committee of volunteers coordinates the party each year, and welcomes participation and donations from the community. Each resident receives a gift worth $50, and various mem-bers of the community donate cakes and other refreshments. Some assist in handing out presents. If a resident cannot come to the dining room, he or she has a special delivery, usually by Santa, to his/her room.
Each year the committee desires to involve more people who haven’t previously participated in the program. This year, the WMCSD High School Choir will perform, and the Reverend Gary Roberson, pastor of Carrollton Baptist Church, will give a devotional. Other area friends of Winona Manor will contribute to various aspects of the program. The residents will have a time to sing favorite Christmas carols.
Anyone wanting to help with greeting or serving can call Carolyn Moore at 417-3264. Latia Butts is in charge of gift purchases. If someone wants to help, they may call her at 310-0618. Dot Woods is arranging the program, and can be reached at 230-0819. David Putman is gathering to-gether refreshments, and can be contacted at 299-5075.
Donations for the party can be made at the Bank of Winona, where a special fund is set up and distributed by the steering committee each year as needed. Any monies left over are saved in the account for future parties, according to Priss Ferguson, treasurer for the committee. Donations can also be mailed to: Winona Manor Christmas Party; P.O. Box 61 38967.