Walmart greeters have nothing on these guys. You’ll likely spot either John Laverty, Dale Roberts, Clarence Davis or Dwight Poole as soon as you step through the door at The Meadows – a seniors’ home for special care on Pleasant Street in Yarmouth.
Dale Roberts holds the swipe card used to exit the Meadows seniors’ residence in Yarmouth as John Laverty, Dwight Poole and Clarence Davis back him up. The residents are the unofficial “greeters” at the senior’s facility, helping to brighten the days of visitors and other residents. Carla Allen photo
Scooting around in their wheelchairs or scooters, they’ve taken it upon themselves to help and spread good cheer on a daily basis.
John Laverty, 91, a veteran of the Second World War, speaks with a heavy Scottish brogue. Wed at 27, he lost his wife to tuberculosis after 10 years and was left with three daughters. He never married again. Every morning after his 6 a.m. breakfast Laverty scoots around to each of the nine houses connected to the core of the Meadows, “waking them up.”
“I just say ‘Good morning everybody!’ Some of them smile and some of them don’t. I try and keep ‘em smiling,” he says.
Dale Roberts, who used to be the “best mechanic at Motor Mart,” and Dwight Poole, a former meat department manager at the Liverpool Sobeys, cannot speak but they still manage to communicate helpfulness, says recreation manager Lynn LeBlanc.
“People don’t know how to get out. They go to the door waiting for it to open but you have to swipe a card. Sometimes Dale has to come over and do that for them,” she says.
“And Dwight helps staff in the mornings. Some of our residents do puzzles out of the paper and we enlarge them. He’s our mailman for those. He helps with a lot of things.”
Clarence Davis says he worked for the government . . . no, not as a spy. He began in the early 1920s, “working at everything he didn’t enjoy . . . except when it came payday, then it was a different story.”
He confided later that he used to compile weather reports while on Seal Island and Sable Island. The Meadows had its official opening last year. Davis says the Meadows is “A-one, much more modern than the old Tidal View complex.”
Davis feels it is important to help people when they come in, because of their age. He’ll be 95 this year.
Because the Meadows is larger than the old facility it replaced – 98,000 square feet, compared to 37,000 – some residents and visitors need assistance to navigate their way around the complex.
“It’s really nice and makes people feel welcome when they’re greeted by these guys,” says LeBlanc.