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Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Employees at the Wilkinson Residential Healthcare Facility pose in their luau garb during the pig roast barbecue Tuesday. Shown from left are Bonnie Bush, Meredith Hayner, and Elissa Brown.

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Pork roast with a side of laughs: Wilkinson residents gather for facility-wide barbecue

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - Updated: 10:15 AM

By NICOLE ANTONUCCI

nicole.antonucci@recordernews.com

TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- A few rain showers did not stop the 160 residents of the Wilkinson Residential Healthcare Facility and their families from venturing outside for a pig roast and barbecue in the parking lot at St. Mary's Memorial Campus on Route 30 Tuesday.

Wilkinson resident Rose Kowalksi, of Amsterdam, ignored the rain as she sat under the large tent with her friends, talking and waiting for the large pig to finish cooking in the pit.

"It doesn't matter that it's raining because I am out," she said. "This is the first daytime picnic that we have had in a while."

Wilkinson Administrator Michael McCoy said the facility hosts individual picnics for each of the three floors in the building. This year, however, they decided to bring all the residents together for one barbecue.

"They get to see each other at bingo, but during major holidays and events such as this, they usually stay with their unit," McCoy said. "This is a chance for everyone to see each other and mingle."

McCoy visited with some of the residents, chatting with some and joking with others, including resident Kathleen Glamm, who to McCoy's dismay, sat wearing a New York Yankees hat.

"She is a die hard Boston Red Sox fan just like me," McCoy said. "I am broken hearted."

Glamm just shook her head and waved him away.

"He just likes to go on and on," she said, laughing before disclosing her secret when he wasn't around. "I wore the hat on purpose as a joke with my friend."

Resident Joan Crane, who sat beside Glamm, laughed at the jokes being told around her and bobbed her head to the music.

Crane said she had been outside since 10 a.m. for the morning bingo event, and proudly showed off the new scarf she had won.

"I am having a good time," she said. "To get the whole place out here together is great. We all mingle and have fun."

Crane pointed to Glamm and mentioned that they had known each other for awhile. The two shared stories about growing up in Amsterdam and living a few blocks away from each other.

"I went to school with her brothers," Glamm said.

More than 100 guests showed up for the pork roast, many of them family members of the residents, and they had their own stories to tell.

Denise Coco, of Gloversville, attended to visit her mother, who looks forward to the events.

"She enjoys every activity they have, including happy hour on Friday nights," Coco said laughing "They can't remember what they have for breakfast, but they make sure to remember happy hour."

Hospital spokeswoman Jerri Cortese said happy hour is held every Friday night at the facility.

"It's a lot of fun," she said, adding that Wilkinson tries to do things that make the residents feel at home. "This is their home. It's where they live. So we try to do different things."

Acting Administrator Lori Tombasco called the day a success with more than 400 people attending the event.

"It's the one day out of the year where we can get everyone outside," she said.

The event featured live musical entertainment by Raphel Parelta and Sal Cannavo. The barbecue included pork, hamburgers, hot-dogs, corn on the cob, baked beans and brownies a la mode for dessert.

     

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