The Easter bunny arrived at the Veterans Home of California-Barstow last Sunday. So did the Easter bear. The Easter bear?
Hey, tough times require a bit of innovation and some adjustment, right?
Veteran and resident Michael Kennedy accomplished both when he brought more than 200 of these stuffed critters into the Home to lift the spirits of the residents and staff in time for Easter Sunday.
The toy bears were an adjustment. Even Walmart stocks only so many stuffed bunnies. And, his innovation carried a COVID-19 theme: Each stuffed animal wore a Band-Aid over its nose to represent the masks everyone in the home wears for protection against the virus.
Until further notice, COVID-19 restrictions prohibit family and friends from visiting the Homes for the safety of all. They can communicate by video chats, phone calls, emails, and regular mail, but not in person.
So Kennedy asked not what the staff could do for him; instead, he did what he could for them.
“I wanted to make sure everybody had something for Easter,” the 68-year-old Air Force veteran said. “They can’t have their families over or anything.”
He distributed them to the Home’s skilled nursing facility’s patients and nurses, then to others.
Kindness is simply part of Kennedy’s personal fabric. Last year, on Mother’s Day, and again in February on Valentine’s Day, he bought 250 long-stemmed roses. He handed them out to the women staff and residents, and to visitors who came to the home in the days before COVID-19 restrictions.
“Mr. Kennedy appreciates all the things that the staff are doing for the Veterans,” said Larry Pangilinan, the Barstow Home’s acting administrator. “As a token of his appreciation, he would buy red roses during Valentine’s Day and give it to the staff. He would also buy pizzas and shares it with staff and other residents. Furthermore, he donated two big aquariums and books to the library. He takes pride on what he does for the Home and his fellow Veterans. Mr. Kennedy is a good-hearted man.”
And resourceful, too. He managed to bring in more than 200 stuffed Easter bunnies and bears to hand out to staff and residents at a veterans’ home in the middle of the Mojave Desert, and during a pandemic.
That takes some innovation and adjustment.