I began my journey at Arbutus in July, 2015. One of the first individuals that I had a pleasure of meeting was a former resident, Vaughn Courter. He made a lasting impression on me and for a brief period of time in which our lives intersected he was my friend.
Our first meeting was not a chance encounter. Vaughn frequently roamed the halls socializing and humming tunes to himself. One of his frequent stops was at the door leading to my office and that tradition continued until his condition deteriorated to the point that he was unable to.
I looked forward to his frequent visits. He referred to me as Rick’s secretary. I didn’t mind the title and in jest I referred to him as Rick’s second in command. He would share stories with me about his life outside of the walls of Arbutus. He talked about his time in the military and the horses that he owned back in Texas.
One my favorite memories of Vaughn was during our Home for the Holidays celebration in December, 2015. For those of you who may not be aware of what that event is I highly encourage you to join in the festivities in 2017. In a nutshell, it allows us to bring the Christmas experience to our residents in our community.
Arrangements were made during that year’s festivities for people to take horse and carriage rides around the perimeter of the manor. Vaughn was not well enough to take a ride but luckily the weather cooperated enough that a nurse was able to wheel him outside so that he could visit with the horses. There he stood just a couple feet away from the beautiful creatures that he loved and spoke so vividly about and he had the most peaceful smile on his face. I could not have been happier for him in that moment.
That was the last Home for the Holidays event that Vaughn would be able to attend as he passed in January, 2016 shortly after his 81st birthday. I can’t help but imagine that he is somewhere in green pastures with his horses smiling down on earth. -ck
Contributor: Chad Kamler is the Assistant Administrator