Home Carroll County Sykesville Community Continues the Tradition of Love for Seniors in the Area

Sykesville Community Continues the Tradition of Love for Seniors in the Area

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Photo Credit: Alan Grasley | Left to Right Stephanie Martin, Franz Martin, Thom Partenope, Bobbi Partenope, Tami Dolinsky, Dani Dolinsky, Dave Dolinsky, Sue Eckert, Linda Grasley, and Teresa Kasper

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the shutdown may have brought isolation to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living centers but the spirit of love for neighbors never waned at St. Joseph Catholic Community. 

For over three decades, a group of Catholic women in the Sykesville area named the Sheen’s Colleens spearheaded an annual St. Valentine’s Day Flower Project to spread joy to facilities in the area courtesy of the parishioners of St. Joseph. 

With the shutdown, this effort took on a new form as logistical challenges would not allow the tradition of personally delivering flowers.  Starting in May 2020, the Sheens pivoted their efforts to creating, collecting and delivering cards to the six facilities in the Sykesville zip code.  It was a bit different without flower deliveries but the desire to reach those in isolation never wavered.  The response by the community was so overwhelming, the project was expanded into a year-round initiative, providing over 5,200 cards to 8-12 nursing homes to date.

Photo Credit: Miguel Macaoay | Left to Right Miguel Macaoay, Susana Macaoay, Resident at Transitions, Alejandro Macaoay, Daniel Rosa

After a four-year pause, the eagerly anticipated flower deliveries by St. Joseph parishioners resumed.  On February 10th, twenty-one parishioners delivered 486 flowers and lovingly made and prayed over cards to nine area facilities after months of planning and preparation. 

Sue Eckert, a Sheen, recounted her experience of delivering flowers at Fairhaven.  Eckert expressed gratitude for the opportunity to visit with friends of her late father.  She shared an encounter with one man.  After wishing him a Happy Valentine’s Day, he responded, ‘Now it will be’.”  Another resident made Eckert laugh when she humorously asked, “Did you bring me a man?” 

For Sheen Tami Dolinsky, President and Susana Macaoay who delivered flowers for the first time with their families, the experience was inspiring.  Macaoay, mother of two teens, said “It was a wonderful experience for the boys!  I enjoy seeing their receptivity towards those that need their kindness and respect.”

Photo Credit: Alan Grasley | Linda Grasley with Resident at Copper Ridge

Linda Grasley, one of this year’s project coordinators expressed delight at the resumption of the long standing tradition of bringing joy.  She and her husband Al helped with the deliveries to Copper Ridge residents sharing, “It was just wonderful to get back into visit our senior friends and be able to put a smile on their faces.  It’s been too long and I am so grateful we were able to get this tradition back for the residents!”

The St. Valentine’s Day’s Flower Project, which won the best recurring auxiliary activity in 2019-2020 and in 2023 for the card deliveries, demonstrates the importance of community bonds and showing love and compassion to the most vulnerable.

The Sheen’s Colleens is a complement of women, whose husbands and sons are members of the Fulton J. Sheen Council #7612 of the Knights of Columbus.  The Sheens engage in charitable activities with the focus of the Catholic family as their inspiration.  For additional information about the Sheen’s Colleens, please contact at Tami Dolinsky at tldolinsky@gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Barb Coyle | Flower vases assembled in boxes

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Information and photos above were provide by Linda Grasley on February 20, 2024 and is listed in the “READER COMMENTARY” category of this site.


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