Not everyone has that special someone with whom to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Knowing that, the folks at St. Barnabas Health Care Systems decided to ask the residents at the Village at St. Barnabas to be their valentines at a special Valentine’s Day celebration luncheon.
“It isn’t always easy to celebrate Valentine’s Day if you have lost your loved one or don’t have (a valentine). We wanted all of our residents to have the opportunity to feel special,” said Douglas Day, president of St. Barnabas Communities.
The staff of St. Barnabas held a festive luncheon that featured strolling violinist Steve Vance, roses and chocolates, and valentines delivered by a special little valentine, 5-year-old Kyra Fazio, the daughter of St. Barnabas' Public Relations Director Kathleen Brenneman.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable celebrating Valentine’s Day and to have a special time,” said Day.
Angie Delserone, a resident at St. Barnabas for two years, came to the luncheon dressed in red and pink.
“I knew the food would be good and (I came) for the good company. But I also came because it is a chance to wear red,” she said.
Dorothy Kindy, another resident who was decked out in pink, said, “This is something fun to do while we wait for spring.”
Echoing Delserone’s thoughts, she added, “And I knew there would be good food.”
A couple of heart ties were spotted along with Jack Hunt’s red lips tie. Hunt is an admissions counselor at St. Barnabas, who may be better known as the entertainer Johnny Angel.
“This is great fun for us too,” he said as he served residents at the luncheon.
Bryce Billetdeaux, a resident at St. Barnabas, brought his valentine, his wife Rosella, to the luncheon.
“I showed her the flier and she said we are going,” he joked, “This is a nice way to celebrate the day and enjoy ourselves.”
Day, Hunt and other staff members walked around serving wine and water while conversing with the residents as they ate their meals and visited with friends and neighbors.
The residents were also treated to a guest appearance by WPXI-TV’s chief meteorologist, Julie Bologna, who visited with the residents as well. The lunch was followed by valentines delivered by Kyra and a special showing of the Hallmark movie, “The Lost Valentine.”
This was the first time in more than a decade that St. Barnabas hosted a special “all out” Valentine’s Day celebration luncheon, according to Day. The turnout was better than expected.
“We were hoping for about 65,” said Brenneman, “And we had 135 sign up. We were delighted.”
Residents were also treated to a reading of a poem written and read by Gary Bogart, director of communities.
Female guests received a red rose as they left the celebration.