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Wednesday, May 12, 2020

What’s Inside.... C2 — Staying Active: Reed couple usually busy at Lynden Christian C5 — Ferndale Senior Activity Center adapts to COVID-19 challenge

A supplement of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | Ferndale Record

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Couple feels rewarded in work again at ages 85 and 72

Even though school is out, David and Teri Read came back to their janitor's room at Lynden Christian Elementary School to show how they do their job. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

David and Teri Reed become floor sweepers at end of LC kids’ school day — when in session By Calvin Bratt editor@lyndentribune.com

   LYNDEN ­ — This started out when David and Teresa (Teri) Reed bought a nice Toyota RAV4 hybrid in the summer of 2018. When the SUV deal was completed, their financial advisor told them they really couldn’t afford it.    So, at their ages, they would have to go back to work to pay for it.

   David Reed got some laughs from prospective employers when in the application process he had to disclose his high school graduation year: 1953.    But the pair, who have lived in Lynden about five years, persisted in this job hunt venture.    They came onto the Lynden Christian Schools website when Teri, 13 years younger than David, thought she might apply for a bus driving job. They then noticed a job listing for a “Night Sweeper” and answered to it. A joint interview later, in September 2018, they had the job.    It is to vacuum all of the rooms and the entrances of Lynden Christian Elementary School after every school day.    It is a big job, when you calculate that

the area to be cleaned each time is over 20,000 square feet.    In fact, the Reeds took on even more for their first three months — also doing all the floors in a similar fashion at the two-story Lynden Christian Middle School each day. At Christmastime 2018 they decided that was too much.    “We were here until 10 o’clock at night sometimes,” he said.    For this 3:15 p.m. job, they each strap a vacuum tank onto their back, with the electric cord and suction tube in hand, and head out into and across the school for the next two and a half to three hours. They usually work together in close proximity, knocking off room after room.    At LCES that would be 31 rooms in all,

including the library and teachers’ lounge, plus at least a half dozen double-door entries from the outside.    The school has about 450 active youngsters on site each day when school is in session, preschool through fourth grade. In terms of action on the floors, “that’s a lot of little feet,” he said.    They especially note the small bits of gravel that can get tracked in from the playgrounds. Kids eat lunch in their classrooms, and there might even be something like a Popcorn Day, leaving plenty of extra evidence behind.    “We try not to vacuum up the Legos,” David said, referring to that play area near the library. Continued on next page


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020| Ferndale Record

ENCORE    They need to navigate around tables and shelves, although the students are supposed to flip over their chairs onto the tables to clear the floor.    They do not have to worry about hallways and bathrooms. A full-time day janitor is responsible for those.    Don Van Maanen, elementary school principal, said all those who work in the building appreciate this particular task the Reeds do faithfully to make sure floors are bright and clean for each new morning.    The couple said they feel “very much a part of the LC community” through their job.    This could be considered pretty rigorous duty for a couple ages 85 and 72. They look at it with some humor.    “At my age I need to exercise,” says David Reed. “I tell my friends, ‘I pay to exercise at the Y. I get paid to exercise here.'"    They also note with a chuckle that their equipment storage room, where they start and end their rounds, is shared with the Mr. Bones skeletons for science teaching.    How did they end up in Lynden? It takes a little telling.    David is a retired pastor and still officiates weddings. He had his own church See Reeds on C4

Inset: The school hallway bulletin boards still pertain to March where Teri would be doing her normal vacuuming.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | Ferndale Record

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Reeds Continued from C3

David Reed knows his floor cleaning routine at Lynden Christian Elementary School well, even though he is not doing it right now in the coronavirus shutdown.

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for a time and was most recently an associate pastor on staff with a church in Port Orchard. He retired from that at age 80.    Then, where should they settle down? It turned out to be Whatcom County, following a best friend of David’s and also reasonably close to three of their children in the area. They live in east Lynden.    They are both active in the CrossPoint Church of Lynden. Teri co-leads a weekly group of sewing women who make quilts for children at the Brigid Collins Family Support Center and for infusion/chemotherapy patients at the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center, and whatever other needs the women become aware of.    That sewing group recently got into COVID-19 mask making.    And yes, the Reeds are off Lynden Christian duty right now, as school is out for the remainder of the 2019-20 year. They have claimed unemployment for now, but they fully intend to be back at this job in the fall.    After all, they have their vehicle to pay for.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020| Ferndale Record

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Ferndale center still providing meals, contacts Volunteers call in to seniors weekly to check on their welfare By Brent Lindquist brent@lyndentribune.com

   FERNDALE ­ — Operations at the Ferndale Senior Activity Center changed drastically when it closed March 12 due to the coronavirus, but the ongoing work still done there is more important than ever for the Ferndale community.    In the days leading up to the 12th, center director Karma Wells was in contact with Whatcom County Health Department officials regarding what might happen in the coming days.    “They said, ‘We’re not saying you guys need to close yet, but what we are saying is any non-essential activities need to close,’’ Wells recalled.    The center had already gotten rid of its salad bar for safety reasons, and every See Ferndale on C6

Center director Karma Wells and her team of volunteers are still working to keep Ferndale seniors fed with prepared meals that curtail their need to go to the grocery store. (Courtesy photo)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | Ferndale Record

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Ferndale Continued from C5

day Wells and her staff were looking at changing a variety of aspects of the center. Wells said that on March 11 she watched some members playing cribbage.    “I thought, oh my goodness, we have to close,” Wells said. “Everything we do, even though they’re not touching each other, they’re touching everything else.”    Wells had a conference call later that afternoon with other senior center directors around Whatcom County, and they agreed unanimously that closure was necessary.    “Everyone was on the exact same page,” Wells said. “We realized that, in order to keep our seniors safe, we could not be open.”    Even though the Ferndale Senior Activity Center closed, some of its members still rely on meal services to get them through week after week.    Initially, the center offered a hot meal each day, but that proved challenging, and it meant seniors had to leave their homes for pickup. The senior activity center then switched to partnering with Meals on Wheels to provide meals that only needed to be picked up once a week. They consist of one hot meal and six frozen meals, plus a loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk.    Seniors start arriving at about 11:15 a.m. on Wednesdays.    The goal, Wells said, is to provide a contactless experience so nobody is in danger of getting sick. People in their vehicles park at a numbered cone and give out their names and open their trunks or car doors. The meals are brought to their cars and loaded up. The Ferndale School District has provided the center with masks that can be given out with meals as well.    The ultimate goal, Wells said, is to

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provide nutrition to seniors while limiting their need to go to the grocery store.    Wells is the only paid employee still working at the center, as county funding pays her wages. The center is 90% volunteer-run, but many of those regular volunteers are seniors. Wells and a handful of younger volunteers are keeping the meal distribution going, she said.    Wells comes to the center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as there is still plenty of work to be done behind the scenes, she said. She checks the mail, listens to voicemails and collects donations from the community.    “It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s a really neat thing. Our community has been amazing through this.”    Community donations are essential to continuing the meal service, and Wells said the money goes directly to Meals on Wheels. Anyone interested in donating can visit whatcomcoa.org/donate to contribute through the Whatcom Council on Aging.    Meals aren’t the only endeavor occupying Wells’ time these days. She operates a phone tree with her volunteers just in case a senior needs a prescription picked up or some other need filled. She has 15 to 20 callers who phone seniors to check in

To get their seven meals for a week, seniors park their cars and volunteers load up the food for them on Wednesdays. (Courtesy photo) on them. Callers check in once per week, and if a senior has a need, the volunteer calls Wells and she coordinates a volun-

teer to help fill that need.    “This community really stepped up and continues to do so,” Wells said.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020| Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | Ferndale Record

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