#ElderWisdom | Stories from the Green Bench
14. Bruce MacNeil - Growing a garden, a community and friendships through volunteerism

14. Bruce MacNeil - Growing a garden, a community and friendships through volunteerism

April 13, 2021

Episode #14 - Talking dirty in this episode, a conversation about soil.  81-year-old Bruce MacNeil joins us on the green bench in a conversation about his love for horticulture and for being a Volunteer at The Village of Winston Park in Kitchener.

"Come on in and make yourself homely." -Bruce

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week in April, this episode is a way for us to honour those who give of their time as volunteers in whatever they choose to do for their communities.  "Thank you to all volunteers who make their contributions, so selflessly as they make our residences a real habitation of joy." - Lloyd Hetherington

Volunteerism has passed through generations in the MacNeil family as he shares stories of his parents and now his grandchildren.

 "We plant in soil and we play in dirt." -Bruce MacNeil

Do you have a green thumb? (share with us on social media using the #ElderWisdom tag)

Bruce is not only growing a garden but growing friendships and relationships with everyone at the Village.  He uses gardening as a therapy, including storytelling.  He has also involved his grandchildren in his volunteering at The Village teaching them these skills.

When Covid hit, the residents were trying to make Bruce's volunteer work an essential service.  Hear a few messages to Bruce from the residents at The Village of Winston Park.

"You are not just a volunteer, but a friend." -Bruce, resident at Winston Park

There are many volunteer opportunities available in every community.  What are some of the opportunities that you have participated in or are interested in?

A special message from Bruce's granddaughter, Alexandra, about being involved in his volunteer work at Winston Park.  He taught her about compassion, how to converse with someone new, and the importance of storytelling and connections.

*Get your pen and paper out as Bruce shares tips to grow your tomatoes at home

"Thank you to everyone who gives of their time, but more importantly of themselves to make the world a better place." -Erin Davis

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13. Ruth White -Canada road trips, living and sailing in Bermuda, and a spirit of trying new things

13. Ruth White -Canada road trips, living and sailing in Bermuda, and a spirit of trying new things

March 30, 2021

Episode #13 - Hosts Erin Davis & Lloyd Hetherington share virtual travels with Ruth White from The Village of Arbour Trails in Guelph. This Canada Day marks her 80th Birthday and she is thrilled to share her adventures across this country in her stories from the green bench.

"It never hurts to learn new things, does it?" Ruth has a spirit of trying new things and is happy to be adding this podcast to her list.

Before being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, she was always ready for an adventure.  She shares some of her favourite travel memories.

Finding a job in Campbell River, north of Vancouver Island where she learned to waterski, fish for salmon, make a fire using driftwood, and creating art.

  • Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan
  • Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Golden, British Columbia

Where are your favourite places to visit in Canada?

We would love to see your photos and read your stories on social media - tag #ElderWisdom in your posts.

Hear about Ruth's drive across Canada with her sister - North of lake superior, a rough road driving a 1962 Chevy II, we made it through ok.  "Highway 17 can be a lonely stretch of road." -Lloyd

Ruth's mother had multiple pregnancies including quadruplets, two sets of identicle twins.  Stories of growing up in a family with multiple births and multiple loss.  

"Appreciate the time that is given to you." - Ruth White

Pack your virtual bags and visit Bermuda with Ruth. She heard about a job and ended up working and living there for a little over 40 years. Price Waterhouse Coopers, Gulf Oil/Chevron, Office Supplies, Aberfeldy plant nurseries.  Aunt D's son Captain White got Ruth into sailing the waters around Bermuda.  Eight miles north of Bermuda, Ruth learned to snorkel in the coral reef.

"Listen to your heart.  Be aware of others that can help your situation." -Ruth White

"Be encouraged to think beyond the box." - Ruth White

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12. David Boehm - A musician living life to its fullest, technology, connections, and dreaming

12. David Boehm - A musician living life to its fullest, technology, connections, and dreaming

March 16, 2021

Episode #12 - This isn't David's first time in front of a mic, he's been providing entertainment for audiences for most of his life. His spirit of living life to its fullest, even as he battles a difficult health challenge, is all about connection.  David shares his Story from the Green Bench from the Schlegel Village, Pinehaven Nursing Home in Waterloo.

Born in Elmira in a little apartment over top of a blacksmith shop.  Has lived in Waterloo for most of his life, with some time in Toronto to work at Steve's Music Store, where he had the privilege of meeting Eddie Van Halen, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, The Police, and others. 

A musician from a young age. "My brother was stuck with the accordion and I got to play the Hawaiian guitar." It gave him an insight into the guitar and later led to a Spanish guitar. He joined a high school rock band and they most wanted to be like The Beatles.

His musical career as part of the band called 'The Town Choir' toured across Ontario and New York State.  

*Back in 1969 David wrote and recorded a song called 'Smile' with his band.  Lost the tape and recently found it, fixed it up, and got it on a CD.  Jim and Ralph recorded Smile - have a listen.

"The world needs a big smile today." - Lloyd Hetherington

In grade 13, David had a fight with his dad and left home, sleeping wherever he could find comfort.  A friend's father got him a job and gave him a room.  

"I had good friends. Without them, I wouldn't have survived." -David Boehm

Prior to getting married David and his wife-to-be had a son.  Her parents wouldn't allow them to raise him so they had to put him up for adoption.  He has recently connected with his son and enjoys hearing about his life and the lives of his grandchildren. He hopes to one day be able to visit with them.

"Clearly some of those strands of DNA are guitar strings." -Erin Davis to David Boehm regarding his son and his grandchildren

David started up a small company called Aquatic Designs, where he set-up and maintained aquariums.  He has an interest in fish - spent time with the Willowdale Aquarium Society and volunteered at Royal Ontario Museum identifying fishes and going on field trips.

"Learned a lot from being a volunteer at The Royal Ontario Museum." -David Boehm

More in this episode:

  • teaching himself how to use computers
  • working with M&T printing group for 17 years
  • dreaming of the future
  • continuing to learn and grow
  • connecting through technology

"As long as you have love, you are going to be alright." - David Boehm

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11. Lloyd Hetherington - A life in education, in service, and now our podcast co-host

11. Lloyd Hetherington - A life in education, in service, and now our podcast co-host

March 2, 2021

Episode #11 - Turning the spotlight onto a man who is living an exemplary life. A life in education and theology, leading a life in service and now serving up his own wisdom, laughter, questions, and conversations every couple weeks on the green bench as our podcast co-host. 

Listen as we learn a little bit more about Lloyd Hetherington and his life leading up to being part of this podcast.

Lloyd joins us from The Village of Riverside Glen retirement home Guelph. "My life has just blossomed here at The Village of Riverside Glen." -Lloyd Hetherington

Learn about his experience on a move to Zambia where he lived for 11 years. Working with people living with leprosy who got on with living, accepting the situation as it was. "Although I had nothing materially, I had the world around me to get out and enjoy the adventures."

In this episode, we learn about Lloyd's family, his three children, and his grandchildren.  He also shares who he looks up to for wisdom and advice saying, "I have many sources, many springs of knowledge that I drink from."

Podcasting: We love reading the reviews and comments left about the podcast.  Read and leave your thoughts on Apple Podcasts. The topics are endless and timeless, in every #ElderWisdom podcast episode, there are takeaway thoughts for everyone.

Lloyd was also the spotlight of some local media:
CTV Kitchener | CBC Radio | GuelphToday

"Times can change, but things like values and  integrity don't have to." -Erin Davis

Lloyd has written a book for himself called 'My Blessings Book' - writing in advice, scriptural blessings, hymns thoughts, and more. 

Here are some thoughts and advice for younger generations. Remember who you are, remember your roots, remember your family, remember your church.  Be alert to the opportunities to be alive in this day in age, grasp the values that are there, grasp the opportunities and go for them.

"We have something to share and it's our obligation to share our experience with others." -Lloyd Hetherington

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10. Judy Stefnitz - A chance for a dance, career in nursing, and parenting with challenges

10. Judy Stefnitz - A chance for a dance, career in nursing, and parenting with challenges

February 16, 2021

Episode #10 - Taking a chance for a dance, a career in Nursing, Family Life & parenting with challenges. Judy Stefnitz shares her story of a varied and fascinating life with ups and downs, and she comes through shining.  Joining Erin Davis and Lloyd Hetherington on the green bench from The Village of Tansley Woods in Burlington.

How do you start your day? Share with us on Twitter (@GreenBenchStory) and don't forget to use the #ElderWisdom tag.

Judy starts her day with brain exercises, learning, scrabble, and of course breakfast. She loves life!  Has a plan for every day that is not carved in stone.

A Salute To Nurses: The World Health Assembly has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Judy shares about her broad nursing career at Sick Kids in Toronto and at Oakville Hospital.

“Nurses dispense Comfort, Compassion & Caring without even a prescription” – Val Saintsbury

Parenting doesn't come without challenges.  Judy, taking care of her children had a number including convulsions, falling off the roof, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, asthma, swellings, rashes, and allergies.  

A move to Montreal to support her husband's career in 1972, after the FLQ crisis. Without being fluent in French, Judy could not work as a nurse in Montreal. "It's amazing how life works." reading the paper, seeing a notice - 'If family life is important to you, Concordia University is offering a new program' - So she went for it.

Excited to continue learning at 38 and still today at 81.

"Life is the curriculum." Judy Stefnitz

If the opportunity presents itself, Judy responds. Family Life taught to look at all the issues from the womb to tomb.  Her practicum was helping parents to be sex educators - it is as important today as it was then.  Teaching attitudes, values, and respect, etc. 

"Attitude is our greatest power. We control that for ourselves." - Judy Stefnitz

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9. Doug Reed - Life in media and giving back through the Salvation Army

9. Doug Reed - Life in media and giving back through the Salvation Army

February 2, 2021

Episode #9 - The story of life in media, radio, tv, and print news and giving back through the Salvation Army and countless community organizations.  Doug Reed, a resident of the Ailsa Craig Neighbourhood located at The Village of Arbour Trails in Guelph, shares his story from the Green Bench in a conversation with host Erin Davis and co-host Lloyd Hetherington.

Learn about Doug's passion for his work with the Salvation Army including being a welcome sargeant, hosting services, setting up a soup kitchen, the Christmas Cheer program, planning and organizing a homeless shelter, and so much more. 

Interested in giving to the Salvation Army?  You can find out how here: https://salvationarmy.ca/donations/

Hear the story of what brought Doug to broadcasting.  Growing up on the farm, every lunch hour, Mr. Braud, would turn on the BBC to listen to the news coming out of the war and he was intrigued by the noise coming out of the box. Pretending as a child that he was a radio announcer, using his father's sunbeam razor on the end of a clothesline pretending it was a microphone.  Reading news and weather reports and then going with his dad to CKOX in Woodstock, and he was hooked.

Listen to more from Doug on his radio show, Doug Reed Musings, with Perry Sound Eastern Shores Online Radio. https://www.parrysoundradio.com/index.php/doug-reed-musings

Doug has always been active in the community he is living in: Town Council, volunteer firefighter, Shriner, mason, alter server, Kiwanis club.  Being involved, paying back, and doing the full circle.

A jokester: Do you have a favourite April Fools Joke?  Learn about some that Doug has been involved in during his career.

"We've got to listen to the stories.  I try to tell my son and my grandchildren the stories of my life and of ancestry." - Doug Reed

"And so ends tonights broadchasing....oops, I mean broadcasting." - Doug Reed

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8. Dee Preikschas - Dancing with Parkinson’s and the importance of humour in our day

8. Dee Preikschas - Dancing with Parkinson’s and the importance of humour in our day

January 19, 2021

Episode #8 - Topics of Dancing with Parkinson's, laughter, humour, spiritual awakenings with a Guru in India, and romance.

The spirit and the spark, call her Dee 'Precious' as we hear her story on 'Dancing with Parkinson's', an improvement on balance and gait by using music throughout the day. "Whatever it is, the body has to keep moving no matter what." - Dee Preikschas 

The importance of laughter for Dee and how to help others smile and laugh together.

Dee meets a spiritual leader, a Guru, and travels through  India and learns to meditate with him.  

"you need those quiet times, to look deep within.  You need to sense the values and listen very carefully to what the spirit is giving to you." - Lloyd Hetherington

Being a nurse, she has helped bring humour to her work and her colleagues. Using dark humour, but be careful as "humour can build bridges, but it can also destroy bridges."

Creating an online profile allowed Dee to meed her husband Dave.  Both dealing with their own challenges, they continue to love and support each other at The Village at University Gates in Waterloo.  "It's for the long haul, the good, the bad, the ugly. A good caring relationship makes all the difference in the world."

"Even before you get out of bed, decide it is going to be a good day." - Dee Preikschas 

Let's all have a 'Perky Parky Person Party wearing Purple with Dee Preikschas'!

*Honouring our guest from Episode #4, Louise Jolliffe, who passed away earlier this year. Click to listen.

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7. Ron Schlegel - Family business in Senior Living and more, stories from the Olympics and Innovation

7. Ron Schlegel - Family business in Senior Living and more, stories from the Olympics and Innovation

January 5, 2021

Episode #7 | A look back, a look ahead, and a look inside with Ron Schlegel. The green bench concept and the Schlegel Villages Wisdom of the Elder signature program come from Ron's message about the importance of tapping into the wisdom around us.

"The greatest untapped resource in Canada, if not the world, is the wisdom of our elders."

What is wisdom? Learn about Ron's father, Wilfred, and the role model he was to him and his grandchildren. Senior Living as a family business and the roles of Ron's children, Jamie, Brad & Rob.

The design concept of Schlegel Villages retirement and long-term care homes in Ontario allows for a social experience and makes for life purpose and enjoyment. Learn a little bit about how this came to be and how the Villages get their names.

"It doesn't matter whether one is 35 or 85, we should be enjoying life to the fullest."

Advice to business leaders, a talk about servant leadership, and research to drive innovation. "It's not what we do, it is what we enable others to do."

Twin mix-up: Hear how Ron MacLean mistook Jamie for Brad during an Olympic Hockey final and more from the Olympics 1992.

"Be yourself, be true to yourself, don't try to be something you are not." - Ron Schlegel

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6. Hank Floyd - A life with no regrets, servant leadership and various workplaces

6. Hank Floyd - A life with no regrets, servant leadership and various workplaces

December 22, 2020

Episode #6 | 94-year-old Hank Floyd has NO REGRETS, had a great, successful life & career.  Started working at a young age, worked his way up, changed companies and careers a number of times. Joined the Royal Canadian Navy at the age of 17 and served in WWII.  Hear about his management philosophy, his wisdom, and his advice for people who are entering the workforce.

"You don't have to be brilliant to be wise."

Hank is joined by our hosts Erin Davis & Lloyd Hetherington virtually from The Village of Taunton Mills in Whitby to share his wisdom from the green bench.

"We learn a lot by listening to people."

*Announcing that our podcast has been renewed for 2021 - that's 26 more episodes full of wisdom for you to listen to throughout the year.

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5. Barry Hickling - Discrimination through ageism, working with the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils and hope for the future

5. Barry Hickling - Discrimination through ageism, working with the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils and hope for the future

December 8, 2020

Episode #5 | Ageism is stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Ageism dictates that at a certain age you have to act a certain way.  We need to work together to eliminate ageism - starting with education, informing people with alternatives, and creating an environment where you value people and their contributions.  Hosts Erin Davis & Lloyd Hetherington welcome Barry Hickling from The Village of Aspen Lake in Windsor for a conversation about ageism on the green bench.

Barry is a Delegate Member of the Ontario Association of Residents' Councils (OARC).  Their values include: Compassion, Dignity, Inclusion, & Collaboration | Learn more at ontarc.com

Help up break down #ageism by signing the #ElderWisdom pledge at elderwisdom.ca; "I pledge to restore to a place of reverence the elders of our society, honouring the wisdom our oldest citizens have gained through lifetimes of trials, tribulations, joys and successes. I further vow to end ageism, once and for all counting this unjust form of prejudice unacceptable."

"Hope is the greatest encouragement we can give to one another" -Barry Hickling

"Caring and compassion are what it's all about. Don't put a label on it." - Lloyd Hetherington

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