In rough shape after a car crash, Rita Holland couldn’t make it to her son’s wedding. So the Adirondack Tri-County facility in North Creek helped bring the wedding to her.
Holiday wishes do come true, with a little bit of creativity.
After an early November auto accident that left her with both hips and a femur broken, white-haired grandmother Rita Holland was bed-ridden at the Adirondack Tri-County Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center.
Her son, Denny Holland, was getting ready to marry Dee Hoffay. But even after nearly two months of recovery, Rita was in no condition to leave the rehab facility.
Denny's father died early in 2011, and making sure his mother could attend his wedding ceremony was a priority.
“He adamantly wanted his mom there,” said Hoffay. “There was no question whether or not she would be there; we just needed to make that happen.”
So Hoffay, who'd done some job training at the facility about 20 years ago, got in touch with an old friend. That friend is Nancy Truland, now director of nursing at the Tri-County facility.
“She called me and asked if they could do the wedding here at the facility,” said Truland, who's worked there for 25 years. “I said I guess so, I don't know why we couldn't.”
Hearing that the Tri-County facility could accommodate them was a really happy moment for Denny.
“That was the only way my mother could be there,” said Denny. Otherwise, she'd only see photos or a video.
So the wedding was on, set for a dining room at the facility Dec. 30. The accommodation of the nursing home staff was a first for a lot of people.
Robin Williams, who officiated the ceremony, shrugged when asked about the unusual setting, and said, “You can do a wedding anywhere.” The most unusual location he could quickly recall presiding over a marriage was the fountain at the Word of Life.
Hal Payne, director of the nursing and rehab facility, recalled a pair of residents being married at another facility he worked at, but has never seen an event like this.
Hal Payne, director of the facility, said, “We do anything we can to assure the residents get to enjoy normal life.”
Hoffay was full of compliments for the facility staff. Jamie Reynolds, activities director there, said the event was a facility-wide effort.
“We've had private memorial services,” an accommodation more in line with the facility's offerings, which include hospice care, “but never a wedding,” said Reynolds.
Truland said one staff member could recall a very small wedding ceremony held at the Tri-County building, but the packed room where the Hollands became man and wife and held their reception was undoubtedly unprecedented.
“For a small-town nursing home, they did big-town work,” said Hoffay.
At the event, Rita was dressed in black and gold finery, with hair carefully coiffed by her daughter. She was in good enough shape to sit comfortably in a wheelchair for the wedding. The week before, staff at the facility thought she might have to attend in bed.
“She's a hard cookie,” said Hoffay. “If she's in a lot of pain, she wouldn't let anybody know.”
But Rita made it through the wedding ceremony with aplomb, and said she was happy the facility staff could bring the wedding to her, since she couldn't be brought to the wedding.
“They've been great,” said Rita.