The annual mayor’s garden party had a different look this year.
The event normally draws hundreds of seniors for fellowship, refreshments and musical entertainment in City Hall Park in recognition of Alberta Senior’s Month.
This year, it was turned on its head because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was celebrated by Mayor Tara Veer and council making visits to local senior residences and care facilities.
They visited 13 facilities to bring greetings on behalf of the city and deliver personalized cards and flowers. All the meetings were held outdoors.
“We are thrilled to be able to make these special visits to our seniors. We want to celebrate them and make sure they know just how important they are to our community,” said Veer.
As part of her tour, Veer selected Don Holloway, 88, as this year’s honorary senior for his contributions to the community and country.
Originally from Newfoundland, Holloway has lived in Red Deer since 1981 and is believed to be one of the city’s last living veterans of the Korean War.
“Although we were unable to host the annual mayor’s garden party, we would still like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our seniors for sharing your skills, knowledge and experience through the years,” Veer said.
“You all have contributed to the strength of our community, province and country, and we honour you for the legacies you’ve built.”
Holloway was born in Port Blandford, N.L., and enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1951. He served as a combat engineer for a year during the Korean War, and in 1977, he and his family settled in Penhold.
Holloway said he was surprised to be chosen as the honorary senior.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I answered the phone and they told me and I just couldn’t believe it.”