Chatham Nursing, late patient Michael Simpson honor firefighters; Elkin High chorus performs to kick off National Nursing Home Week


By Wendy Byerly Wood - wbyerly-wood@civitasmedia.com



Members of the Elkin Veterans of Foreign Wars along with Scout visit with patients at Chatham Nursing Monday morning.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week Monday. Choral director Tonya Smith dedicated the performance to her mother, Kay Jennings, who was a patient at Chatham and died shortly after midnight Monday morning.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Dr. Bill Blackley, a member of the Elkin Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with Scout visit with patients at Chatham Nursing Monday morning.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The late Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing and a former firefighter, left money to honor the Elkin Fire Department through the Chatham Nursing activities department. Carolyn Caldwell, director of the department, second from left, and Kevin Simpson, Michael’s brother, left, presented a fireman’s bench to stay on the grounds of Chatham Nursing and a Fireman’s Prayer with boots and helmet to be located on the grounds of the fire station. At the presentation are, from left, Lt. William Rountree, firefighter Chris Minton, Capt. Theresa Knops, retired firefighter George Crater and retired firefighter Monroe Wagoner, also chief of the Elkin Police Department.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The late Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing and a former firefighter, left money to honor the Elkin Fire Department through the Chatham Nursing activities department. Carolyn Caldwell, director of the department, second from left, presented a fireman’s bench to stay on the grounds of Chatham Nursing and a Fireman’s Prayer with boots and helmet to be located on the grounds of the fire station.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Carolyn Oliver, residents council president at Chatham Nursing, seated second from left, and Carolyn Caldwell, at the podium, share memories of the late Michael Simpson, a former firefighter and patient of Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Patients listen as the Elkin High School chorus performs for them Monday morning.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Patients listen as the Elkin High School chorus performs for them Monday morning.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Carolyn Oliver, residents council president at Chatham Nursing, seated second from left, and Carolyn Caldwell, behind Oliver, share memories of the late Michael Simpson, a former firefighter and patient of Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Patients at Chatham Nursing were honored with a performance from Elkin High School’s chorus and a visit from local veterans Monday morning, then the nursing home honored Elkin Fire Department thanks to a request and donation from a patient who died at Easter.

The choral students, along with several staff and patients of Chatham Nursing, were moved to tears as choral director Tonya Smith led the chorus during Monday morning’s performance, just hours after her mother, Kay Jennings, passed away. Jennings had been a patient at Chatham Nursing for at least three years, and Smith told those in attendance that she would want her there honoring her commitment. She dedicate the performance to the kick off of National Nursing Home Week and in memory of her mother.

Later in the morning, several members and retired members of the Elkin Fire Department visited Chatham Nursing for a special presentation.

Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday, was a former firefighter with Jot-Um-Down and then Elkin Fire Department. He left a donation to Chatham Nursing’s activities department, and the department’s director, Carolyn Caldwell, explained that Simpson made a stipulation that part of the donation be used to honor the Elkin Fire Department.

Caldwell took that request and honored it. During a short ceremony Monday, Carolyn Oliver, the residents council president, Caldwell, and retired firefighters George Crater and Monroe Wagoner shared memories of Simpson, both as a firefighter prior to his injury and as a fellow patient and friend at Chatham.

The ceremony included the presentation of two memorials — a fireman’s bench which will remain at Chatham Nursing, and a fireman’s prayer with a set of boots and a helmet which will later include a plaque honoring Simpson.

“He was just so generous to us,” Caldwell said of Simpson, whose brother Kevin, his caregiver and power of attorney, was present Monday for the presentation as well.

Caldwell said one of her favorite memories of Simpson was after he bought a Wii for the nursing home. He had a special adaptation made so he could play, and he would bowl and golf and play with the 80 and 90-year-old patients. She said they were so competitive.

“He’d donate generous amounts of candy for our trick-or-treaters,” she said, adding she’d give him a hard time about being a Carolina fan, and that he was a huge racing fan as well.

“Michael was so special to us,” said Caldwell.

Joking about how quiet Simpson was, Crater said, “Michael would get blamed for the noise. We’d tell him he was talking too much, everybody’d laugh and he would just look up and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ He was there for us all. He did everything he could to protect what was others.”

“Sometimes you don’t have to talk a lot to say a lot, and Michael was that kind of guy,” said Caldwell.

Following the ceremony, Chatham Nursing provided a meal for the firefighters, staff, patients and guests.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

Members of the Elkin Veterans of Foreign Wars along with Scout visit with patients at Chatham Nursing Monday morning.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham13.jpgMembers of the Elkin Veterans of Foreign Wars along with Scout visit with patients at Chatham Nursing Monday morning.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham14.jpgThe Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham15.jpgThe Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week Monday. Choral director Tonya Smith dedicated the performance to her mother, Kay Jennings, who was a patient at Chatham and died shortly after midnight Monday morning.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham16.jpgThe Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week Monday. Choral director Tonya Smith dedicated the performance to her mother, Kay Jennings, who was a patient at Chatham and died shortly after midnight Monday morning. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham4.jpgWendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Dr. Bill Blackley, a member of the Elkin Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with Scout visit with patients at Chatham Nursing Monday morning.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham5.jpgDr. Bill Blackley, a member of the Elkin Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with Scout visit with patients at Chatham Nursing Monday morning.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The late Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing and a former firefighter, left money to honor the Elkin Fire Department through the Chatham Nursing activities department. Carolyn Caldwell, director of the department, second from left, and Kevin Simpson, Michael’s brother, left, presented a fireman’s bench to stay on the grounds of Chatham Nursing and a Fireman’s Prayer with boots and helmet to be located on the grounds of the fire station. At the presentation are, from left, Lt. William Rountree, firefighter Chris Minton, Capt. Theresa Knops, retired firefighter George Crater and retired firefighter Monroe Wagoner, also chief of the Elkin Police Department.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham6.jpgThe late Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing and a former firefighter, left money to honor the Elkin Fire Department through the Chatham Nursing activities department. Carolyn Caldwell, director of the department, second from left, and Kevin Simpson, Michael’s brother, left, presented a fireman’s bench to stay on the grounds of Chatham Nursing and a Fireman’s Prayer with boots and helmet to be located on the grounds of the fire station. At the presentation are, from left, Lt. William Rountree, firefighter Chris Minton, Capt. Theresa Knops, retired firefighter George Crater and retired firefighter Monroe Wagoner, also chief of the Elkin Police Department. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The late Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing and a former firefighter, left money to honor the Elkin Fire Department through the Chatham Nursing activities department. Carolyn Caldwell, director of the department, second from left, presented a fireman’s bench to stay on the grounds of Chatham Nursing and a Fireman’s Prayer with boots and helmet to be located on the grounds of the fire station.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham7.jpgThe late Michael Simpson, a 12-year patient at Chatham Nursing and a former firefighter, left money to honor the Elkin Fire Department through the Chatham Nursing activities department. Carolyn Caldwell, director of the department, second from left, presented a fireman’s bench to stay on the grounds of Chatham Nursing and a Fireman’s Prayer with boots and helmet to be located on the grounds of the fire station. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Carolyn Oliver, residents council president at Chatham Nursing, seated second from left, and Carolyn Caldwell, at the podium, share memories of the late Michael Simpson, a former firefighter and patient of Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham8.jpgCarolyn Oliver, residents council president at Chatham Nursing, seated second from left, and Carolyn Caldwell, at the podium, share memories of the late Michael Simpson, a former firefighter and patient of Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Patients listen as the Elkin High School chorus performs for them Monday morning.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham2.jpgPatients listen as the Elkin High School chorus performs for them Monday morning.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Patients listen as the Elkin High School chorus performs for them Monday morning.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham3.jpgPatients listen as the Elkin High School chorus performs for them Monday morning.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham1.jpgWendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham10.jpgWendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham11.jpgThe Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham12.jpgThe Elkin High School chorus performs for patients at Chatham Nursing to kick off National Nursing Home Week.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Carolyn Oliver, residents council president at Chatham Nursing, seated second from left, and Carolyn Caldwell, behind Oliver, share memories of the late Michael Simpson, a former firefighter and patient of Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday.
http://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_chatham9.jpgCarolyn Oliver, residents council president at Chatham Nursing, seated second from left, and Carolyn Caldwell, behind Oliver, share memories of the late Michael Simpson, a former firefighter and patient of Chatham Nursing who died Easter Sunday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

By Wendy Byerly Wood

wbyerly-wood@civitasmedia.com

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