Members of the Wesley at Dyersburg Nursing Care housekeeping and laundry department -- from left, Margaret Milligan, supervisor Loretta Jones, Donna Welch, Elaine Fryerson, Carolyn Irving, Melanie Barker and Kim Gilbert -- put on a special parade for residents and staff members Wednesday, the first Wesley Care Parade Mop Carts and Queen of the Tub.
Every day, Charles Gardner watches the ladies from the housekeeping and laundry department at Wesley at Dyersburg Nursing Care parade pass his room with their carts full of items.
Sometimes, that parade happens three or four times a day.
It got Gardner to thinking.
Charles Gardner, who first mentioned the idea of having a cart parade, shakes hands with the Queen of the Tub Margaret Milligan while her driver Carolyn Irving and Santa look on.
A couple of months ago when he was talking to activity director Jo Ann Parker, "he said, 'I thought as much as they go in and out, they'd decorate their carts," Parker said.
And that got Parker to thinking. She told the department to get ready, they were going to put on the Wesley Care Parade Mop Carts and Queen of the Tub.
"I gave them the date and told them to come with something using their own creativity," Parker said.
Melanie Barker's cart was chosen the winner in the first Wesley Care Parade Mop Carts.
In the weeks that passed, the department -- supervisor Loretta Jones, Kim Gilbert, Donna Welch, Carolyn Irving, Elaine Fryerson, Melanie Barker and Margaret Milligan, with help from their children -- decorated four ordinary housekeeping carts and a linen tub. Each cart had its own Christmas theme while the tub was filled with pillows and covered in red velvet to become the transportation for the Queen of the Tub. Milligan was the Queen of the Tub because, Jones said, "she's my queen of laundry."
The parade took place on Wednesday. Leading the group through the halls were banner holders Joan Jones, activity assistant, and residents Edith Crockett and Dorothy Smithson and baton twirler activity assistant Ashley Hardesty while Molly, the resident dog at Wesley, escorted Santa to bring up the rear. They all yelled their holiday greetings to residents and staff members.
Parker had told Gardner to sit outside his room, that a surprise was coming. He met the parade with smiles and laughter.
"That's what I had in mind," he said. "That was a way to break up the monotony."
To keep him in surprise, Gilbert said they carried many of their supplies by hand during the week to hide their carts.
"We've had a blast doing this," said Loretta Jones, who was the parade's official candy thrower. "We've been excited getting it all together."
"What's most neat is they did it as a team," Parker said.
And while the department members agreed they did it for all of the residents, "it was worth it just to see Mr. Gardner's face," Gilbert said.