Senior uses letters to reach out during COVID

Senior Hunter Peterson is going above and beyond during this global crisis. Understanding that the senior citizens in our community are the most vulnerable right now, Peterson decided to take time off from his regular job at Western Homes since he is still working at Target as an essential worker. However, Peterson decided that even though he couldn’t see the residents he’s grown close to, he decided to sit down and write some letters.

Peterson, working in the Windcove Building that houses nearly 90 residents, started his plan with a Google Doc and made sure to do things as sanitary as possible to keep the residents safe. “I typed up a google doc letter and I printed copy after copy, I signed them, and included my email and address on them,” Peterson said. “Then I fitted them to the envelope, sealed the envelope with a wet paper towel (keep everyone safe), and I dropped them off with a co-worker so he could give them to the secretary to distribute them.”

Peterson started with printing and sending about 75 letters, since couples live in his building too. It didn’t take long for the Western Home residents to reply, Peterson said. “When I wrote my first letter, I got responses the same day. Some residents even made cards by hand on computer programs,” Peterson said. “It is just so awesome to see how they just jump on the opportunity to keep in touch with people.” 

Since he sent out his first letter, Peterson said he’s received about 10 letters and 10 emails. Overwhelmed by the responses showing up in his inbox and his mailbox, Peterson said he was amazed at the kind gesture of his residents’ replies. “It has been so awesome keeping in touch. They are so sweet, and they put so much time into these letters, so I make custom cards to send back to them,” Peterson said.

Peterson said he’s known for the funky socks he wears every day that he would often show the residents. Making a comment of this in his first letter to the seniors started a little joke that he said was touching. “When I was able to go into work I always wore fun socks, and I would show them to each resident. Now I mentioned it briefly in my first letter, but almost every resident has responded back and said how they missed me and my socks,” Peterson said. “I was just excited how such a little thing has made such an impact for them. It brought a smile to my face.” 

After having such an amazing time being pen pals with the faces he used to see a lot more often, Peterson said he would 100 percent recommend getting in contact with local nursing homes to see what you can do for the residents in quarantine.

“I would recommend just writing something hand written or on a Google Doc if you want to make lots of copies. It doesn’t have to be long. You could talk about you or state how you hope they are doing well. Trust me. It will mean the world to them,” Peterson said.

Peterson said this experience has definitely brought a smile to his face and has taught him a couple of valuable life lessons. “During this time, it’s important to keep in touch with those you care about, but you have to be safe about it,” Peterson said. “Try and make a difference during this time. You will feel so good after it.”

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