Seniors get a lake cruise

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 8, 2003

Most nursing home residents don’t get out much during the week. Their meals, their activities and most everything else is done in the home.

Dick and Marlys Webber, who captain Pelican Breeze cruises on Albert Lea Lake, wanted to change that.

&uot;Lots of nursing homes would call us up about getting groups out here,&uot; Marlys said. &uot;But each trip costs $250, and with their tight budgets, they couldn’t afford it.&uot;

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The Webbers decided that getting these groups out on the lake was important, so they went to every service club in town asking for donations.

What they got was $2,000 to pay for eight cruises for the groups this year.

&uot;It’s been so much fun because they enjoy it so much,&uot; Marlys said.

Thursday afternoon two groups, one from the New Richland Care Center and one from Cedar Valley Services, climbed aboard the boat for the hour-and-a-half trip around the lake.

Dick navigated, and he and Marlys pointed out historical and natural landmarks, adding in homespun jokes here and there.

The group was all smiles.

&uot;I think it’s great,&uot; Ruth Fischer, a volunteer at the New Richland home, said. &uot;For residents in the care center, it is a great day. They get to go out and on the lake, and do it on such a beautiful day.&uot;

The sky had few clouds and a slight, comfortable breeze blew across the lake.

Sue Smith, a supervisor with Cedar Valley Services, which gives gives job training to mentally handicapped and disabled people, said her group would have been working in manufacturing Thursday if they weren’t on the cruise.

The Moose Lodge donated the money to pay for Thursday’s trip. Smith pulled out a thank-you card that her group had made and all signed.

&uot;It’s so generous of people to do this,&uot; she said.

For 90-year-old Dan Borchard, a resident of the New Richland Care Center, the trip south was worth it.

He wasn’t sure what he’d be doing if he wasn’t out on the water.

&uot;Either sleep or something else,&uot; he said.

Borchard said he enjoyed the tour and the afternoon.

&uot;It’s just an amazing day,&uot; he said. &uot;I didn’t realize how big this lake actually is.&uot;

(Contact Peter Cox at peter.cox or 379-3439.)