By Kim Breyley
It is the season to express gratitude, and so Jaime Fisher, director of the Middlefield Care Center used this opportunity to appreciate the people who have dedicated time and resources to the Care Center since its inception more than 25 years ago. The Care Center provides birthing accommodations for expecting Amish mothers and families. On the evening of Nov. 22, all of the folks who had invested countless hours were invited with their families to a ribbon cutting ceremony for the “Garden of Gratitude” consisting of plantings in various areas on the grounds of the Center.
The Amish board leaders spoke and expressed deep appreciation to the doctors, nurses and board members who have served over the many years. “It has been a wonderful 22 years,” said Jonas Yoder, MCC board member. “There are so many to thank and we have nurses here that are dedicated enough to really appreciate what has been done.” It was Dr. Vichai Duangjak, MD who initiated the garden by planting the first tree. “He is the one who decided that this property needs more trees,” said Fisher. “And for a year and a half, he deliberated as to the placement of that tree. He decided on an ornamental pear. It doesn’t produce fruit but it flowers and it’s gorgeous!” This year George Clemens, long time board member and tree enthusiast, passed away. “Every fall, well into his eighties, he would walk around here,” chuckled Fisher. “He would tell me, you need to trim this branch and that one.” In his honor, a curly willow was planted. We have lost trees, four since I’ve been here,” she said. “And George was adamant about replacing and caring for them.”
Nurse Mary Brezzo has lilacs dedicated to the memory of her 14 years of service. Each tree and bush has a personalized stone beneath it marking the person for whom it is planted. Nurse Janelle McClead retired from the Care Center when she was 89 years old. She, with her husband of 65 years, decided on a black walnut. Board member Chris Byler passed this year. He loved watching birds and is remembered with a blue spruce next to a bird feeder. Nurse Joanne Bearss recently retired and has chosen a butterfly bush. Dr. Albert Evans, was one of the founders of the Care Center and his name will be put on the arbor that will be placed at the beginning of the garden.
This garden represents almost 70 years of combined service,” said Fisher. “These folks are extremely dedicated and they do it because they know they have a part in helping people grow their families; it is pretty amazing.” Eventually the garden will include walkways and other special features. During the ribbon cutting ceremony Fisher noted that someday she hopes her name will be worthy of a place in the Garden of Gratitude at the Middlefield Care Center.