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Local family treats Sequoyah Manor residents to a day of fishing


Thursday, June 29, 2023 - Hearing positive stories in the community where you live and work can be heartwarming and inspiring. It's wonderful to see how personal journeys can lead to the formation of meaningful friendships, which is exactly what one local lady recently experienced.


In September 2021, Diane Sanders' father, Tony Leal, became a resident at Sequoyah Manor Nursing Home. "My mother, Frances Leal, visited him daily, and strong relationships were formed between our family, nurses, and many residents," Sanders said.


It was only two months later that Sanders' mother passed away from COVID-related issues. The loss of Sanders' mother affected her father deeply.


"My dad fell apart, but those men and nurses did everything they could to help my dad get through his loss. My husband and I would go in everyday to be with him, and the nurses and many residents became like family to us," Sanders said, "In January 2023, my dad passed away from a broken heart. We hadn’t been back to the facility in a while, so when my sister, Fran Billingsley, came to visit from California, we made a trip to see the residents we had connected with, including Ron, Billy, and Ms. Kitty, the head nurse."


During their visit, one of the residents asked Sanders' husband if he would take him fishing. This led to the family asking for permission to take some of the residents fishing at their pond.


After coordinating with the nursing home and receiving approval, the Sanders family began preparing. One of the couple’s construction employees, Larry Matthews, and Sanders' husband, worked diligently to provide the necessary equipment and amenities for the fishing experience.


On June 22, the family welcomed several residents of Sequoyah Manor as they came to fish. Rowan Contente, Kylar Adams, and Wyatt Abner actively participated in the outing, engaging the men in conversation and just having a good time.


"It was amazing watching these young men interact with the elderly in our community, "Sanders said.


Nichole Contente, London Contente, Shari Simpson, and Kaleigh Copeland were also present, engaging in conversation with the men, ensuring fishing lines didn’t get tangled up, and capturing memorable pictures.


"My family’s faith in God inspired us to help others, particularly the senior citizens in the community, as a way to honor my parents' teachings of unconditional love and assistance," Sanders added.


The family would like to express their gratitude for the amazing staff at Sequoyah Manor and considers the residents there to be a true blessing. They also have plans for future fishing trips and continue to find joy in supporting and connecting with the senior citizens in the community.



Lindsie Dyer, Staff Writer


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