Luverne Health and Rehabilitation hosts inaugural Christmas Parade

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The inaugural Luverne Health and Rehabilitation, LLC Resident Christmas Parade ushered in an abundance of festive cheer on Dec. 14 at 1:30 PM. The event, which began with a heartwarming walk through the facility, spread joy throughout the long term-care home and the community. 

The brainchild behind the heartening initiative, Admissions and Marketing Coordinator Kayla Stallings Bryan, expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming support from the community. 

“It took a village to pull it off,” said Bryan, “and I want to say thank you to our wonderful staff, our sponsors, and the community members for helping and being present for the parade. There was so much joy and laughter, and I cannot wait for next year’s parade.”

Originally planned to be a small-scale parade within the facility, the enthusiastic response from residents and the growing number of participants prompted a move outdoors, with U.S. Highway 331 becoming part of the parade route. The Luverne Police Department played a crucial role, closing down a section of the road in front of Luverne Health and Rehab to ensure the safety of participants and spectators.

The success of the event was a testament to the collaborative efforts of residents, sponsors, family members, and the wider community. Organizations such as Crenshaw Community Hospital, Southern Care Hospice, Aveanna Hospice, and Dr. Patrick Walker, along with various community members, contributed to the event’s success and to creating an unforgettable experience for residents and others.

“Many of the residents were up and out of bed before six that morning, ready to go,” Bryan said. “There was so much joy throughout the facility and I am so glad we could give the residents a change of scenery as many of them don’t get to go outside often.”

Crenshaw Community Hospital recognized participants with trophies in various categories. The “Best on Wheels” trophy went to the hall 3 residents, while Elizabeth Adams claimed the “Best in Show” title and William Smith received the “People’s Choice” award.

For Cathy Dunn, whose mother Peggy Grimes resides at Luverne Health and Rehab, the parade was an immensely touching experience. 

“It was a wonderful thing to be part of,” Dunn said. “My heart was so full after the parade. My mother can’t really see or hear well anymore and sometimes has trouble communicating, but when I asked her if she wanted to be in the parade she gave me a very strong reply of ‘Yes I do’. It did the resident’s hearts so good and I could hear them talking and talking about it after we went back inside.”

Bryan, driven by her love for parades and a desire to create unique experiences for the residents, along with the facility staff envision an even grander event next year. The enthusiastic response from the community has been overwhelming according to Bryan, with many throughout the community expressing interest in participating in the 2024 parade.

For those keen on joining next year’s celebration, Bryan welcomes inquiries and participation. She can be reached at (334) 335-6528.