Sunday afternoons at Embark Senior Living are typically dedicated nap times. However, on this cold Sunday afternoon, there wasn’t much sleeping as the dining hall was packed with residents. Getting a chance to meet their beloved Thunder players overrode the need for a nap.
“We have so many Thunder fans that live here and during Thunder games they will come down in their apparel and will have little Thunder parties. They’re never too old to enjoy sports,” said executive director of Embark Paula Brooks.
Thunder two-way players Lu Dort and Kevin Hervey made a surprise visit to Embark at Statesmen Club to offer a helping hand in their holiday crafting party. The duo took part in decorating stockings as well as aiding in the detailed process of making mats for the homeless out of recycled grocery bags.
Dort made his way to the table dedicated to stocking decorations and was immediately greeted with pictures and smiles by the residents who closely follow the Thunder games and recognized the emerging two-way star.
“Just us being here for them is really big and any time that I can spend with them by signing autographs or taking pictures is really good,” said a smiling Dort.
Hervey’s table had a less festive but abundantly meaningful task. He was stationed at the beginning of a very meticulous assembly line to make mats for the homeless out of plastic grocery bags. Hervey’s job was to flatten each grocery bag. It might seem like a small job but from there, the bags were folded carefully before being cut into two and a half inch thick loops so that they can be crochet together to make a waterproof mat that can withstand the elements.
“This was an awesome time spending time with these seasoned folk,” said Hervey. “Soaking in some knowledge and some wisdom but mostly spending time with them. What they do here is incredible. What they’re doing today in incredible. Making these quilts for the homeless out of grocery bags.”
Jacqulyn Susud, a resident at Embark was the mastermind behind the homemade mats. Every Friday afternoon, she and around 14 other residents will come together and put the mats together. Adding the Thunder into the mix, made the effort that much more special for the residents who already treasure the time they spend doing some good for their community.
“You can’t put it into words,” Susud said. “It’s just so exciting to see all the little ladies that work on the mats come in and being excited and having a party. They wanted to be sure to be here because the Thunder was coming.”
“You have no idea the effect that this will have on our community for weeks to come,” said Brooks. “They will not stop talking about it. They really had a great time.”
After sacrificing a nap to spend time with the Thunder, the residents at Embark will hardly be able to sleep with the amount of excitement stirred up on Sunday afternoon.