Presbyterian Homes holds last ‘Day in the Country’
Published 9:53 am Friday, April 28, 2017
by MERLE MONAHAN
Friends, former employees and a few former residents attended the last “Day in the Country” at the campus of the former Zuni Presbyterian Homes and Family Services on Saturday. They were there to bid farewell to the 43rd and final popular annual outing sponsored by the homes.
“It was sad, but still I think everyone had a good time,” said Robert Bishop, who at 20 years has been the longest-serving director of the homes during its 50 years of service.
Bishop estimated the attendance to be around 450 people, less than former “Days” because all of the former residents have been relocated to other homes and most were unable to attend Saturday’s function.
A highlight was the 50th anniversary celebration of the homes. Hosted by director Juliette Whyte, and Bob Dendy, president and CEO of HumanKind — the homes’ new name — the ceremony included a short history of the organization for special needs young folks and adults.
Bishop named the numerous individuals and businesses that supported the homes and noted how valuable was the service that ZPHFS provided for its mildly handicapped residents.
The hosts then presented plaques to the dozens of individuals and clubs that have supported the homes since 1967, including former staff, former employees, the Zuni Hunt Club, the Kuwayes and many volunteers.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dendy addressed the closing of ZPHFS.
“We’re also supported by government funds and its regulations dictate that our “special needs residents” will be better served in a community setting,” he said. “So we had no choice but to make these changes.”
He added that the Zuni facility is now closed, and could not say what would be done with the property.
Bishop thinks the property will be sold, but emphasized that he really did not know.
During the day, all events went off as planned in spite of a threat of rain.
At noon, Bishop conducted his auction, which was followed by the Peanut City Cloggers. Booths were busy selling everything from flower arrangements to baked goods, and children’s activities were at full swing — hayrides and bounce houses, to name a couple.
Bishop said all proceeds from this day will go to the Kuwayes to be used as they see fit. This volunteer group worked with Bishop to organize the first “Day in the Country.”
One of the first events during the day was a performance by the Silver Street Band. Bishop said, “You know what’s awesome? I was talking to the band members and I found out that two of them here today were here at the very first ‘Day in the Country.’
“Just awesome,” he said.