The aroma of grilled burgers, brats and hot dogs hovered over the patio outside the Glen Haven nursing home Monday evening as residents, families and staff enjoyed the annual Father’s Day barbecue.
Just as they have since the event was conceived nearly 40 years ago, members of the Glenwood Optimist Club were manning the grills. Ed Thompson and Bob Blasi, long-standing members of the club, helped at the first Father’s Day barbecue in the mid 1970s and were doing their part again Monday.
“We’ve always done it the Monday night before Father’s Day,” Blasi said. “There was an Optimist member who had family up here and that’s how it got started. Our club used to be just for men, so it kind of started as the fathers in our club doing something for the fathers living here.
“We’ve enjoyed being part of it and in their own way, they (residents) have always shown us their appreciation.”
Glen Haven Social Services Director Denise Chambers said the event is one of the traditional highlights of the year for both residents and their families.
“It’s a tradition that’s been going on for a long time,” Chambers said. “The residents enjoy being with their families. They look forward to it. They know that in June, they’re going to have the big barbecue.”
While Optimist members were grilling the meat Monday, the Glen Haven dietary staff was busy in the kitchen cooking all the fixins to go with it. Food was prepared for 150 people, enough to feed about 60 residents, their families and Glen Haven staff.
Both Chambers and Blasi said they can’t foresee the Father’s Day tradition ending any time soon.
“I don’t see it ever ending from our side of it,” Blasi said. “We think it’s a nice event for everyone and we’re happy to be a part of it.”