Santa and his helpers throw party for rehab center residents

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  • DEVIN WEEKS/Press Debbie Bessent high-fives Santa Claus during a Silver Angels for the Elderly visit Wednesday to Lacrosse Health and Rehabilitation Center in Coeur d’Alene. The Angels volunteers brought gifts, a friendly dog and Christmas cheer to wish the residents a happy holiday season.

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    LaCrosse Health and Rehabilitation Center resident Paula Gample makes friends with Spiffy the West Highland terrier and her owner, Walter Cole, during a Christmas/birthday party for residents thrown by the Silver Angels for the Elderly on Wednesday. (DEVIN WEEKS/Press)

  • DEVIN WEEKS/Press Debbie Bessent high-fives Santa Claus during a Silver Angels for the Elderly visit Wednesday to Lacrosse Health and Rehabilitation Center in Coeur d’Alene. The Angels volunteers brought gifts, a friendly dog and Christmas cheer to wish the residents a happy holiday season.

  • 1

    LaCrosse Health and Rehabilitation Center resident Paula Gample makes friends with Spiffy the West Highland terrier and her owner, Walter Cole, during a Christmas/birthday party for residents thrown by the Silver Angels for the Elderly on Wednesday. (DEVIN WEEKS/Press)

By DEVIN WEEKS

Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — Angels are real.

And they sure know how to throw a party.

“They are the most beautiful, wonderful women on the face of this Earth," said Sheri "Teeps" Teeples, a resident at LaCrosse Health and Rehabilitation Center in Coeur d'Alene. "They make these people — and myself too — so very happy. I don’t get choked up too easy, but it makes me want to get choked up."

Wearing their feathered halos, reindeer antlers and other festive attire, volunteers from Silver Angels for the Elderly visited LaCrosse on Wednesday to bring Christmas cheer to the residents while celebrating those with December birthdays.

A choir performed several holiday Christmas classics, including "O Holy Night," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Jingle Bell Rock," during which residents smiled and some clapped along.

Santa Claus made an appearance during the party, as well as Silver Angel volunteer Walter Cole and his West Highland terrier, Spiffy, who made a lot of friends.

"I think they’re wonderful. It brightens us up. All we do is sit in our room and watch TV," said Debbie Bessent, who high-fived Santa from her wheelchair.

"I think they’re fantastic," she said of the Silver Angels volunteers. "They’re very friendly. They don’t stay away from us because we are hooked up to machines or have no legs. They still come and be very friendly to us, and I like that."

Silver Angels for the Elderly is a North Idaho nonprofit that brings hope and joy to isolated and lonely seniors. Monthly birthday parties, memory boards, Easter baskets, Christmas card parties and other personalized gifts are a few of the projects the volunteers coordinate to show local seniors some love.

"We enjoy the Silver Angels. They’ve done a great job," said LaCrosse activity director Keri Browning. "It really brings up (residents') spirits and keeps them happy, especially having the dog, they enjoy the pets and having visitations."

Silver Angel Debbie Fettig has volunteered for two years. She's become friends with some of the long-term residents.

"I hope when I get to be this way that somebody will come and bring me cheer," she said. "You bring so much joy. I just look forward to coming. I wouldn’t miss it."

Info: www.silverangelsfortheelderly.com

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