May 24, 2021

Girl donates gift bags at Glens Falls Center in memory of great-grandmother, who died from COVID-19

A year ago, Jody Breault watched her grandmother die through a nursing home window. Olive Belden, 90, died from COVID-19 at Glens Falls Center on May 6, 2020. As Olive took her last labored breaths, Beault and her two aunts watched as a parade of Glens Falls Center employees visited, said their goodbyes and held her grandmother’s hand.

“So many people came in to say goodbye to her,” Breault said. “It was really very touching.”

To commemorate the passing and to honor those who sat by Olive’s side, Breault’s 13-year-old daughter, Annon, created gift bags to be given out to residents on their birthdays. The bags contained items like puzzles, games, lotions and slipper socks. Each bag also came with a handmade card.

 

The Whitehall girl delivered 10 gift bags in April to Glens Falls Center, where Olive had lived for 13 years.

 

“Due to the pandemic and everything, a lot of families weren’t able to go see a lot of the residents in nursing homes,” Annon Breault said. “So I was thinking, you know what would be nice, would be to go and create these little gift bags and these little cards for people in the nursing home so they’d kind of have a nice birthday. And it was also sort of in honor of my great-grandma.”

 

Annon saw her grandmother through the window the day before she died. Olive called both Jody and Annon her “Blonde Angels.” Annon and her great-grandmother shared a love of singing and dancing. Pre-COVID, Olive was often found singing karaoke at the nursing home.

 

“It made me feel really good inside. It did,” Annon said. “I just feel like I’m really honoring my great-grandma. She had a very happy spirit. She loved singing and when she was still able to walk, dancing. She did a lot of the activities that they had at the center, which was really cool.”

 

Jody said it was a blessing that Olive passed at the beginning of the pandemic, because the social nonagenarian involved herself in many activities at the center.

 

“She wouldn’t have done well in that environment at all,” Jody said. “She was the mayor of that place. There were so many people that just loved her.”

Mother and daughter are happy to now be able to turn a bad situation into a positive one.

 

“I’m just so proud of this girl,” Jody said of Annon. “She’s always thinking about making someone else smile.”

 

Annon is now working on another donation project, which she has titled, “Ollie’s Blonde Angels.” Marijo Natale, the recreation director at Glens Falls Center, called Annon a very giving young girl.

 

“The gift bag donations she did for the residents here went such a long way,” Natale said. “They were a major hit. No wonder why her great-grandmother was such a treasure here.”

As seen on Post Star.

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