Community kindness: Local couple donates A/C units and fans to Country Haven, but the home ended up with much more

‘This is a story of one raindrop falling but having an incredible ripple effect’

Paul and Lee Brennae were at home in Almonte, Ont. last year watching a TV news story about how many older long-term care homes in the province do not have air conditioning, and this gave the couple an idea.

One of those homes without air conditioning was Almonte Country Haven, which had also been affected by a three-month COVID-19 outbreak, and the couple decided right then to help.

Knowing the hot, humid days of summer were just around the corner, the Brennaes decided to buy two air-conditioning units and two large fans for Almonte Country Haven to help keep residents cool and comfortable when temperatures began to rise.

Paul contacted Almonte Country Haven administrator Carolyn Della Foresta to let her know of the couple’s intentions.

Carolyn thanked the Brennaes for their kind offer, and Paul went ahead and ordered the air-conditioning units and fans through the Lowe’s Canada website.

But when the items arrived there was only one fan, so Paul made some phone calls letting Lowe’s know they were one fan short on their delivery.

Eventually, Paul talked with a representative from Lowe’s executive customer service department who said the fan was misplaced, which explained the delay, so to make up for the error Lowe’s offered to ship an extra fan at no cost.

In the end, Almonte Country Haven received two air-conditioning units and three fans, and Carolyn and the residents were grateful to the Brennaes and Lowe’s for their kind gestures.

“Paul and Lee reached out in this incredibly kind and tangible way, and these air conditioners and fans are just amazing,” Carolyn tells The OMNIway.

“What was so amazing to me is that this couple in the community had no personal connection with the home, (but) they knew about what we were going through (with the outbreak) and they were touched by our story and they wanted to reach out with an act of kindness.”

But the story doesn’t end here.

When Lowe’s learned from Paul the items were for Almonte Country Haven, the company wanted to do something extra for residents.

“They said they really liked what we were doing, so we were contacted by the company president’s executive assistant who said (Lowe’s) wanted to do more, so they asked what else (Almonte Country Haven) needed,” Paul says.

Paul let Carolyn know about Lowe’s offer, and Carolyn asked members of the home’s residents’ council what they would like from the company catalogue.

Looking ahead to the summer of 2021, the residents said new outdoor furniture to replace the older furniture would be great for outdoor visits and summer picnics.

In October, Carolyn was invited by Lowe’s to send an e-mail outlining residents’ request, which she did, along with an accompanying thank-you letter.

She relayed residents’ request for new outdoor furniture, and Lowe’s responded by sending a $2,000 gift card.

The Almonte Country Haven team will be using the card soon to buy residents their new outdoor furniture.

Looking back, Paul notes how the chain of events leading up to Almonte Country Haven receiving an extra fan and then a $2,000 Lowe’s gift card was unexpected.

“Initially, I just wanted to know where the fan was,” he chuckles.

Carolyn says she’s touched by the kindness and generosity the Brennae’s and Lowe’s have shown for Almonte Country Haven residents.

“This is a story of one raindrop falling but having an incredible ripple effect,” she says.

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