It was smiles all around when Bill Christie recognized two familiar faces in the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremonies Wednesday for AiMHi’s new home.
It was smiles all around when Bill Christie recognized two familiar faces in the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremonies Wednesday for AiMHi’s new home. The Sch==ool District board chair, in his former capacity as government agent, had performed the couple’s marriage ceremony years ago.
He even remembered the date.
“June 1987, right?” he asked. The couple nodded in agreement.
Linda Ash can’t help giggling when she recalls how nervous her husband was walking – no, bolting – down the aisle 18 years ago. David Ernest Paul Ash (he refers to himself by all four names) is still embarrassed by his display of pre-nuptial jitters. It always draws a laugh in the retelling, he admits.
“I was getting anxious to get the ceremony over with,” said Ash. “I was very nervous and very scared to make such a big commitment. Mr. McArthur had already taken my bride to the alter to give her away. So I rushed up the aisle in a really big hurry and I guess it looked to people like I was anxious to get married. When I got there, the pastor (officiator) said, ‘Oh, he must be deeply in love.’ And of course everybody started to laugh.”
Linda and David tied the knot, he said, with giggles all around from friends and relatives. Both were “pleased as punch” when the new surroundings for AiMHi, created from what was formerly Lakewood Elementary school, were unveiled last week. “It’s really exciting,” said Linda. AiMHi has been with the pair for years, helping them to overcome a lot of hurdles in community living. Like suitable housing. The organization has become like an old friend.
“I was living on my own when I met my wife and so they found me a new place that would be big enough for both of us,” said David. Linda likes the many activities at the centre and she even volunteers her time.
“I do baking for the kitchen. And I work with the shredder machine and do microfiching for the office. It’s a lot of fun. I’m really happy about the new place. There are always lots of things to do here and even though we have to travel further from where we live on 20th Avenue, it is worth it,” she said.
Both husband and wife have taken job training and learned new skills. David got experience sorting mail for School District 57. It is there he talked with AiMHi president of the Board of Directors, Rory Summers. “He helped me a lot with finding a place on my own.” In their spare time, the couple enjoy pleasures like watching television, visiting relatives and doing crochet. “I taught him how to crochet,” said Linda proudly as David flashes an ear to ear grin. AiMHi assists between 500 and 700 people a year with programs and services for the mentally challenged.
Aim high, the sky’s the limit