Oak Bay resident honours her dad by stuffing seniors’ mailboxes with love

John Marinus and wife Denise at the Chateau Victoria in June of 2020. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)John Marinus and wife Denise at the Chateau Victoria in June of 2020. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)
Creative types can drop off valentines at two locations in Oak Bay and Margaret McCormack will gather and distribute them to seniors. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)Creative types can drop off valentines at two locations in Oak Bay and Margaret McCormack will gather and distribute them to seniors. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)
Creative types can drop off valentines at two locations in Oak Bay and Margaret McCormack will gather and distribute them to seniors. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)Creative types can drop off valentines at two locations in Oak Bay and Margaret McCormack will gather and distribute them to seniors. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)
Margaret McCormack and her dad John Marinus at The Marina restaurant for his 80th birthday. Marinus died in January 2021. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)Margaret McCormack and her dad John Marinus at The Marina restaurant for his 80th birthday. Marinus died in January 2021. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)
Creative types can drop off valentines at two locations in Oak Bay and Margaret McCormack will gather and distribute them to seniors. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)Creative types can drop off valentines at two locations in Oak Bay and Margaret McCormack will gather and distribute them to seniors. (Photo courtesy of Margaret McCormack)

If Margaret McCormack has her way, a trio of Oak Bay seniors homes will have mailboxes stuffed with love come Valentine’s Day.

McCormack was troubled by the immediate impact of restrictions in 2020 as the province faced its first round of COVID-19. It didn’t help that her dad, John Marinus, had been slowly falling into the grip of Alzheimer’s and was about to start day programs in his hometown of Comox when the restrictions hit.

“He started showing symptoms on and off in the last few years but the pandemic really hurt him,” McCormack said of the stepfather who served well the role of dad.

Marinus was nearly 84 when he died on Jan. 19, 2021.

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Losing her dad was the main inspiration in her venture into cupid’s realm. She didn’t get to say goodbye or even visit during his final year of life.

“I also needed something to do to move forward. I missed him incredibly but knew that he would want us to be happy for the time we all had,” McCormack said.

The inspirations kept piling on as she saw struggling seniors every day in her community and at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre where she works.

“They’re so active in the community and they just give and give and they couldn’t do anything and I couldn’t do anything for them,” she said.

McCormack saw an opportunity. Kids couldn’t see grandparents either and she remembered the Kind Kids Club, a handful of children in the community that banded together to do a variety of good deeds around the community. The previous Christmas they’d crafted cards for seniors homes.

READ ALSO: Kind Kids Club hands crafts cards for Oak Bay Lodge residents

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, McCormack contacted the mom/leader of that group. The kids had her set up with 100 cards in a matter of days.

This year she’s sent word out on social media, to one daycare, and through friends plus there are two boxes for crafty and caring residents to fill – at the Monterey centre and at Taste Cafe at the corner of Florence Street and Caddy Bay Road.

Last year, seniors living at Kiwanis House and a handful at Shannon Oaks received the special cards. Depending on the response, she hopes to expand to Elgin House this year.

She’ll pick up the cards Feb. 12 in hopes of getting them to seniors for Valentine’s Day.

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c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca


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