Pictured above, Oak Landing Assisted Living residents Ralph and E.C. enjoy the car show organized by the Rainbow City Hot Rod Club on Saturday, October 17.
By Katie Bohannon, News Editor
The Rainbow City Hot Rod Club partnered with Oak Landing Assisted Living in Attalla on Saturday, October 17 to bring joy and excitement to residents during a challenging time. The club led a drive-through parade for the residents, sending messages of encouragement and support to those who are most deserving.
Oak Landing residents gathered outside bright and early Saturday morning, awaiting with appreciative anticipation the trail of impressive classic cars and vintage vehicles that cruised through the parking lot. Each driver held up a sign stating warm phrases like “God bless you,” and waved greetings to the residents who lit up at the sight. Residents pointed and smiled at the cars passing by, commenting on their favorite makes and models from different eras.
Rainbow City Hod Rod Club member and Oak Landing Assisted Living employee Rhonda Hood organized the event, inspired by her own passion for vintage cars and her love for the residents. As someone who understands the situation of the residents at Oak Landing, Hood considered the parade an opportunity for residents to reflect on their youth, remembering pleasant and happy times spent in the years they called those cars their own.
Oak Landing owner Jerry Tinsley commended Hood for her efforts to bring the parade to fruition and emphasized the importance of hosting events like the car show for the residents.
“Our seniors oftentimes feel forgotten,” said Tinsely. “Rhonda and I and everybody who works here just thought, ‘what can we do?’ Rhonda knows these people personally – she loves them and does things for them. We’re blessed to have folks that care [at Oak Landing]. We want to let our seniors know they’re not forgotten. It’s a tough animal right now with the pandemic. Imagine you get taken from your home where you’ve been 60 plus years then you go to a facility. Your life is already changed, then throw this pandemic mess on top of it, and it’s kind of a double-whammy. It’s really important we do things to make them understand we love them and we’re here for them.”
Hood collaborated with fellow club member Pennie White to transform her worthwhile idea into a reality. The pair contacted the club, who responded with immense enthusiasm. Hood and White described the family atmosphere of the club.
“Everybody [in the club] has a love of old cars,” said White. “[For club members and seniors alike] the cars are nostalgic and make them feel good. [They can look at an old car] and remember the old days in their teens and early twenties when they had these cars. We’re a close-knit family. We all love each other.”
White acknowledged that the natural progression of life points towards aging, but holding events like the car show can serve as a rejuvenating glimpse into the past and send a powerful message of hope to seniors who might feel lonely during this time. Regardless of the circumstances seniors might face, caring and supportive individuals remain willing and eager to encourage, uplift and spread love wherever its needed most.
“We know that these people have been left out,” said White. “We want to do something special for them to let them know that there are people out there who care besides their families. This is just something really special we wanted to do for them. We keep them in our minds and hearts, and we wanted to recognize them.”