Seniors surprised with hundreds of roses for Valentine’s Day

A special group of people were the unsuspecting recipients of about 600 Valentine’s Day roses Wednesday afternoon.

The senior residents of Presbyterian Retirement Community in Lexington were greeted with a smile by volunteers who participated in one non-profit’s Valentine’s Day goal of sharing a rose with elders across the country.

A Wish of a Lifetime” is a national organization that promotes respect and appreciation for aging seniors, and was originally founded in Colorado in 2008.

Local resident Emily Gillman discovered the organization and reached out to see if part of their Valentine’s Day plans for passing out roses could be spread to the Midlands.

I sought them out, and I saw they had nothing going on in South Carolina, let alone the Columbia area,” said Gillman.

The Wish crew got back to Gillman and told her that in order to participate in the Valentine’s Day event, she needed to raise a certain amount of money and get volunteers to come out and participate in the rose distribution.

So I paired up with a USC fraternity and they sponsored it. So we have volunteers from Phi Tau and and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority coming out to help,” she said.

The money raised was used to purchase the roses, and t-shirts for the “Cupid’s Crew” volunteers, who represented the Wish of a Lifetime foundation. Gillman and her crew began passing out roses in the dining hall, and made their rounds to all parts of the facility.

The residents were overjoyed by the group of young people who handed them a rose. One resident was particularly surprised by the act of kindness, and said she had no idea they were getting these special visitors. “It was a beautiful surprise, and it was very well appreciated,” said resident Lodi Williams.

Gillman, who is an intern for Lighthouse Hospice Group, says her passion is gerontology, and it thrilled her to see her plan successfully carried out at the retirement community. The Presbyterian location was just one of six retirement centers the group visited throughout the day. “It really makes me so happy, and I love sharing my love for this with other people,” said Gillman.