Sacred Heart in Medina continues Dyngus Day celebration

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 23 April 2019 at 8:50 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Nancy Bracey, left, known as “Booska” in Polish, poses with her grandchildren Aubrey Christiansen, 2; Mason Christiansen, 7; and Lucas Christiansen, 4; and her mother Irene Dunn at Sacred Heart Club on Monday, where Polish residents of the North Wing at Medina Memorial Hospital were invited to a Dyngus Day celebration.

Polish residents at Medina Memorial Hospital’s North Wing attend the party

MEDINA – Celebrating Dyngus Day has been a longstanding tradition at Sacred Heart Club.

As far back as 1988, Sacred Heart Club has hosted a Dyngus Day party with a Polish polka band, pussy willows and the traditional Polish food.

Eileen Pettit showed up for Dyngus Day at Sacred Heart Club in Medina dressed in her traditional Polish attire.

About five years ago, as Dyngus Day celebrations increased throughout Western New York, especially in Buffalo, it became more and more difficult to hire a Polish polka band, said Dee Lucas, who organized the event for many years.

Sacred Heart made the decision then to discontinue the celebration as a public event, and instead to do a scaled-down version for their members only. As the custom for the past several years, John “J.T.” Thomas and Irene Dunn have taken the lead in organizing the Dyngus Day observance.

That proved successful, but this year the Club thought it would be nice to extend an invitation to the Polish residents of Medina Memorial Hospital’s North Wing. A call to hospital resulted in news that this would, indeed, be possible, as the hospital had recently acquired a new handicap-accessible van, which allows the hospital to transport North Wing residents on occasional outings.

“The residents are so excited to be able to get back out into the community and have fun,” said Karrie Mikits, director of Nursing Services for Long Term Care. “Some of them started getting ready for their much-needed day out as soon as they woke this morning.”

Rindy Punch was one of the residents who came to Sacred Heart.

“It’s wonderful to get out on such a beautiful day and be able to listen to real Polish music,” she said.

Mary Stack, a resident of the North Wing, was accompanied by her husband Stan.

“We used to come here in our younger days,” Mary said.

Joyce Johnson couldn’t wait to have a beer. She was one of several who had permission from their doctors to have a beer or glass of wine.

“It’s been at least two years since I’ve had a beer and I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “It’s great to get out and ride in a brand new bus.”

Brandi Pasnik, who works as a physical therapy assistant, said many of the residents are allowed a glass of wine or mixed drink.

“Our nurse doubles as a mixololgist,” Pasnik said.

The residents were served the traditional Polish meal of pierogis, Polish sausage and sauerkraut, fresh Polish sausage, golumpki, sweet and sour cabbage and Polish sweet bread.

Sacred Heart has also kept the tradition of crowning a king and queen at the end of the evening. This year’s royalty were Chloe Nashwenter and Scott Newton, each of whom have given countless hours of volunteer service to the Club, Dunn said.

Nashwenter has worked tirelessly on the Club’s fish fries for several years and helped with the children’s Christmas party.

Newton is a past board member who also worked on Dyngus Day and does all the electronic work at the Club.

Activities aide Stephanie Uptegraph, left, and Adrienne Belson from the North Wing at Medina Memorial Hospital, wheel resident Joyce Johnson back on the hospital’s new van, which transported them to a Dyngus Day celebration at Sacred Heart Club Monday.

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