Living a Happy Life at Hammer

Living a Happy Life at Hammer

Our Legacies magazine is a special anniversary publication, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is one of our stories, by Angela Bernhardt, Director of Major Gifts:

Pat enjoying a Twins game

Pat Henry has lived at Hammer since 1975, when he arrived as an 11-year-old full of endless energy and curiosity. From living in the Winslow boys’ dorm to now living in the 1st Avenue group home, Pat has been supported by caring individuals who are drawn to his love of art and puzzles, playing games on his iPad, celebrating holidays, watching Minnesota Twins games, and keeping things clean at the house. He also loves to look at cooking magazines and cookbooks, and helps to cook dinner, especially browning the hamburger because the staff do NOT do it right. According to Pat, “You don’t push it down!” When hamburger needs browning, step aside because Pat WILL take over.

At the end of his day, Pat always waits up for the overnight staff to arrive, helping them set up their bed for the night, making sure the curtains are drawn, and all the dishes are put away. This level of caring reflects the lifetime of caring he has received from those at Hammer.

Throughout his life, Pat has had opportunities to explore his own interests. Looking at old photos, Pat is always in the center of activity, eager to participate and be part of the community. Just mention you will be going out and he has his coat and hat on in a flash and waits by the door.

He is an includer, inviting others in, and freely expressing his happiness and joy of others, often saying, I like him, I do! followed by his infectious laugh. It is obvious to all who meet Pat that he is first and foremost, happy.

I’ve known Pat for 33 years and been his direct care staff for 10 years. We’ve grown old together! As he has gotten older, his physical care needs have increased, and that’s okay because that’s life. We’ve made changes to the house to meet his changing needs and as a care team we monitor a few more things. We still get out and about, everyone looks forward to events written on the big kitchen calendar, we all just walk a bit slower. 
Jan Hopper, Lead DSP at 1st Avenue

Pat’s happy life is made possible by so many people, from his family who entrusted him to Hammer almost 50 years ago, to the Hammer staff who have cared for him as he has gone through all stages of life, to the nursing team who monitor and manage his complex medical issues, and to the financial supporters who have believed in him and provided the resources necessary to ensure he lives a quality life.

(In the early photo above, Pat, on the right, and a friend had fun visiting the fire department!)

Angela grew up in Wayzata and as a result, she has been familiar with Hammer all her life. She joined Hammer in 2013 as the Director of Major Gifts and enjoys meeting people and learning (and sharing!) their stories.

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