Lincoln, NE: Sumner Place and Izaak Walton’s League Join to Make a Wish Come True
Article by Chris Westover
Reprinted with Permission Izaak Walton’s League
The team members at Sumner Place Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation began a new and exciting program this year which focuses on enhancing Quality of Life for the residents they serve. This program is all about recreating past pleasurable pursuits that were once, or perhaps still are, very important and meaningful. The program is to “Grant a Wish” to one of the residents of Sumner Place. For the most recent “Grant A Wish,” the resident selected was Christine Purser. Christine was an avid shooter in her younger years. She grew up in North Dakota on the farm doing chores and often spending time with her father, who she remembers, “always had a gun in his hand.” Then as a young mother, Christine and her husband would travel around with their three boys and shoot competitively in many different competitions, “My husband would get jealous of me because I would outshoot him! I told him he needed to watch his breathing, breathing is very important.” Christine herself competed with the rifle, and different pistols including 22, 38, and 45 calibers. These shooting competitions were a fun filled family event. Christine remembers that while they traveled from place to place, they would pick fresh berries and vegetables along the way. Then while in the trailer, Christine would can the fruits and vegetables. Once at the events, Christine would then bake pies for everyone to share. It was a common joke amongst the competitors that Christine was just trying to distract them from the competition!
It has been about 60 years since Christine has fired a gun. However, Christine reminisces almost daily about her shooting years with Chris Westover, the Restorative Coordinator from Sumner Place. Together they discuss tricks and tips as well as share in their successes as professional shooters. Even as they see each other coming down the hallway, Chris will pretend fire a gun and Christine will then fire back and say “Ping!” In knowing how memorable this past pleasurable pursuit was for Christine, the team of Sumner Place began making arrangements for this long distant memory to become a present day reality. The board of Izaak Walton’s League quickly agreed and was happy to be a part of this experience. They graciously allowed range time and offered any additional support needed by Sumner Place. On Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 at the age of 93, Christine was taken to Izaak Walton’s League shooting range where she unloaded a few rounds with a 22 caliber pistol. Standing right beside her, smiling the whole time, was her son, Michael, who recalled many fond memories of his mother shooting and the family trips that they would take to Camp Perry, Ohio for the National Competitions. On that day, it also just so happened to be Christine’s other son, Patrick, birthday. Mike quickly text his brother with a picture of their mother with a caption “You’re not going to believe this but guess what Mom is doing!” When the final shot was fired, it scratched the ten ring and Christine beamed, “I still got it!”