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Dream recipient knows way to her husband’s heart

May 2, 2012
By Kathleen Palumbo , Town Crier correspondent

Following two years as a resident at Shepherd of the Valley-Boardman, Marilyn Barnhart was granted her Second Wind Dream one that served as a testimonial that when the heart's desire is strong, despite physical limitations, you simply can't keep a good cook down.

On Thursday, April 26, Shepherd of the Valley-Boardman Dream Team helped resident Marilyn Barnhart fulfill her dream of spending a day back in her own kitchen, preparing a delicious meal for her husband Don.

Married 62 years, since Marilyn moved into Shepherd of the Valley Boardman's nursing community she hasn't been able to cook her husband his favorite meal. Enter Second Wind Dreams.

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Just like old times, Don and Marilyn Barnhart, joined by their daughters Terry Stephenson and Donna Barnhart, shared a meal at home together cooked by Marilyn herself. The day was made possible by the Shepherd of the Valley-Boardman Dream Team through its association with Second Wind Dreams, an international nonprofit organization intent on enhancing the quality of life for those living in eldercare communities.

Founded in 1997, according to its website, Second Wind Dreams is an international non-profit organization intent on enhancing the quality of life for those living in eldercare communities.

Shepherd of the Valley Boardman supplied the necessary ingredients for the meal, as well as special touches for the dining room table as staff members Kim Osborn, activities director at both the Boardman and Niles location, Kim Brothers, LPN, Chris Restle, administrative assistant, and Brenna Davis of Blue Sky Therapy, assisted with the day's activities.

Arriving at her home at 12:30 p.m., Barnhart took occasional breaks as she prepared fried chicken, baked potatoes, green beans with bacon, salad, iced tea and a chocolate cream pie.

"I really miss cooking," she said, adding that despite her two year hiatus, "It comes back to you."

Playfully reminding her staff of her intent to rest up the following day, "They're making me do it all," said Barnhart, chiding them, "Don't get me up before 11."

The couple raised six children, four of whom live out of the area. Daughters Terry Stephenson and Donna Barnhart however, were on hand for the event and joined their parents around the dinner table.

The family continues to grow and also includes 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren with two more on the way.

Barnhart's unsuspecting husband returned home at 3:15 p.m. to the aroma of a mouthwatering home-cooked meal, stating, "First thing's first," as he wrapped his arms around his wife and gave her a kiss.

"And you did this you're something else, he said, adding, "For 50 years, you've been fooling me. How sweet it is."

Settling into dinner around the table with his wife and daughters, "You know what I think mother," he asked, answering, "We should do this every month."



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