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An early holiday gift: Photographer, Photo Express team up to provide assisted living residents with holiday photo greeting cards

David Champlin, 100, of Village at the Harbour ... he and other Village residents will be the first to get complimentary holiday photo greeting cards to mail to family and friends, courtesy of photographer Michael Martin and Cecil DeMeerleer of Radio Shack Photo Express.  - Michael Martin
David Champlin, 100, of Village at the Harbour ... he and other Village residents will be the first to get complimentary holiday photo greeting cards to mail to family and friends, courtesy of photographer Michael Martin and Cecil DeMeerleer of Radio Shack Photo Express.
— image credit: Michael Martin

Holiday cards are an important way for people to keep in touch with family and friends.

But for people who must move to assisted living homes, that tradition often falls to the wayside. Holiday photos aren't taken. The process of buying cards, writing greetings, addressing envelopes and mailing is a chore.

Michael Martin, a professional photographer living in Friday Harbor, remembers when his grandfather stopped sending holiday cards after he moved to assisted living. With that memory in mind, and with the holiday season rapidly approaching, Martin came up with an idea.

Why not shoot photos of assisted living residents in a holiday setting, and give them holiday cards they can mail to family and friends?

Martin's first photo shoot is scheduled for Oct. 15 in the Village at the Harbour library — complete with holiday tree, a cup of hot chocolate and other holiday accoutrements. Each resident will get 10 4x8 photo cards free, courtesy of Martin and Cecil DeMeerleer of Radio Shack Photo Express. Martin is inviting volunteers to help address and mail the cards.

Depending on how this photo shoot goes, Martin hopes to expand to other assisted living homes on the island.

Martin said, "Holiday cards are a good way to keep in touch with people. All the technology is here to do it and it wasn't back then" when his grandfather went to assisted living.

"We want to help make the world a little bit smaller ... Someone should have done this a long time ago."

DeMeerleer of Radio Shack Photo Express said it was an easy decision to help. "Michael came in and told us about it and it sounded like a good idea. We said, let's do it."

Martin is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He has lived on San Juan Island for a year.

If anyone would like to help an assisted living resident write greetings on his or her card and mail them out, contact Martin at 378-9606 or e-mail michaelmartinmedia@yahoo.com.

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