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1 1 nnpr XY\0 CI in THEBRUNSWICK^BEACON DaPeop/e/n News, 5
mi lVJWOI tllvj OLIll 1993 a Sports, Pages 8-12
Pat And The Bea
Giving Christmas From The
Heart In Area Nursing Homes
TBY LYNN CARLSON
here are lonely old people out Ihere
who'd be as grateful to get just a hug
for Christmas as you or I might he as
we open the most extravagant package un
der the tree.
Those people are Pat Long's Christmas
gift to herself.
The travel agent/hairdresser/dynamo is a
one-woman Christmas joy machine, spear
heading and funding a holiday outreach
program that takes Pat and her elves to
nursing homes from Whiteville to Lake
Waccamaw to Shallotte to Southport.
On a recent Monday afternoon, she
could be found up to her elbows in perma
nent wave solution doing her umpteenth
head of silver hair at a Southport nursing
home. She was surrounded by other volun
teer beauticians and assistants, all cutting
and curling and styling, wheelchair to
wheelchair, right there in the corridor.
Three pages full of residents had signed
up to get a new hairdo for Christmas, com
pliments of their friend Pat Long, who
started giving her time there 15 years ago.
The beauticians started working at K:3() that
morning; the last comb-out was way past
suppertime. They hadn't even had time to
stop for a soft drink all day.
Over in Whiteville, another team recruit
ed by Pat was doing the same thing.
Cost to the residents? Not a dime.
Market value of all those cuts, styles and
perms? At least in the high hundreds,
maybe more. The beauty elves did so many
heads they lost track of the number.
"I buy all the perms," Pat explains, say
ing she's learned over the years to get them
by the dozen and to stretch them as far as
they'll go. "Some of these little ladies' hair
is really thin, and you can sometimes do
three heads with one perm."
'Honey, You Have Your Time'
It all started one November when Pat
happened to be at a Whiteville nursing
home visiting a relative.
"A lady in the next room called to me
and asked me to come in and talk to her.
She said she had nobody."
Pat visited with the woman, then began
wishing she had the money to to do some
thing nice for people like that. The inner
voice told her, "Honey, you have your
It occurred to her that she might be able
to give the residents a lift by helping them
STAFF PHOTO BY LYNN CARLSON
PAT LONG sets a nursing home resident's hair in Southport. Her tno Christmas volunteer projects serve hundreds in fa
cilities in Shallotte, Southport, Whiteville and Lake Waccamaw.
gussy up for the holidays. "We all feel bet
ter when we look good, and that goes for
people in the nursing home, too."
After giving free hairdos in Whiteville
for a while, she started feeling had about
not doing the same in Brunswick County,
so the Southport nursing home was added.
At that time, Shallotte had no nursing
homes. "It didn't seem right not to be doing
any in my own county. I didn't have the
heart to leave them out."
Then at some point, the stocking. project
began. Pat recruited a Santa to go to nurs
ing homes and deliver carefully packed and
planned Christmas stockings stuffed full of
fruit, candy and personal items, colognes
and after-shave lotion and warm socks.
This year, 575 nursing home residents re
ceived them, delivered by Santa Claus him
self (who happens, under the beard, to look
a little like Pat's son-in-law).
She can't help admitting to being a bit
partial to her Lake Waccamaw friends,
many of whom are mentally disabled adults
who still believe in Santa. One year she
packed them all in her tour bus and drove
them to see the Christmas lights in
McAdenville and took them out for burgers
and hot dogs.
It was then she realized that if she didn't
Icarn to limit her elfin generosity just a lit
tle bit, things were going to get out of hand.
"I'm just not woman enough to physically
pick up the ones who can't walk, anil I just
didn't have the heart to take some and
leave the others behind," she explained.
While the hairdo project was just too big
to add another site, the stocking project
could be begun every January and continue
throughout the year.
It gets help from Pat's personal and cor
porate friends and clients, who give money
or items to include throughout the year.
Troubles Of Her Ow n
Pat has continued her holiday efforts de
spite her own personal hard times, through
sickness and through that terrible time
when her tour office in Shallotte was set
afire by a drifter who broke in looking for
money to steal.
Because of an oversight, her business in
surance had lapsed. She didn't even find
out until she went to file a claim to recover
her losses, including two special computers
worth $20,000. used for booking airline
tickets. Also destroyed were her mailing
lists, a leased photocopier and all the trea
sured photographs of her holiday visits to
the nursing home.
She says she'll never reconcile herself to
the fact that the man who burned her office
may never make restitution ? he made bail
and disappeared months after his arrest.
But she never skipped a beat on Christmas
for her old folks, even though she's paying
for the old equipment and its replacements
at the same time.
"We just work our fannies off." she
quips, adding that she does clients" hair be
fore and after putting in a full day at the of
fice and running her bus tours, all the while
keeping an eye open year-round for things
to put in the Christmas stockings.
It's a lot to handle, but "I just don't have
the heart to drop them."
For that reason, she doesn't have a lot of
patience with people who don't give of
themselves to people in need. "People bet
ter not tell me they don't have the time? I
She concludes. "Somehow the good
l-ord has helped me manage. And when I
see those wonderful people and the love in
their eyes, it makes it all worthwhile."
"I just didn't have the heart to..." begins
many of Pat's sentences when she starts ex
plaining how her efforts have grown. It
would be more accurate if she said. "I've
got too much heart not to...."
Merci, Gracias, Gratzia, Danke Schon, Spaceba
However you say it,
a world of thanks to all of you.
East Gate Square, Shallotte ? 1-800-852-2736
Wishing you a pool full of clean
fun this holiday season!
To All Our Friends & Patrons From Betty, Bobby A the staff of...
PROFESSIONAL POOL MAINTENANCE
Hwy. 179, Island Village Specialty Shops, Ocean Isle
Beach (Behind IGA) ? 579-8828
9rfay the tight of Mis Cove
ivarm your heart.
Ifianfe, friends, for
your /(ind support.
Holden Beach Road ? Shallotta
Once again we want to thank you
our customers and friends, for
your patronage. We hope to con
tinue to serve you for many more
Christmas seasons to come.
P.O BOX 3198 ? SHALLOTTE, NIC. 28459
from your full
? ? w ?gaa?ga5ag=r= Mirror Co*
?CM WHEb Red Bug Rd., Shallotte
? IlJ 754-9950/
CT993 THE BRUNSWICK BEACON
Our best wishes
HOLIDAYS AND A
Wall Street ? Shallotte