Resi Nagler’s infectious demeanor instantly brightens the interior of the shiny white 2014 Sorrento SX. The roomy SUV with European inspired design, was graciously loaned to Okanagan Woman by Vernon Kia, located on Vernon’s auto mile. Sales manager Curt Jensen was honoured to help celebrate the magazine’s third makeover day with the 2014 Sorrento SX, which was voted best new SUV by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. As Resi snuggles into one of the heated seats to share her story, we understand why. This is comfort.
Resi’s grin warms the hearts of the countless Vernon residents whose lives are improved by her volunteer activities. For the past seven years the energetic septuagenarian, who worked as a section cook on a stop of the White Pass and Yukon Rail Route in northern BC, before spending 30 years at the Royal Bank Data Centre in Vancouver, has served one day at week for Vernon Senior Services. "I work as a receptionist, water plants, whatever needs to be done," she says. "I also sell tickets and deliver advertising for Vernon Winter Carnival and campaign door to door for cancer fundraising." Throughout the day, bit by bit, I learn more about her generous spirit. "I visit hospital patients, residents of Noric House and church members at home," she says. "And, as a Eucharistic minister for St. James Catholic Church I administer communion to people who can’t get to church."
But, I’m stopped short by her positive attitude in the face of personal tragedy. Resi’s husband, the love of her life she had followed to Canada from Germany in 1958, passed away eleven years ago. Then, four years ago, their only son was killed in a truck accident. How can she go on, I ask myself. Somehow she does, in grand style.
Resi has invited fellow volunteer Edmonton born Joyce Pruss, aka the Pension Queen, to join her for this makeover day. Every Thursday, for the past 16 years, Joyce has helped pensioners fill out forms for income tax, old age security pension and whatever else they need. Twenty years working in Sparwood’s BC Access Centre armed her with ample form filling expertise.
By the time I’ve heard Joyce’s story I know these two pals deserve an extraordinary day. Joyce’s husband passed away two years ago, but she’s not really alone. A poster woman for the sandwich generation, Joyce helps to care for her 95-year-old mother as well as keeping up with her three children, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. "Five generations. I’m loaded with family." Both work hard to take care of themselves. Resi works out at Curves and does Nordic Pole walking with TOPS, while Joyce bowls and golfs with friends.
How do you show appreciation for long-term dedication to volunteer service?
Could it be time for two friends to catch up on each other’s lives over a relaxed lunch away from their responsibilities with Vernon Senior Citizens Services? Or a bit of pampering at a spa? Maybe a stylishly flattering new outfit enhanced by a revamped haircut, makeup and glittering fingertips? The answer: all of the above. Into the mix add the tall, debonair British chauffeur/photographer, Okanagan College student Jamie Cottington, and you have the ingredients for a magical day.
We begin at Crave Massage in Vernon’s Fruit Union Plaza. Registered Massage Therapist and Crave owner, Sarah Hobbs, welcomes Resi and Joyce. "I’ve been inspired by their stories. Being part of their day is a nice way to reach out to community." About an hour later, the ladies emerge from the dimly lit room, where they have relaxed under a warm blanket, been calmed by gentle music and revelled in a custom Emminence facial with Estheticians Cara McConnell and April Nolan. "I feel renewed," says Joyce.
Around the corner on Vernon’s Main Street, the next surprise is a haircut, style and makeup at Gabriella’s Hair and Tanning Esthetics Studio. "Gabriella explains what she is doing and why while she is cutting your hair," says Resi. "She’s a patient communicator." Yelana Vilnius, who came to Vernon from Lithuania via San Francisco, heightens the ladies’ natural beauty with makeup. "I hardly ever wear lipstick. She makes us step out of our comfort zone. I chose the burgundy to complement my shoes," says Resi.
Next we head across the street to Billy D’s Family Restaurant. Owner Kim McKiernan, still high from her successful open house the past weekend, greets the ladies with warm hugs. Kim teamed up with Vernon and District Immigrant Services to provide free pizza to those in need. "The line up went around the block," she says.
Both devilishly order white wine and decide on the barbecue ribs. "We’re on the same wave length," says Resi. "The ribs are awesome," says Joyce. "They fell right off the bone." Too full for dessert, Kim invites them to return for dessert and coffee another day.
Rejuvenated, we cross the street to Canyon Clothing to meet with Lynn Wurtele, co-owner with husband Glenn, for the final touches of the day. Resi chooses a gray pant suit designed in Canada by Pretty Woman. Lynn accessorizes the hoodie with a Joli scarf picking up the fuschia of the Niki Biki camisole. For Joyce it’s a white and silver top with black leggings, by another Canadian designer, Frank Lyman, paired with a La Llama scarf and NikiBiki tank.
Each takes a turn in the peaceful niche in the back of the store for a manicure with Esthetician Adeleen Mill. She uses long lasting Orly Gel FX Shimmer Glitter to strengthen and glamourize their nails.
Jamie re-enters, ready for the shoot. Reminiscent of the moment from Sunset Boulevard when actress Gloria Swanson says, "All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up," Resi lounges on the settee. "Bring it on," she says. "I am learning to accept the attention with grace."
MAKEOVER (Spring 2014)
Bring It On
Story by Patti Shales Lefkos
Photography by Pinstripe Photography
THESE BUSINESSES GRACIOUSLY DONATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TO MAKE THIS FABULOUS DAY FOR RESI AND JOYCE