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Gordie’s Joyful and Welcoming Heart

group photograph of the Church Street team in 2015

The Church street team (from left) Anne-Marie, Lori-Ann, Brian, Mariam, Gordie, Thimo, Darlene and Kevin.


Darlene and I started at Church Street House in 2014; I was an assistant, and she was on a school placement. Many of our common memories revolve around Gordie Henry and his unique way of embracing all who came to the house, how he helped us feel right at home. Gordie never failed to say “thank you” for even the simplest of things. Every night, as Darlene was on her way home, he would say “I hope you’ll come back.” Such simple, yet powerful words, and they remain with her to this day.


photo of Gord Henry and Amanda Winnington-Ingram

Gordie and Amanda. In 2016, as Gordie aged and needed more nursing care, he moved to a long term care home nearby where he continues to receive regular visits from Daybreak friends and his family.


It was truly special for both of us to go see Gordie on Christmas Day in 2017. The whole house had gone a few days earlier, and that visit had its own beauty. Seeing Gordie with the Church Street gang again showed what we all knew to be true—Gordie will always be part of the heart and soul of our house, no matter where he lives. This time, Darlene said we should take him a can of Ginger Ale, his favourite drink. Brian’s enthusiastic “Yeah!” in response to this suggestion confirmed it for us.


Gordie didn’t seem to have much energy when we got there – but the second the Ginger Ale came out? So did Gordie! His head popped up, he chugged it, and let out several deep chuckles. He even gifted me and Darlene with his signature “Oh, yeah!” — reminding us that he’s still Gordie. We had gone to visit him, bearing gifts of our own, yet Gordie ended up giving us the gift he has been offering since day one—a joyful and welcoming heart.


~ Lori-Ann Whyte, Church St. House Assistant