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Surprising the party planner

Activity director gets surprise retirement party

On Wednesday morning, the staff managed to pull off a surprise retirement party at the Sanctuary of the Ohio Valley retirement home.

“I didn’t have a clue,” said activity director Debbie Osborne. “Usually, I plan all the parties and I do it all when it comes to parties, surprises, gifts, whatever. And how they didn’t talk about it and I didn’t find out about it, I don’t know.”

Even her fiancé, Charles Oldham, knew about it and didn’t spill the beans and surprised her when he showed up for the party.

Not only did they keep the party secret, they sent Osborne to the grocery store to get ice cream for a banana split party later in the day. While she was gone, they set up a table of food, flowers, gifts and a cake for Osborne.

“This is unbelievable,” she said. “I didn’t expect them to do something like this. I expected a retirement card, that’s it.”

Sanctuary of the Ohio Valley administrator Brian Eichenlaub said it was very, very difficult to get the party organized in secret.

“But we were able to work together and have back door meetings and get it planned under her nose,” he explained. “But she more than deserves this, this is just a little drop. I would like to be able to do so much more for her for all she has done for the residents over the years.”

Osborne has been the activity director for over 15 years. She started 22 years ago working weekends as an activity assistant on the weekends. She was trained by then-activity director Louise Hubert. Osborne took the necessary classes and took over when Hubert retired.

“I’ve been here long enough, the staff is like family,” Osborne said.

She said her favorite part of the job is taking care of the residents.

“I’m going to miss my residents,” Osborne said. “Some of them don’t have families and they really depend on me to tell them that it is going to be OK. I do things for them; I shop for them if they don’t have families. They are like family to me. And I am going to miss my friends here.”

After her last day on Friday, she and Oldham are heading to Indianapolis for an NHRA race and then head to the Florida Keys with family.

Eichenlaub said they are going to miss Osborne.

“Being the activity director, she is the explosion of fun you see everyday,” he said, adding that it is difficult on the days she is not there, but everyone can feel a difference in the building.

“She just livens everything up. The residents are absolutely in love with her. It is going to be difficult to replace that personality.”