Amber Hills Assisted Living resident Sam Barsky and his friends enjoy a day of fishing at Lake Rowena, Ebensburg on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

EBENSBURG – Dan Kowalski, of Florida, doesn’t get to visit his father, Leo, as often as he wishes, but Tuesday he got to relive childhood memories of fishing during the Cambria Care Center and Amber Hills Assisted Living outing at Lake Rowena.

“It’s a good opportunity,” Kowalski said.

“It’s something I did as a kid. We used to go fishing on weekends. That was our thing.”

The pair frequented Glendale and Cresson lakes, and as the 62-year-old recalled those cherished moments, he had to hold back tears.

His father moved to Cambria Care Center in Februrary, and at first, COVID-19 restrictions kept Kowalski from visiting more frequently.

Now that those have been lifted, he stops by every other month or so.

Tuesday was the first time the residents at both facilities were out and about because of the pandemic and the second time they went fishing.

Leo Kowalski, 93, was excited to be on the lake shore, spending quality time with his son.

The Cresson native said he used to be an avid fisherman, and was enjoying the fresh air.

“It’s good to get out of the building,” Leo Kowalski said.

He was one of 59 residents – up by about 10 since the last trip in 2019 – from Amber Hills and Cambria Care that were bused to the lake for the day.

The group, which lined the shore next to the parking lot, arrived at 10:30 a.m. and left at 2:30 p.m.

Employees from the agencies packed lunches for them, so they could have a picnic in the sunshine.

“I think that because of not being out of the building for so long ... some of the residents just wanted to come out and socialize,” Cambria Care and Amber Hills activities director Keana Myers said.

She organized the trip, and was pleased to see everyone having fun.

“This is, like, complete joy,” Myers said.

“It makes my heart happy.”

Dan Miller, 49, of Patton, was one of the residents who couldn’t help but smile.

“It’s neat,” he said.

Miller used to fish and hoped to catch something during the outing.

There were also community members who volunteered.

One of those individuals was Janet Fowler, of Carrolltown.

The retiree said she has a nephew at Cambria Care Center, and while visiting, saw a flyer for the event and wanted to help.

“I just love this,” Fowler said. “I love these people. They’re wonderful.”

During her time with the group, she helped cast out and reel in fishing lines.

She also assisted those who caught a fish.

“It’s a beautiful day, and they’re enjoying it so much,” Fowler said.

She commended Cambria Care and Amber Hills for scheduling the event, and the care they provide to the residents. 

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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