Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. CEO Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw presents the Danny and Martie Murphy Leadership Award to Steve MacDonald, left, and Keith Merry. The pair accepted the societys top honour on behalf of the Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club, which for almost 20 years has provided the society with a facility to run its operation. Guardian photo by Jim Day
The Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. pays a buck a month for a house considered a true treasure.
"There is no way to put a dollar figure on it,'' says society CEO Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw.
"It is invaluable.''
The Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club authored the sweetheart deal almost 20 years ago.
The club purchased the building on Fitzroy Street for roughly $90,000 for the purpose of providing the Alzheimer Society affordable accommodations from which to do its good work.
One dollar a month seemed to be a reasonable lease agreement, so that arrangement has remained in place for years.
Over the past two decades, the Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club has also spent an additional $40,000 or so on renovations and upkeep of the two-storey house that is located next door to the Salvation Army.
Club member Steve MacDonald, the driving force behind the charitable initiative, says the Alzheimer Society can continue operating out of the building for next to nothing for as long as it wishes.
"We purchased the house knowing it would be a lifetime commitment to the Alzheimer Society,'' said MacDonald.
"It is one of our highly respected projects that we do each and every year.''
Hendricken-Eldershaw hopes the society stays put in its current location forever.
She says the building feels more like a home than an office.
"Individuals who work with us ... often the message that we receive from them is 'you know I thought when I came in here this was going to be so sad because this is just such a sad disease','' she said.
"But the space is so warm and inviting, the staff are so warm and inviting, that really you don't feel that there isn't hope, that there isn't an opportunity to make a difference here.''
Hendricken-Eldershaw says in addition to the building setting up more like a comfortable home environment than a stuffy office, the nominal lease agreement helps the society's bottom line.
"If we had to pay for this amount of space to be in a location that is accessible and a location that is close to downtown Charlottetown, we wouldn't be able to cover the cost,'' she said.
Hendricken-Eldershaw says the Alzheimer Society regularly lauds the Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club for the meaningful contribution.
"We sing their praises every meeting that we have,'' she said.
"I can't even get through a meeting without being thankful for the gift of the home.''
On Thursday, the society extended its gratitude in a more formal manner.
The Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club received the Danny and Martie Murphy Leadership Award - the highest honour presented by the Alzheimer Society of P.E.I.
The award, given annually, recognizes a person or organization that works toward or promotes excellence in the field of Alzheimer's and related diseases.
MacDonald says the award means a great deal to him and the other Lions Club members.