The residents of Artesian Home in Sulphur are always down for a party

The duo known as Volunteers of Artesian wear many hats. Kathy McKay and Robyn Gray regularly visit the residents of the Artesian Home, drop by with goodies and know how to plan the perfect party.

On Feb. 22, however, the tables were turned, and it was the residents themselves wearing the hats at a special event called the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. That day, every resident in the facility had their own personalized hat to complement a story read by the Mad Hatter herself.

Kathy McKay played the role of the Mad Hatter. In full costume, she read each resident their own unique story, then she and her fellow volunteer treated everyone to tea and cookies.

“I had made up the stories for each resident, and the two of us made the hats,” McKay said. “We hunted for things at the Goodwill store and then glued things on to make them all different.”

McKay said that the stories were each a few lines long and based on the characteristics of each resident. 

“For example, maybe if they really smiled a lot the story had something to do with smiling, or if somebody has a really strong faith, I put that into their story,” McKay said. “One lady’s hat was called ‘I Can Fly.’ It had really pretty flowers and a butterfly on it, and her story talked about how her faith let her fly through life. In the good times and the bad her faith was what got her through.”

McKay said that the residents are now very possessive of their hats.

“A lot of them hung their hats up in their room, and some of them ended up wearing them for a couple of days,” McKay said. “It was really sweet seeing their faces and knowing how much fun they were having.”

This was the second show the pair have held for the residents of Artesian Home. In the first show, the residents of the facility were movie stars.

“We got all of them costumes and had music for each one,” McKay said. “Then we told a little story about what actor they were.”

The costume party was followed by a choreographed dance routine.

“We were the Andrews Sisters, and when we got all done with everything, one of the residents said it wasn’t long enough! They wanted more time,” McKay said.

Currently the duo is busy making plans for their next show, one with a wild west theme. McKay said that anyone who wants to help is welcome to join in the fun.

“They can leave their name at the office at the nursing home, and we can call them the next time we’re going to do something for the nursing home,” McKay said. “We also take donations and have special funds set aside to get Christmas gifts.”

Ultimately, everything the Volunteers of Artesian do is about helping the residents have fun.

“We just try to go in and talk to them to make them laugh,” McKay said.

The Artesian Home is located at 1415 West 15th Street in Sulphur.