Meet Ken and Monique
Both a friend and neighbour to many Parkland residents, Ken has become the in-house expert when it comes to pool, providing tips and encouragement with a healthy dose of friendly competition. Ken has an uncanny ability to see the felted tabletop as a roadmap, lining up the cue to get a single target from its starting point to the desired destination, a skill he likely picked up on the road early in his nearly five decades-long career.
At the age of 20, Ken settled into the community he would call home for nearly 50 years, getting married and starting his career as a truck driver which took him to cities and back country roads across Canada. He later became an equipment supervisor, which kept him closer to home where he could spend more time with his wife and three children.
As he approached retirement, Ken found himself considering a new hobby. “I told my wife if I’m going to retire, I’ve got to have something to do, so I bought a used pool table,” he recalls. “I’ve had that pool table for about nine years, but I can’t remember ever playing pool before that.”
When Ken sold his home, finding a community full of caring people and activities was important. He found it, along with new friends like Monique, at Parkland.
“I’d see Ken playing pool in the afternoons, so we started playing together,” says Monique, a Wellness Coach at Parkland. “I enjoy learning the different angles and the competition. Making big shots by accident is always exciting.”
Monique has been a team member at Parkland for more than a decade. As a Wellness Coach, she plans a range of social activities and exercise classes for residents. Surprisingly, Monique never played pool before meeting Ken.
“Monique hasn’t played pool a whole lot, but she’s coming on strong!” Ken says, with a chuckle. “She has some real good games and some real poor ones—she’s a good sport.”
Ken enjoys playing pool with Monique and his fellow residents every afternoon around 3:00p.m. For Monique, connecting with residents and fostering an environment where neighbours gather to laugh and learn something new is one of her favourite parts about her career.
“It makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day,” says Monique. “You become friends with them, you get to see your friends every day at work”
Outside of playing pool and staying in touch with his three children, Ken regularly stays active and is a known celebrity around his Parkland community. “My favourite thing about living here is the people and activities, and when you have people like Monique around, that keeps people happy,” says Ken. “To live here, you’re not alone anymore and that’s the one thing I really like about it—the people that live here are your family.”
When asked to describe Ken, Monique pauses with evident admiration. “He’s always so positive,” she says. “He’s very kind,” says Monique. Like true friends, neither keeps score—they always start a new day and a new game from scratch.
Amazing connections are made each day in our communities. Read more of their stories.