Wilton hospice patients get their wish — a haircut

WILTON — Try to snap a photo of someone these days and inevitably their hand goes to their head with a lament about the state of their hair.

In light of all that’s been going on these past few months, it’s a small problem but an annoyance nonetheless. And it was vexing two residents of Wilton Meadows Health Center.

Felix Peninpede and Giuseppe Palmieri, both hospice patients being cared for by RVNAhealth, found themselves desperately in need of a trim.

“It’s the little things,” said RVNAhealth nurse Lauren Messina who took their situation seriously. “Their long hair was driving them both crazy, even though it looked quite handsome and their wealth of hair was very impressive.”

Enter the RVNAhealth wishes program, which works to grant hospice patients their special wishes, both small and big.

“In this case, the wish was relatively straightforward,” said MJ Heller, director of philanthropy, who helps manage the program. “We simply needed a barber and a nice day.”

Both wishes were granted. Jorge Romero, a Ridgefield police officer as well as a licensed barber at A2 Salon in Ridgefield, was happy to volunteer his services and free time on a late spring day that was just right for al fresco barbering.

Romero arrived with his barbering tools, plus mask, gloves and shield, as well as musical accompaniment from decades gone by.

“Mr. Peninpede favors songs from the 1930s,” Romero said, “so we enjoyed our time together, sharing stories, and accompanied by the sounds of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. It was a wonderful experience for me and both gentlemen seemed very pleased with their cuts. We all feel better when our hair is in order.”

Ellen Casey, administrator at Wilton Meadows, agreed. “The comfort, health and happiness of our residents is always our top priority and it was a treat to have such a creative solution to an irksome —but solvable —problem. Next time around, I might get a haircut myself.”

The RVNAhealth wishes program is made possible by a grant from the Ridgefield Thrift Shop. While this wish came with no expenses, the program has supported the desires of many RVNAhealth hospice patients, offering such treats as an evening out on the town to a small cheese pizza.