Ed and Lucille Propp could probably thank the polka for their 31 years of marriage. It all started one evening in 1985.
Although they both lived in the small town of Kamsack, Sask., they had never met until they coincidentally attended the same singles dance, about 80 kilometres away in Yorkton.
Lucille recalled trying to teach Ed how to dance the heel-and-toe polka.
“He didn’t quite get it,” she said with a laugh. “But what got me was his smile.”
Ed was a heavy equipment operator for the area’s rural municipality, while Lucille worked for 20 years as the assistant to the administrator of Kamsack’s small hospital.
Shortly after their marriage, they decided to retire to Penticton where other family members were already residing.
This was the second marriage for them both. Ed has two children and two-stepchildren plus four grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren, while Lucille has three children, four grandchildren and eight great-grandkids.
Now the Propps have made a $30,000 donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide $20 million in medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.
“We use the hospital so much that we thought we should pay something back,” he said. “We can’t just keep taking and taking.”
Lucille suffers from a blood disorder (myelodysplasia) which requires her to undergo a blood transfusion every two weeks.
“It takes four-and-a-half to five hours, but the staff are so caring,” she said.
Ed suffered a heart attack several years ago and has undergone knee surgery at PRH.
The couple are also active long-time members of the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre Society.
Ed served for four years on the Drop-In Centre board, including a year as vice-president. He also helped the building committee fundraise for their current South Main Street facility – a move from their previous home in the former Hansel & Gretel motel and restaurant at Skaha Lake Road and Green Avenue.
“We still make greeting cards for people who are ill or who passed away,” Lucille added. “We’ve done that for many, many years.”
Construction of the new patient care tower at PRH is now underway. It should be ready for patients by early 2019.
Related: Patient care tower moves ahead