Rita Chaput Appreciates Store Owners Who Consider Special Needs

Rita Chaput has been living with the pain of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis since she was a young lady. The past few years her condition has worsened steadily and since September 2005, she has been, “going downhill fast, but I am trying not to let it get me down,” she explained.

“I find it very difficult to walk around and have to use a cane. It is important not to fall when you have my condition, because broken bones will not heal,” Rita continued. “So when Val Mazzuca put in automatic doors in the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre I gave him a big hug. Store owners like Val should get recognition for the little things they do to help make shopping more pleasant for people with disabilities and also for seniors.”

Rita was absolutely thrilled when that same Val Mazzuca offered to give her the power cart she is shown riding. He realized that it was getting more and more difficult for her to walk, especially in the winter snow, so he offered her this mode of transportation so that she could get around the mall area.

Rita Chaput moved to Valley East about 14 years ago from the Flour Mill. She lives right across from the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre and spends a lot of her free time walking indoors and visiting with the merchants and visitors. All of her seven children and eleven grandchildren go with her to the mall whenever they visit.

Val Mazzuca has done a lot during the past couple of years to make the mall a much more “senior friendly” establishment, and people like Rita appreciate everything he has done. For example, there are several comfortable sitting areas located throughout the mall with cloth wing-backed chairs. All of the entrances now have automatic doors which make it easier for people to enter and exit without much difficulty. There is a full range of health services in the mall with doctors, dentists, denturists, chiropractors, opticians, naturopaths, massage therapists, a pharmacy, a walk-in-clinic and monthly blood pressure and cholesterol clinics. Almost every weekend there are community groups and organizations in the mall to provide interesting activities and information to visitors. The mall has been very open to inviting all residents to drop in and walk around the hallways on a regular basis. And, perhaps best of all, you know that the parking lot will always be cleared and clean, even during the most severe winter storms.

“On behalf of people with physical challenges like myself, and all seniors in the area, I want to thank owners of stores who keep us in mind when they are planning the layout of their store. There are a lot of people like me in Valley East and we appreciate the little things you do for us,” Rita concluded.


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