A Moment in History
Ed Adams, a resident at Laurier House Lynnwood, just turned 98. “One never knows how old you will really get,” and even as he nears the century mark he continues to have great ideas, one of which is a 38 chapter memoir of his life’s learning’s and crazy coincidences.
As I sat and listened to Ed’s story I am again reminded of the wonderfully rich history we have in our centres. These are incredible pioneers who have done some pretty outstanding things which have shaped our community and our world.
Ed was a shy freckle-faced redhead who grew up in Winnipeg. After a stint of service during WWII he left his posting in Quebec and eventually moved to Edmonton where he worked for Canadian Pacific Airlines. His keen interest in flying and instrumentation had him in charge of aeronautic instrumentation. However, this did not hold his interest for long, and he soon ventured out on his own, opening up Dominion Instruments on Jasper and 109 Street. Ed had two major inventions that had huge significance and impact on healthcare and industry. The first was the safety device that was used on the iron lung. Used primarily in the 50’s the iron lung was designed to help patients who had polio. However, there were frequent power or pump failures which put the patient at great risk, sometimes even fatally. Ed was asked by Dr. Nelson Nix to help solve the problem. And solve it he did. Within a few short days, Ed came up with a safety instrument that would quickly alert the nurses to any operational failures and give them enough time to make quick adjustments, ensuring the iron lung was recalibrated for safe operation. Many lives were saved because of this incredible safety invention.
Years and many inventions later, Ed received a call from Neil Armstrong. He had read about Ed’s latest patent of a system that tested underground tanks for leaks. When Ed received Neil’s call he actually paused for a moment, barely taking a breath. Was this the real Neil Armstrong? As the conversation continued, Ed realized how important his latest invention was. Neil was very interested in how it would positively affect the industry and wanted to help market it. The two teamed up and as Ed said, Neil’s great public presence “could sure open doors.” This unique system is still used all over the world and bragged about as part of Alberta’s innovation history. (www.abheritage.ca)
The safety device for the iron lung was incredibly important, but the emissions monitoring invention was as Ed reflected, “smart as hell!”
Recently, a community group called the Socialistas for Change put together a 2017 fundraising calendar of seniors in care. The group consists of young professional women who support various local charities like CapitalCare Foundation. They were looking for calendar models and Ed thought “why not?”
After months of planning and preparation the photo shoot took place at CapitalCare’s Laurier House Lynnwood. The day was so special for the residents, including hair and makeup artistry, all donated to spiff up the residents for the photo shoot. Over 20 residents took part in the calendar project, all feeling pretty ‘Hollywood’!