Scott Mills gets help unloading a delivery of irises at a Keizer retirement community.

Scott Mills wanted to find a way to keep the spirit of the postponed KeizerFEST alive. 

“I live in Keizer and unfortunately our annual KeizerFEST (once known as the Keizer Iris Festival) has been postponed,” said Scott Mills, originally from England. “The KeizerFEST is something our seniors always look forward to especially because it is during the iris blooming season and there is a parade. So, we decided to bring part of the festival to them.” 

Mills went to Schreiners Iris Gardens and spoke with Liz Schreiner, one of the owners. After hearing the story, Liz wanted to chip in and help. On Friday, May 15, which would have been the start of KeizerFEST, they were able to give 700 Keizer senior residents an iris. 

Mills, who works for Signature Healthcare at Home, decided to band together with the senior communities in Keizer that included; Emerald Pointe Retirement Community, The Village at Keizer Ridge, Willamette Lutheran Retirement, The Arbor at Avamere Court, Avamere Court at Keizer and The Oaks at Sherwood Park to make a difference. 

Mills, who understands the traditions of American culture, continued, “Sadly, our world has changed, hopefully on the temporary side. Events are getting cancelled right, left and center due to COVID-19. If we look positively, sometimes we must change the way we do things.”

“Although we weren’t able to see the end result because of restrictions and social distancing, we were still aware of how many smiles we put on their faces.,”said Mills 

“A simple act makes such a difference.” Leah, the activities director at Emerald Pointe added, “After our seniors have been stuck inside for the last two months, I was one of the privileged to see their reaction. It brought tears to my eyes.”  

Below: Some reactions from seniors who got irises last weekend in honor of Keizer's annual KeizerFEST.