Beyond the Blizzard: Rylan’s 72-Hour Shift

May 8, 2024
Rylan serves Parkland Antigonish resident, Jean Flory, her morning cup of tea.

A three-day blizzard brought Nova Scotia, and team member Rylan DeCoste to a standstill back in February. 

Rylan, a high school student and part-time team member, plays a vital role at Parkland Antigonish. He serves as a concierge, managing the main entrance, and is part of the waitstaff, handling meal service for residents and guests. Approaching his one-year work anniversary in April, Rylan considers the residents and team members as family, a sentiment strengthened during the blizzard when he was stranded at Parkland Antigonish for three days.

“The staff were very supportive. The managers went above and beyond to make sure that everyone had a nice room to sleep in, and they even delivered us food and washed my clothes,” said Rylan of his weekend stay at Parkland.  

Brenna MacDonald, Business Manager and Lifestyle Consultant at Parkland Antigonish, commended Rylan’s dedication during the snowfall, describing him as a “rock star” who took on multiple roles and coordinated staff efforts. 

“Rylan stayed all weekend and helped in multiple roles and with coordinating staff as a main point of contact. He even had the opportunity to get a ride home with his mother but stayed to help another night,” said Brenna. 

This kind of support is not a one-time event. Fitting for the small town in the northeastern corner of Nova Scotia, Antigonish has a reputation of being a family friendly town. “When there is a storm, the managers will offer to drive to our personal residences to pick us up and drive us to work and give us a lift home when our shift is over,” said Rylan.  

Since starting with Parkland in April 2023, Rylan has discovered a passion for working with seniors. His favourite perk about his serving role is connecting with the residents on a personal level in the meal hall, and identifying how they’re unique in their food preferences. 

“I look forward to clearing Calvin’s dishes because I sit and chat about baseball for a few minutes each night. John will order a salad with poppyseed before his meal with a bowl of fresh fruit for dessert while Alice likes peach yogurt. Joe will always grab a cookie for dessert, but it can’t be anything with a nut in it. Not because of an allergy, but because he just doesn’t like it. That sort of thing makes this place special.”  

Rylan has also discovered a love for hospitality and says managing a Parkland community would be a dream of his. He has had many conversations with Parkland Antigonish General Manager, Adam Jamieson, about his own experiences in management, and hopes to follow in his shoes someday.

“This job has opened my eyes to the world of hospitality management,” said Rylan. “Being able to take care of others and manage a Parkland or hotel is an interest of mine.”

Rylan plans to pursue a business degree from St. Francis Xavier University, while still working at Parkland Antigonish throughout his studies.

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Rylan in his Concierge role waiting to greet residents and their families.


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