Elder statesman Rep. Eugene Warrick, attending a recent function at Sheffield Manor, a local nursing home facility, was mistaken for a resident, and was detained there for two days before administrators positively identify him, and allowed him to leave.
The 83-year-old Warrick, a half-century veteran legislator serving the 67th District, was the scheduled special guest at the center’s 50th anniversary celebration on Wednesday. Rep. Warrick last visited the center as a freshman congressman in 1965 when he served as Master of Ceremonies for its ribbon cutting and grand opening.
None of the center’s staff, nor the administrator, were born when Warrick was first elected, and they claimed they didn’t recognize him. The planned guest appearance was coordinated by Warrick’s office staff and the facility’s CEO, who was the center’s original administrator, and who is headquartered in Ontario.
Despite the corroboration of his identity by several of the facility residents, Warrick was isolated and not permitted to make any telephone calls. It was only after a nursing assistant saw a news report about the missing congressman, that Warrick was released from the facility.
During his last congressional campaign, Warrick successfully lobbied for redistricting his precincts. The move essentially gerrymandered the northwest section of the state to include a majority of retirement and assisted living centers, convalescent homes, and skilled nursing facilities, whose residents were both his contemporaries and the bulk of his voting base.
Rep. Warrick outlived his ideals, but continuously has been re-elected by a more than 70% majority. He is best known for his Carnival Litter Bill which prohibits the use of confetti or Silly String® during public celebrations, e.g., parades and outdoor concerts.
Prior to the nursing home’s commemoration ceremony, Rep Warrick enjoyed a tasty brunch of poached eggs and toast points in the facility’s cafeteria. He was later found dozing in the center’s solarium. The congressman was detained when he failed to provide proper identification. When asked why he had wandered away before the ceremony, Warrick stated that he had been woolgathering, and lost his way in the labyrinth-like hallways of the facility.
Administrators stated the mix-up was exacerbated when a morning head-count revealed one resident was missing from the center, but it was unclear who was AWOL. Since Warrick did not have a visitor’s badge, nor a photo ID, it was assumed he was the unaccounted for octogenarian.
The stray resident has yet to be located, and a Silver Alert has been issued.