People who live at Willow Brook eat very well! Our chefs have won numerous competitions, going toe-to-toe with those from the best restaurants in central Ohio. In fact, they have taken first place honors at least once in every category at The Taste of Worthington competition.
While watching all the painful images of the Boston Marathon bombings, Janet and I were talking about the uncertainty of our lives.
The three who were killed that day left home that morning with no inkling that the end was so near. The biblical writer James was right: “...life is a vapor, that appears for a little time, then vanishes away.”
We have no guarantee on tomorrow – or this afternoon. When you consider all the ways there are to launch us into the afterlife – a Boston bombing, the infestation of a malevolent microbe, a meteor falling on your head, a vital organ failure, a violent encounter with a Mack truck – it’s a wonder any of us are still walking the planet. But I have to say, I’m happy I am. You and I, we’re the survivors. And each morning as I rise to a new day, I am reminded that life is beautiful.
Last evening as I drove home to Worthington, a stunning rainbow graced my left flank. A gentle mist was falling, and the sun’s rays were low. So boom. A rainbow appeared!
I don’t understand the dynamics of light refraction, but I am mighty thankful for an occasional demonstration of the phenomenon. And guess what – I’m even a little color blind. So I can only imagine how rich it must have looked to others. But even with a red-green deficiency, I was moved.
I cherish life and all that it brings me – the people I love, an evening with Janet on our back deck, my dear Willow Brook, the aroma of a morning coffee, a horizon-to-horizon rainbow. I never take anything for granted these days, and I’m glad I’m still here. And I’m glad you are too.
The Terrace Room was full Friday, April 26, when volunteers from all three campuses came together for the annual Volunteer Reception. More than 150 volunteers attended the reception in their honor at The Village. The Gift of Love award is presented each year to one volunteer from each campus, and our congratulations go out to them.
After a truly wonderful hors d'oeurvres reception enjoyed by all, Thomas Johnson was announced as the honoree for Willow Brook Christian Home for his exemplary service and love of the residents. Tom serves The Home with a heart full of caring and spends hours each month calling bingo, helping on trips, talking with the guys, leading games, and many other activities.
Carol Conklin was also honored as an outstanding volunteer at Delaware Run. Carol, who is the daughter of a Willow Brook at Delaware Run resident, is in her third year of volunteering every week, conducting a craft class in the assisted living and memory care centers, teaching residents to make whimsical clay animals and other creatures. She also helps on trips, and once hosted a luncheon around the pool at her home.
On the Village campus Jan and Bid Andrews are our honorees for 2013. Jan has directed the Willow Brook Singers each week for the past seven years. She has touched the lives of everyone with song and brought a smile to all in the Village. Bid has shared many evenings with the residents of the Centrum and Cherith bringing us Gaither Family music and a prayer or two.
We are all indebted to these four fine individuals and grateful indeed for their gifts of love.
Larry Harris, Willow Brook CEO and Delaware Run residents, Arlene Shoemaker and Bill Savely were on Daytime Columbus with Gail Hogan letting Central Ohio viewers know what makes Willow Brook such a great place to live.
Volunteers bring productivity, accomplishment and joy to the lives and establishments they serve and our volunteers are no different. Pictured here is Clayton Eckert, one of our faithful volunteers for memory care. Clayton began sharing his musical talents with the residents when his dad was admitted to our Alzheimer's wing. His dad past away almost a year ago now, Clayton continues to perform for his most appreciative audience. We see a lot of people get involved when their relatives are here and then stop coming, which is very understandable, when their loved one passes. Just a few rare people see the value and have the ability in their schedules to keep coming and bringing great joy to the residents still here. Clayton is a special volunteer and we pay tribute to him for his gift of music and time to our residents.
Last month Willow Brook’s board of trustees and many staff leaders gathered on a Friday evening prior to the board’s Saturday business meeting. We do this each year. A retreat we call it. Sometimes we will invite a speaker to address some aspect of aging services related to our ministries. Sometimes we will seek enlightenment from a seer who, through academic study or extensive experience in the field, will peer into his or her crystal ball and predict where things are heading with regard to innovations in the field, government regulation, or financing structures for communities such as ours.
This year we took a different turn. We settled back into our seats and spent three hours looking in our collective rearview mirror. We talked about our beginnings, going all the way back to 1965 when our founders set up the original corporation. We discussed their motivations and strategies, and early tribulations. We marveled at our humble beginnings – the little nursing home we purchased near Worthington 41 years ago. Then we traced four-decades of Willow Brook history, which is largely a chronicle of construction projects in Worthington and Delaware.
Two of our board members have been with us almost from the start – Leroy Bumpus and Frank Chappell. We asked them to walk us down memory lane where they shared priceless first-hand recollections from our past. Then we finished up with a panel discussion that included five Willow Brook staff members and trustees who answered the question, What is it about Willow Brook – what drew you here, what keeps you here? It was a powerful evening, packed with memories and inspiring stories. I was reminded anew just why I have invested 38 years of my life in this ministry – I love it!