Ohio State University partnership creates geriatric residency program at National Church Residences

Sarah Kidd horiz
Sarah Kidd, a recent graduate of Ohio State University with a doctorate in physical therapy, is the first-ever resident specializing in geriatrics in a new partnership program between Ohio State and National Church Residences. Here she provides physical therapy to a resident at First Community Village.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                    lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Last summer National Church Residences began a partnership with Ohio State University to create a geriatric physical therapy residency program.

“Ohio State needed a partner for the geriatric residency so they asked us if we would partner with them,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehabilitation Services. “We get to cultivate an expert in the field.”

The first resident in the program is Sarah Kidd, who began the program at First Community Village in July 2016.

“They’re helping me prepare to be a credited specialist,” said Kidd, whose residency program runs through July 2017. “I get to experience the geriatric spectrum in one year.”

“This residency is a geriatric specialization,” said Ortlieb. “Sarah, our resident, is a licensed physical therapist who has graduated with her doctorate from Ohio State. This program is an extra year, similar to what a physician would do. She’s elected to do this residency to become a specialist in geriatrics.”

Kidd’s year-long learning experience is a rarity in her field.

“Most physical therapists who are working in geriatrics don’t have this kind of specialization,” Ortlieb said. “There aren’t many opportunities around the country for people to go through geriatric residency.”

In this program, Kidd will get to experience multiple facets of geriatric care specializations, allowing her to obtain experience in all areas of the field.

“This is great for my development,” Kidd said. “There are various geriatric settings. This allows me to figure out where I do thrive and what I struggle with. Every day and every week is different.”

Last summer Kidd spent most of her time at First Community Village, while also doing lab work and student teaching at Ohio State. In early 2017 she began moving into work with a greater focus on Home Health.

“She’ll be there for a few months learning that type of practice,” said Ortlieb. “The last couple months of her residency will be geared toward outpatient care at First Community and wellness at our Centers for Senior Health.”

The residency program also includes mentoring opportunities, didactic (specific education content) work, and a researched case study that will likely be published in medical journals.

“Its wonderful training and career development in one year,” Kidd said. “I just love that the residency gives me mentoring opportunities. I have these experts around me that I can discuss things with.”

When Kidd’s residency is complete it is possible that she could come to work for National Church Residences full-time.
“If they would hire me, I would want to,” she said.

Ortlieb said that in the long term it is her goal to be able to recruit the people who go through the residency – which is limited to one per year – to join the organization.

“We’re doing great things for our mission of helping seniors and for us, we want to be able to cultivate a long-term potential recruiting pool,” she said.

First Community Village offers residents a personal path to wellness

Jackie Metro, Director of Wellness at First Community Village, teaches a tai chi class for residents in December.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – When Dale and Glinna Fretwell arrived at First Community Village in September 2014, Dale was in bad shape.

“He got a blood infection in Florida,” Glinna recalled. “He was in bed for so long, he just lost his muscle strength. When he left the hospital we went to a rehab center. We were just very unhappy there.”

Natives of Virginia, the Fretwells had retired to Florida many years before. But now, with Dale’s illness, the difficulty of being on their own – and in a facility that did not meet their needs – made life particularly hard.

One of their daughters suggested that they consider moving into a community closer to where she lived in Columbus.

“There were four or five places that she visited,” Glinna said. “She has two little boys that came with her and she would ask them what they thought of each place. They told her First Community Village was their favorite. She asked them why. They said because they had candy at the front desk. It’s the little things that are important.”

In addition to the candy, First Community Village had the support services the facility in Florida was lacking.

“We put (Dale) on a plane in Tampa and we brought him straight here,” Glinna said, sitting just outside the physical therapy rooms at First Community Village. “The difference here is night and day. We hadn’t been here 30 minutes when a physical therapist came in and gave him an evaluation.”

“We offer a wellness assessment and we look at each new member holistically and determine their individual needs,” said Jackie Metro, the Director of Wellness at First Community Village. “We work specifically on whatever their needs for improvement are and work to get them to their optimal level of fitness.”

Dale spent about three months in physical therapy before he was able to get back on his feet and move into the manor home the Fretwells purchased.

“This place practically saved my husband’s life,” Glinna said. “He is so thankful for the good healthcare that we have had here.”

First Community Village has always had a wellness program, but in early 2016 National Church Residences enhanced what it had to offer.

“We expanded the program,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehab Services. “We wanted to do wellness from all the domains, not just physical, but intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental. We wanted to have more comprehensive wellness opportunities for the residents there.”

“I am able to tailor their care and make it appropriate to what they need,” Jackie said. “I like to think of it as a nice cycle. There is always a place for each resident.”

For residents who need the most care there is physical therapy. For those who need less, there are group exercise classes and activities.

“You can go from physical therapy and graduate into a group exercise,” Jackie said.

Between five-to-eight classes are offered each weekday at First Community Village, ranging from aqua aerobics in the pool, balance classes, tai chi, yoga, dance, range of motion classes and classes specifically for those with Parkinson’s disease.

“We are regulars at the gym. We use it three days a week,” said Glinna. “And we love the pool. We use it three days a week. It has kept us walking, literally. My husband has had both knees replaces and I had knee surgery, too.”

Jackie said that since the expanded services became available, she has seen a 45 percent increase in the number of physical therapy visits and a 35 percent boost in the number of participants who come to the fitness center.

“We love it here,” Glinna said. “They care for you and go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as you can get.”







A Lifetime of Service to our Country

Jerry Bullock, a Marine Corps veteran, at home at National Church Residences Lincoln Village in Columbus.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Really, the only people out there who can poke fun at a Marine and get away with it are other Marines.

Jerry Bullock, a resident at National Church Residences Lincoln Village, joined the Marine Corps in 1962 when he and two friends decided to sign up together.

“Me and a couple of other guys at Marion-Franklin High School went in on the buddy system,” Bullock said. “We went to boot camp together, but we were never in the same Quonset hut.”

Bullock excelled as a Marine and began training in Advanced Infantry. It was the location of the boot camp, however, that got them their nickname.

“We went to boot camp in San Diego, California,” he said. “They called everybody who went to San Diego a ‘Hollywood Marine.’”

While he may have jokingly been ‘Hollywood’ at first, Bullock proudly served his country as a Marine, and later a member of the Navy and the National Guard, before a post-military career in civil service.

The memories of his long career?

“I wouldn’t trade them,” Bullock said.

His military experience truly began when after boot camp he was stationed in the Pacific.

“I went to Hawaii where I went into the weapons platoon,” he said. “Anti-tank assaultman. We trained and learned to fire the 3.5 inch, well, they call them bazookas now.”

Essentially a small rocket launcher, Bullock recalls the aftermath of repeatedly firing the weapons.

“I didn’t care for shooting them,” he said. “Wires would hit you in the face after they fired. You’d spend days picking those wires out of your face.”

Bullock spent two years in Hawaii – which was considered overseas duty at the time, even though Hawaii was a state. He followed up his time there for a brief training in Okinawa, Japan, before rotating back to the United States mainland.

“I ended up being an MP (Military Police) at Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station,” he said. “I was a Desk Sergeant in the Military Police.”

Bullock became part of the team that raised and lowered the flag every morning and night and also assisted other Marines with keeping their military IDs up to date. And then there were also the regular duties that came along with being an MP.

“You had to go to the enlisted club where the guys would get rowdy,” he said. “Have to go and keep them from breaking stuff up.”

With his four years of active duty coming to an end, Bullock was transferred back to southern California and Camp Pendleton.

“They wanted to send me to Vietnam,” he said. “But I only had seven months left to serve, so they kept me at Pendleton.”

There he was tasked with helping train Marines to swim while wearing their full equipment.

“It was to simulate abandoning a ship,” he said, adding that he had to act as a lifeguard on more than one occasion when soldiers struggled to stay afloat. “Lots of them. We let them take a little water first. If you don’t, they’ll grab onto you and drown you.”

Bullock was discharged in October 1966 and served two years of inactive duty before joining the Ohio National Guard and then the Navy for a year.

“When I came home I got a job in construction building the new post office here in Columbus,” he said. “With the weather the way it was and construction, I was only working about two days a week. So I took the post office exam and I passed in both Columbus and Grove City.”

Bullock accepted the position with the Columbus Post Office, where he would spend the next decade.

“I carried mail for 11 years until I injured my knee slipping on the ice. So I got disability from the post office. While I was in the Marines, with all the shooting we did, I lost hearing in my ears. So I get a pension from both the post office and the VA.”

‘Home for Life’ to expand and serve Columbus’ Near East Side

Christine Leyshon, National Church Residences Community Program Manager, and Rosemary Mathes, National Church Residences Service Coordinator, will be part of the team that will bring Home for Life to Columbus’ Near East Side seniors.

COLUMBUS, Ohio ­– The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation has awarded a Healthy Aging Initiative grant in the amount of $254,209 to National Church Residences to help the organization expand the Home for Life program to residents of Columbus’ Near East Side.

“The project is a combination of strategies,” said Jeff Wolf, National Church Residences Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Mission Impact. “It expands the reach of our Home for Life model to seniors who live outside of our affordable housing properties, while the model itself is an innovation designed to help seniors in the community age in place.”

The Healthy Aging Initiative grant, administered over a two-year span, will touch the lives of nearly 700 at-risk Franklin County seniors. According to Wolf, “The grant is significant beyond its financial investment. A partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation provides an opportunity to launch innovative solutions that encourage community collaboration and the development of replicable programming.”

“The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation is proud to partner with National Church Residences to share the Home for Life program with residents of Columbus’ Near East Side,” said Susan Beaudry, Director of Programs at the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. “This innovative program has great potential to provide older, vulnerable adults with the care and support needed to remain in their homes and communities of their choice.”

National Church Residences’ Home for Life program is an outcomes-focused service model, using evidence-based assessments and evaluation tools to identify an individual’s needs and risk factors. By engaging those we serve where they live, Home for Life can identify and overcome social determinant factors that impact an individual’s ability to best manage their chronic diseases, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement, better health and cost savings.

“The objective is to improve access to care and self-management skills of older vulnerable populations by giving them the tools to understand and manage their own care, allowing them to remain in their homes as they age,” said Wolf.

This program will bring the Home for Life model to seniors on Columbus’ Near East Side who do not reside in a National Church Residences facility. The focus is on an area that surrounds the Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center, at 240 N. Champion Ave.

Ohio State doctoral student pioneers study on resilience with National Church Residences

Matthew Fullen and Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake at a ceremony recognizing the Schweitzer Fellowship.
Matthew Fullen and Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake at a ceremony recognizing the Schweitzer Fellowship.

By LANCE CRANMER                                          lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Working in the mental health field and specializing in providing care for aging adults, Matthew Fullen began to notice a recurring theme.

“A lot of health care is focused on dealing with physical concerns that older adults express,” he said. “Other psychological, emotional and spiritual concerns are made into second-class citizens.”

A doctoral student at the Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology, Fullen was awarded with an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and used his sponsorship to create a study on resilience that he brought to National Church Residences.

“I reached out to Dan Fagan (Vice President of Home and Community Services) and Terri Allton (Senior Vice President of Home and Community Services) and they were both supportive,” Fullen said. “The three of us identified the Adult Day Center on Livingston Avenue as a great place to pilot some of these new ideas.”

The project had two prongs: first, to focus on acknowledging the staff at the facility and finding their individual strengths, and second, to work with the clients and talk to them about what it means to be resilient.

“Sometimes we don’t recognize that in older adults,” Fullen said. “We don’t give them a chance to notice the ways they’ve been resilient.”

Thirty clients at National Church Residences Livingston Avenue Center for Senior Health in Columbus, Ohio, participated in the nine-week program with Fullen and Sean Gorby, a fellow Ph. D student at OSU and the co-facilitator and co-researcher.

“We allowed clients to talk about ways they’ve been resilient and to hear stories from other clients there who have also demonstrated resilience,” Fullen said. “The way we implemented it was by framing our discussion through different areas of wellness. What about physical wellness? Next week, how have you been resilient through relationships? We cycled through several categories that allowed people to think about resilience in a way that was holistic. They were able to think about ways they’ve been resilient in their lives and it broadened their picture of resilience.”

The more the clients began to participate, the more excited they became for each weekly session.

“We had some really lively discussions,” Fullen said. “At the start of every Friday there was a palpable energy in the room. People were excited to talk about their lives, the challenges they’ve been facing and the ways they’ve been resilient.”

“It has really helped me because you know your situation but you find that others … we’re different but we’re all alike,” said an 83-year old Livingston client who participated in the study. “I’ve learned a whole lot, and it’s just a blessing being together and everybody sharing what’s happened to them or what is happening to them and to know that you’re not alone.”

The participants in the study ranged from 59 to 94 years old with the average age being 78. Eighty percent were African-American and more than half were both Medicare and Medicaid eligible.

After the nine week study concluded, 96 percent of participants reported enjoying the class and feeling a higher level of wellness and 92 percent said they felt generally happier than they previously had.

“Many individuals said they had no idea what some of the other folks in the room had been through and that allowed them to really appreciate their own resilience,” Fullen said.

In working with the staff, Fullen organized a “SPA Day” with SPA meaning “Strengthening Pride in Aging.”

“It was a way of giving the staff a chance to be celebrated,” he said. “We had massage therapists, a catered luncheon, and they learned about each other’s strength inventories. And in some follow-up surveys, 100 percent said it was helpful … and it made them feel proud of their work at Livingston and that they would recommend the strengths assessments to their friends.”

Fullen’s decision to bring his research proposals to a National Church Residences facility did not happen by chance. A decade before, he had been employed by the organization in a much different role that allowed him to work directly with aging adults in a time of need.

“It really started in 2005 when I worked for National Church Residences. That started me down this path that, now, 10 years later I am very committed to. I see it as a calling,” said Fullen, who worked as a Relocation Coordinator, helping residents transition into temporary homes during periods where National Church Residences facilities are being renovated. “It was a brilliant way to put a human touch on the whole relocation process. It gave me a lot of opportunities to interact with older adults in a time of somewhat crisis for them. That was a lot of built-in practice in helping even think about overcoming adversity. When you’re in your 70s and thinking you’re never going to move again, that requires some convincing.”

After a few years with the organization, Fullen chose to go back to school.

“I got my Master’s Degree in clinical counseling and another in Divinity. Really my professional focus has been thinking about how to help older adults maximize satisfaction with the feelings that come with aging,” he said. “I help them think about again and see it as an opportunity to grow and continue to be involved in their families and their communities.”

Later, when Fullen had the chance to study his ideas through the Schweitzer Fellowship, the 32-year old Hilliard, Ohio-native, knew National Church Residences would be the perfect partner.

“It’s been a privilege to work alongside National Church Residences,” he said. “National Church Residences is a leader in thinking innovatively about how to navigate the aging process.”

The results of the research will eventually be compiled into a manuscript and will be published.

“We hope this will lead to other opportunities to replicate this study at other sites,” Fullen said. “Currently I’m in some conversations with National Church Residences about how to expand this program and how to continue the positive momentum that’s taken place at Livingston.”

Fullen said that focusing his education through the years on not only health care but also religion has been a blessing.

“That fit so well with this resilience idea,” he said. “You look at how people’s bodies are changing and it’s easy to be discouraged. But you look at a whole person, their spiritual vitalogy, and you see aging as something not to be afraid of. It can be very hopeful. You think about again in new ways that can be very important to all of us. We’re all going to go through it at some point.”

Matthew Fullen with National Church Residences Vice President of Home and Community Services Dan Fagan.
Matthew Fullen with National Church Residences Vice President of Home and Community Services Dan Fagan.

Former resident, volunteer picked as Senior Hall of Fame inductee

By LANCE CRANMER                                          lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

Sometimes he drew landscapes. Other times he sketched World War II fighter planes, paying close attention to the little details – the angle of a wing, the height of a tail. On occasion, he was asked to draw nothing more than bright, cheerful flowers.

An artist at heart – a skill he once had to hide from a disapproving father – Tom David used his talents with pencils and paint brushes to work with seriously ill patient at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, as part of an art therapy program.

“I started doing that as part of my volunteering,” Tom said, who on May 20 will be recognized for his lifetime of work when he is inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame at the Ohio Statehouse. “There was one man who was a World War II pilot. I started drawing airplanes for him. He would describe a plane, and I would draw it. Then he would tell me little things that should be different. Once you suck someone in like that, they’re hooked. They’re hooked for hours.”

A retiree from a wildly successful career as an industrial designer, Tom volunteered his time at the hospital to help those who needed even a moment of time to think about something other than their illness to have an escape.

Many of them were never aware that Tom himself was fighting for his life.

“In the early 90s I was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he said. “I’m still battling it.”

Tom used his knowledge of the fight against cancer to help others with the same challenges.

“I started doing it on the cancer floor, because I had cancer, and you understand,” he said. “In time, you really understand.”

On one particular day, Tom visited a young mother and her family. Weak because of her struggle with breast cancer, the young woman wanted Tom to help her paint something for her children.

“We worked and worked and she finally got tired,” Tom said. “I never will forget those kids dancing around the room, excited about the flowers they were drawing.”

When the painting was done, Tom told the nurses what they had worked on, said goodbye for the night, and headed home.

Tom returned the next day to see how the woman was doing.

“She had died that morning,” he said, drifting off into silence.


To know Tom David – or even to sit with him in his assisted living apartment and talk about life, and art, and his uncanny ability to love total strangers – is a remarkable experience.

Born the son of a farmer in rural Virginia, Tom designed countless innovative products, traveled the globe, and found a way to improve hundreds of lives through his volunteering.

“When I heard about the (Hall of Fame) nominations I thought, ‘I have the perfect person’,” said Tammy Justice, the Life Enrichment Director at Lincoln Village, the National Church Residences’ Columbus facility where Tom lived for three years before recently moving to live closer to his doctor’s offices. “I always thought he was pretty incredible. I didn’t even know how incredible.”

Tammy knew Tom as a selfless, devoted volunteer and the epitome of a hard worker.

“I didn’t even know all the things he’d done,” she said. “I just knew that he’d always worked his tail off for me.”

Tammy and Tom spent hours talking about the things he’d done in his life. And when they were done, Tammy nominated her friend for the Hall of Fame on behalf of National Church Residences.

“Tammy made it happen. She wrote up this entry form. She did an incredible job. The first time I read it, I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” Tom said. “I feel so honored. I’m humbled. I never tell anybody about myself. I grew up never wanting anybody to think I’m hot stuff.”

When the application was complete – and led to Tom’s eventual selection as a future Hall of Fame member – the pair met to talk about what she’d written.

“We cried together,” Tammy said.


Telling the story of Tom David is no easy task. Tom himself even struggles to find the most poignant parts. So, like any great storyteller, Tom starts from the beginning.

“I was always drawing pictures as a little kid. One Christmas my mother bought me a paint set,” Tom said. “My father threw it away.”

Though it became more of a hobby that he had to do in secret – at the time, Tom’s school district did not teach art – Tom continued to draw and paint.

“Eventually, a girlfriend’s mother when I was in high school got me a paint set,” he said. “She was a painter. I had to hide it in my house.”

A standout athlete as well, Tom earned a football scholarship to play for Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and, at the suggestion of his father, began to study engineering.

Soon after, an uncle, who had been a fan of Tom’s artwork, suggested he transfer to the University of Cincinnati (where he lived) and major in industrial design.

“He told me, you can come here and live with me. I think you’ll be a good industrial designer,” Tom said, noting that he later taught a sophomore-level course in the field at The Ohio State University. “I loved it. It was right up my alley.”

The change was an instant success.

While in Cincinnati, Tom met his future wife, and landed his first job as an industrial designer with RCA in Indianapolis.

“It was rare at the time to be an industrial designer with an engineering background,” he said.

The mixture made Tom a sought-after commodity. That led to a career breakthrough and his eventual move to Columbus.

“I came to Columbus and joined a small design group called Richardson and Smith in the early 60s,” he said.

Over the next several decades, Tom designed medical equipment, hand tools, trucks, boats … “It just went on and on and on,” he said.

While working with GE years later, Tom’s designs helped in the invention of the CAT scan machine.

Among his most cherished professional accomplishments came in 1973 he won the Design in Steel “Excellence in Design of Transportation Equipment” award for the Nimrod Tent Camper – a pop-up style camper that became a must-have for the American family.

“I loved what I did,” Tom said, adding that he made a point of using all of his designs in his personal life. “Everything I did I had to live with. If you really want something done right, do it yourself.”

Tom’s work pioneering the concept of “Design for Disassembly” landed him an interview in the January 1991 issue of Popular Science.

Before long, Tom said the small Columbus design firm he initially went to work for expanded into a company with offices around the globe.

“We wound up with offices in London, Taiwan, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas,” he said. “I was everywhere. It’s unbelievable.”


After his two sons – Scott David, today the Head of U.S. Investment Services at T. Rowe Price and Associates in Baltimore, and Doug David, a Global Technology Infrastructure Associate with Chase Bank – were grown, Tom and his wife amicably split. However, they remain close and she continues to take him to doctor’s appointments.

Upon his retirement, Tom began to seek out volunteering opportunities.

“What makes me happy is to make other people happy,” he said. “I’ve always loved people. I don’t know why. I dig them. I love talking to people.”

Three times a week he volunteered at Riverside walking the halls and visiting patients with a coffee and cake cart.

“People loved us,” he said. “We hit every floor. It took us part of the morning and all afternoon, just walking the hospital.”

That later transitioned into his role doing art therapy.

Today, at 73-years old, the grandfather of five – still weak from his cancer treatments – remains an avid painter. BalletMet, the Columbus-based professional dance academy, commissioned Tom to create artwork for its building.

“I did a ton of ‘em,” he joked.

A handful of works in progress are scattered around his home, including a re-creation of a photograph his son took in Venice, a landscape view from a hotel Tom once stayed at in Colorado, and a portrait of his youngest granddaughter Chloe, complete with angel wings.

“I don’t know,” he said as to what inspires him to continue painting.

Tom continues to stay active, even joking with Tammy about getting a basket of candy and paying door-to-door visits to the people on his floor, but admits he no longer has the energy he once did.

Still, though, his desire to make others happy shines through.

“I paid my dues. I worked hard. I gave back,” he said. “Giving brings me lots of joy. I don’t give on purpose. It’s a normal part of me.”


VA Secretary McDonald visits Commons at Livingston


VA Secretary Robert McDonald meets with Navy veteran and Commons at Livingston resident Lori Vanzant Tuesday morning in Columbus, Ohio.

By LANCE CRANMER                                        LCranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio – United States VA Secretary Robert McDonald paid a visit to National Church Residences Commons at Livingston facility in Columbus Tuesday morning and thanked the organization’s leadership for the work it does at providing permanent supportive housing to veterans.

“As I go around the country, the places that are effective in eliminating homelessness are the communities that work together,” Secretary McDonald told a small group that included veterans from the facility as well as members of the National Church Residences leadership team. “That collaborating you have here is tremendous and very critical for getting the job done.”

McDonald received a guided tour of Commons at Livingston, which included a tour of former Navy firefighter Lori Vanzant’s apartment.

While visiting with Vanzant, McDonald, a retired Army Ranger, shared stories about their children, military experience, and traveling the globe while serving their country.McDonald3

Later, McDonald met with Commons at Livingston resident Travis Goodman, a former Marine, who shared his positive experience about living at the facility.

“You get out what you put into it,” said Goodman. “It’s a blessing to get a second chance at life.”

Vanzant and Goodman joined McDonald as he met with National Church Residences senior leaders to discuss the organization’s mission and plans for the future in regards to veterans.

“Every study I’ve looked at … says the rate of return in getting people into housing first is undebatable,” said McDonald.

During the discussion, McDonald recalled a life lesson passed on to him by a pastor while he was living in Japan as an executive for Procter & Gamble about how life is all about the relationships we experience. He then related that to the relationships National Church Residences builds in communities that lead to innovative projects like the Commons at Livingston.

“It doesn’t surprise me that to do something this miraculous, it requires relationships at so many levels,” McDonald said.

He added that he would like to see more National Church Residences facilities like Commons at Livingston in other cities around the country to help eliminate homelessness for veterans.

“We will pretty much go where we’re invited,” said National Church Residences President and CEO Mark Ricketts. “We can do our mission work anywhere.”


McDonald5 McDonald10



Mill Run Announces Plans for Alzheimer’s Memory Gardens

HILLIARD, OH – Each year, Alzheimer’s disease slowly steals memories away from the nearly 5.1 million Americans who live with the condition.

For the families and loved ones who feel the effects of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, finding a way to help them remember is a crucial part of providing them with care.

At National Church Residences Mill Run, a senior community located in the Columbus suburb of Hilliard, a plan was unveiled to residents at the annual Christmas celebration on Thursday, December 11, for a one-of-a-kind facility that will provide residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia a chance to re-experience happier times.

“The true beauty of everything we do involves life and death. It’s an evolution,” said Linda Roehrenbeck, Executive Director of Mill Run, at the announcement of the plans for Mill Run’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Memory Gardens. “This project will evolve. Just like our lives do.”

Scheduled to break ground in 2015, the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Memory Gardens at National Church Residences Mill Run will be constructed in multiple phases, eventually culminating in a beautiful outdoor area complete with a park, a garden, a therapy and art wall and a patio for dining and relaxing.

“This garden is grace. There will be moments of serendipity. It will be a way to bring back moments of their lives that were joyful,” said Roehrenbeck. “It has meaning and purpose.”

To design the Memory Gardens, Mill Run enlisted the services of Linda Wilson, a landscape architect with MKSK, who found special meaning in helping with the project.

Wilson’s husband Ron passed away a year ago at the age of 58 from complications due to early onset Alzheimer’s.

“I first came into contact with National Church Residences because I had my husband in their adult day services,” Wilson said. “(That facility) was (previously) an outdoor garden center that had a nice outdoor space. For me a major concern was the quality of life outside of the four walls.”

With the care her husband received in mind, Wilson began designing early plans for an Alzheimer’s memory garden but did not initially have a plan for its location. Mill Run became the ideal spot after Wilson was introduced to Roehrenbeck through a mutual friend who also had a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s.

“Linda talked to me and asked, ‘What do I know about Alzheimer’s Memory Gardens?’” Wilson said. “We developed a plan for this facility and here we are.”

Wilson’s design for the phases of the Mill Run Alzheimer’s and Dementia Memory Gardens was on display for residents and their families to see during the Christmas celebration. Seeing so many people admire her work meant a great deal to Wilson.

“I teared up,” she said. “It was like, ‘Wow, it’s eventually going to come together.’”

Joining Wilson in the presentation of the Memory Gardens was Pete Trombetti, a commercial builders and one of the project’s initial major donors.

Trombetti’s wife, Maggie, had been a resident of Mill Run from June 2013 until her passing in July 2014.

“We were married for 20 years,” he said. “We traveled the world, the two of us.”

After Maggie’s passing, Trombetti kept in touch with Roehrenbeck at Mill Run.

“I came in to see Linda and she said something about creating a Memory Garden,” Trombetti said. “I said, ‘I’m in!’”

Trombetti said his late wife had a love for gardening and the outdoors in general and that his involvement in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Memory Gardens was on Maggie’s behalf.

“A few of you knew my wife,” he told the audience. “This is for her.”

Trombetti said he was grateful to the staff at Mill Run for the care they gave his wife during her final months.

“Definitely. People like this here,” he said, greeting a Mill Run nurse he knew with a hug. “These are the gems. That’s the reason.”

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Memory Garden at Mill Run will be constructed in phases as funding becomes available. To make charitable contributions to the project, please contact the National Church Residences Philanthropy team at (614) 273-3582 or Roehrenbeck at (614) 771-0100.

Volunteer opportunities in developing and maintaining the garden will also be available.

(Written by Lance Cranmer, Media/Public Relations Specialist at National Church Residences. Cranmer can be reached at lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org)

HUD Award to Accelerate Intergenerational Care Center’s Completion

Housing and Urban Development awarded $29.7 million to Columbus for redevelopment of the Near East Side, including the site of the Poindexter Village. Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), a partner in the project, had been one of six finalists for the Choice Neighborhood grant. The announcement of the award was made June 30 in Columbus.

National Church Residences is planning to open the Poindexter Village Intergenerational Care Center in collaboration with CMHA, Columbus Early Learning Centers (CELC), The Ohio State University (OSU), and Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT). The Poindexter Village neighborhood is being redeveloped to create a healthy, financially and environmentally sustainable community where residents have access to safe and affordable housing, quality health care and education, and employment opportunities.

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The Intergenerational Care Center is a catalytic project for the redevelopment of the Poindexter neighborhood and a source of vital services that addresses the needs of both the frail elderly and vulnerable children and families. The Center is designed to house an adult day and child care center, a university classroom, space for intergenerational and community programming as well as outdoor recreation areas. Approximately 85 children and 140 vulnerable adults will be served annually plus an estimated 100 parents and 300 adult caregivers will receive support services each year. In addition, the Center will incorporate:

• An on-site Intergenerational Program Manager from The Ohio State University to develop and administer focused intergenerational and interdisciplinary initiatives.


• Health and wellness programming, including primary care for frail adults, children,families, and community members. Offerings would also include courses on caregiving, grief and loss, early childhood interventions for children with special needs and Moms2Be programs designed to help pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy.

• Interdisciplinary research, academic classes, and training for OSU graduate, professional and undergraduate students. Some of their studies would cover the relationships between age and behaviors in the intergenerational setting.

DSC_0357• Collaborative and purposeful intergenerational programming like the supplemental reading intervention program, “Sit Together and Read” (STAR). STAR is designed to pair interested and able seniors with preschool children for 10 minutes of reading together. Faculty and students from OSU would train the adults on how to use specific read-aloud techniques that integrate a scope and sequence of literacy concepts.

• A new playground for the Intergenerational Care Center was developed by KaBoom! This playground, which includes equipment for both young children and seniors, was created thanks to the efforts of neighborhood and project partner volunteers and the generosity of the playground sponsor, Humana.DSC_0342

The Choice Neighborhood grant will accelerate the total redevelopment of the historic Poindexter Village neighborhood, with $200,000 earmarked for the Intergenerational Care Center. That amount goes along with a total of $645,000 already committed from CMHA, KaBoom!, Bob Evans Farms, Huntington Bank, CareSource Foundation and Ingram-White Castle Foundation.