France, Mexico, China, Hawaii and more – the world awaited residents, families and guests at the Joseph C. Thomas Center at their spring gala.
Glenvar High School senior Olivia Nicholson and fella Kris Maxey were dressed as a flight attendant and airline pilot, serving “in-flight snacks” at the “Enjoy the Journey” party on April 26. Mitzi Janney was an adult flight attendant.
Around the corner, young Parisianne Denielle Morrison, the lead dietary manager, wore a jaunty red beret while offering French pastries, croissants, baguettes and cheese to all. Across the hallway, people could help themselves to a taco bar at the Taco Truck.
The Richfield staff made all the French pastries and other tasty treats, except for the Enjoy the Journey cake and cupcakes by Linda Mitchell Price.
In the neighborhood, a huge cardboard cutout Tiki guarded a table of decoratively arranged pineapple and other fresh fruit.
And nearby, spring rolls called to those who preferred Asian food. They were next to fresh, hot Mexican churro pastries.
The Quike Trio provided Latin dance music on Conga drums and guitars for residents and young men from the Glenvar High School Football Team.
Resident Ellen Frost, who’s relatively new to JCT, had a wonderful time, laughing and swaying to the music with freshman Royce Pierson.
“I think it’s fantastic. I like all the people who are participating and how friendly they are,” Pierson said. They all seemed to have a ball.
It was his first-time volunteering at a JCT spring party. Coach Kevin Clifford brought 20 of his team that night, and also brings team members in the fall for a pep rally at JCT.
“This is the 10th time we’ve come,” said the coach. “It’s so rewarding for us, a lot more than for the residents. It’s great for our players to learn good people skills.”
The event is put on not only with months of planning and days of prep work by team members, but with efforts of bunches of volunteers. In addition to Enrichment Coordinator Bev Adams’ music students and other teen volunteers, there were volunteers from United Healthcare, Gentle Shepherd Hospice and Encompass Home Care, Salem High School Keyettes, Glenvar DECA Club, United Way, Radford College of Health and Sciences students dressed in costume, and Northcross School students who came and helped set up all the tables and chairs.
The Salem High School foreign language club loaned props.
Salem residents Ron Vanderpoole and his wife Susan came not only to enjoy the event, but also watch over the artifacts from the Virginia Transportation Museum, such as a World War I propeller.
“We chose the theme because Richfield is about to embark on a journey with the new build,” explained Life Enrichment Coordinator Beverly Adams. Residents have been kept informed about future plans. On May 1, Richfield Living broke ground for a new area of 28 villas, independent apartments, a Town Center on the edge of the lake, and eventually, a new “household model” skilled nursing facility to replace the oldest building on campus, the Recovery and Care Center.
Richfield campus team members helped with the Journey, plus lots of outside volunteers, 88 to be exact. One of the reasons so many volunteers were necessary was that JCT has a third memory care house now.
“We needed their help to bring out residents from those houses so they could enjoy the evening,” said Adams.
“It’s the third year for our team,” said United Healthcare’s Courtney Nemeth. “The fact that we’re able to sit at a table and talk with someone from World War II is impressive,” she said.
“I like how the whole community is getting involved,” added friend Jennifer Quesenberry.
Other volunteers from the health care team came earlier in the day to help with hair, nails and makeup. They all do four hours of volunteer service, they explained.
Encompass volunteer Dana Halas and area manager Kim Holbrook giggled as they got pictures together in the photo booth. “It’s magical. This was a nice journey,” said Holbrook. Her daughter Katie, a Cave Spring Middle School seventh-grader, pronounced the evening “Really cool.”
It was the first time that Joann Barfield, who lives in one of Richfield’s cottages, had experienced a spring event at JCT where her husband, Hugh, now lives.
“Isn’t this fun?” she asked. “Everything is decorated beautifully,” she added, exchanging a hug with her husband of almost 60 years.
On their way out, guests could pick up miniature paper suitcases filled with little candies.
“This year we had so many cool props,” said Adams. We actually taped off a runway with white tape, to give them the feel they were about to get on a plane.”