Early Days at Meadowood

Early Days at Meadowood

Members of the founding Board of Directors. Bill and Sylvia Strasburg are in the center.
Members of the founding Board of Directors. Bill and Sylvia Strasburg are in the center.

The following recollection was written by Barbara Beatrice, VP of Human Resources at Meadowood.

My relationship with Meadowood began as the community opened in May 1988, when I came to the guest house to be interviewed for the position of Director of Personnel. I was impressed by the beauty of the campus, and the philosophy of honoring the dignity of residents and employees. I accepted the position, and began my Meadowood journey with the anticipation of being part of something that was new, special and exciting. I have never been disappointed.

In those early days, my “office” consisted of sharing a large table in the Guest House basement with the Maintenance staff. The personnel files were stored in the Finance Office, which is now Guest Room #4. The basement also served as our meeting room, so I sometimes had to make myself scarce. Making a telephone call was challenging as well, since there were only about three telephones in the building. It was several more years before there was more than one computer, so we also competed for the few typewriters that were available. One of the best things about those early days in the guest house was lunch! Staff paid two dollars to have their pick of the delicious leftovers from the night before. Residents were served dinner at tables set up in the Guest House living room, and then expanding out into the hallway. Although the experience of working in such close proximity with the other pioneering staff was a positive one, we were relieved when Meadowood received the certificate of occupancy for the community center.  We moved into our new offices and continued the process of “starting up” Meadowood.

Meadowood has seen many milestones in the past 27 years.  The health center was licensed and opened with its first admission, a woman who was in a coma, later that year. The fourth wing of the Health Center was completed a few years later, with a major expansion and renovation taking place in 2010.  We were accredited by the CCAC in 1994, and Center Bridge was constructed that same year. The Carriage Homes, and the people who came to live in them, made a significant mark on our character and identity. The more recent transformation of the Schultz Community Center, and the evolution of our Fitness and Wellness programs evidence our continuing efforts to grow, improve and meet the ever-changing needs of the senior population.  We have seen many technology advancements that have radically changed the way we do our work and provide services. But I believe our most outstanding accomplishment is the culture that has been created through the people that have joined our community. Residents and staff form a unique relationship of service and caring that has pervaded through decades and is sensed immediately by newcomers to both groups.

Only a few of us remain from those first days of startup in 1988: myself, Claire Gaughan, Medical Records Coordinator; and Rose Cottee, Laundry Operator. In the time since, thousands of employees have passed through our doors, and Meadowood has touched their lives in many ways.  Hundreds of teenagers found their first jobs at Meadowood. Many remained on staff for several years, even returning to work in the summers through their college years, and benefiting from the generous scholarships awarded by the Residents Association. Some have pursued careers in long-term care as a result of their positive experiences and relationships formed at Meadowood. Many staff met their spouses at Meadowood, and started families in their time here. We’ve had promotions, transfers, transitions, and retirements, and celebrated them together. Through times of joy and sadness, staff and residents have enjoyed expressions of genuine compassion and caring from one another.

The enduring characteristic of Meadowood and its people is caring. The employees and residents deeply care for one another. It has been extremely rewarding to be part of the engagement of Board, Residents and Staff to ensure Meadowood’s continuing success through the achievement of its vision. I look forward to the years ahead as Meadowood continues to grow and stand out as one of the highest quality senior living communities around.

Early Days at Meadowood