Originally posted in the Oklahoman.
Connecting with the broader community is something Concordia Life Care resident Ramona Duff enjoys. She even found a unique way to support her community, country and family.
Ten years ago, after her granddaughter began serving in the U.S. Air Force, Duff decided she, too, should serve her country. So, for the past ten years, Duff has driven to the YMCA Military Welcome Center at Will Rogers Airport where she greets soldiers and veterans who come through.
“The reason I decided to volunteer was I raised a granddaughter who serves in the Air Force,” said Duff. “If she can serve the country, I can too.”
Duff’s weekly volunteer work includes welcoming the sometimes anxious service men and women with warm smiles, kind words and food — Duff and her team provide pizza to the soldiers and veterans.
An experienced greeter, Duff noted how welcomed she felt when she first came to Concordia. She was encouraged by the number of residents who volunteered their time.
“I’ve volunteered my entire life,” she said, noting two years with the Boy Scouts of America, eight years with Camp Fire Girls and countless years with the Veterans Affairs Hospital. “I find volunteering very satisfying. I love doing it.”
Residents at Concordia Life Care Community in Oklahoma City are prime examples of individuals living for a bigger purpose.
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“Our residents have servant hearts,” said Danny Eischen, executive director at Concordia. “Many of them move to Concordia having volunteered most of their lives and are now looking for ways to continue that practice. Later in life, some people are satisfied with traveling, hobbies and long-awaited activities but I’ve found our residents at Concordia have the resources and desire to truly impact the world around them.”
Concordia has inspired and equipped its residents to give back to Oklahoma City for nearly a decade. Concordia celebrates its 10-year anniversary in October. Through partnering with programs like Wellness on Wheels, Mobile Meals, the Special Olympics and the Regional Food Bank and providing internal volunteer opportunities, Concordia offers a myriad of service options, options many residents have embraced.
Concordia’s leadership believes that the right opportunities can incite personal growth and exceptional achievements, Eischen said.
The examples are plentiful.
Betty Fisher, an independent living resident, shares her musical talent for the benefit of others – including her neighbors. As part of Concordia’s choir and another musical group, Fisher travels to Concordia’s memory care and assisted living areas bringing classic songs to residents.
“Music to me is therapeutic,” Fisher said. “But talk about a blessing. The other residents say we are a blessing for coming up, but they bless us more. We come back radiating.”
Fisher along with a resident piano player and guitarist feel inspired and encouraged to see residents who are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia sing along to the classic songs.
“You cannot believe how many of those songs they remember and can sing without even looking at the book,” she said. “It’s so good for them to come together with each other and sing.”
Mobile Meals is another initiative where Concordia residents and staff lend a helping hand. For the past four years, Concordia has helped prepare and transport meals to individuals in Edmond and Oklahoma City. It’s a service that not only brings nourishment to people, but also connects them with others.
“Mobile Meals is a wonderful program with a mission Concordia wholeheartedly supports in partnership with Church of the Servant and Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church,” Eischen said. “Our residents and staff have enjoyed being involved with deliveries and we continue to support its work.”
Perhaps Concordia’s focus on community outreach comes, in part, from the way Concordia operates. Founded by a local group of Lutherans who identified a need for providing older adults the resources they need in a faith-based setting, Concordia continues to be managed by individuals based in Oklahoma City. Concordia’s mission revolves around its residents and its community.
While Concordia is affiliated with the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, their mission is to serve residents of all religious beliefs.
“We’re like a family here, and a family takes care of one another,” Fisher said. “If you get sick and need nursing care, you’re still a part of us. We take care of one another.”
Concordia plans to celebrate its 10 years of operations and community service with a luncheon and anniversary gala for residents, volunteers and employees, bringing its residents some well-deserved recognition for their outreach achievements.
“Ten years of Concordia means ten years of compassionate individuals helping our community,” Eischen said. “We are encouraged by the work we’ve done and excited for the work we’ll continue to do.”
For more information, visit www.concordiaseniorliving.com.
This article is sponsored by Concordia Life Care.