MRC Stories

April 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

No doubt you have seen the news reports of the devastating impact COVID-19 can have on seniors, as well as some bad outcomes in retirement centers and nursing homes across the country. As the new President/CEO of Methodist Retirement Communities, I wanted to share some good news about the heroes of MRC: our residents, employees, family members, and the community at large. This has been an incredible time of people coming together across the State to make sure our residents are safe and have what they need. Even in this time of isolation, we have rallied our teams and community to fight loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. Our residents have inspired and encouraged us along the way. Here are some examples of the good things that are happening in the MRC family:

Many churches, local businesses, organizations as well as individuals have given generously to MRC during this difficult time. We are so very thankful for this support. A special thank you to all who have participated in making and donating masks for our staff and residents!

Our staff has leaned heavily on their faith as they shoulder the weight of caring for the world’s most vulnerable. It has become common to see scripture exchanged amongst employees and devotionals shared by email. Prayer has always played a large role in the life of MRC, but never so much as now. The Langford in College Station’s employees and residents gather strength with regular prayer sessions led by Chaplain Janis Godby in the large courtyard where they can remain at a safe distance from one another while they draw near to the Lord.

Our hearts have been inspired by the story of two residents at Cornerstone Retirement Community in Texarkana who have altered their routine slightly but deepened their friendship exponentially. Mrs. Polly Alsop routinely played hymns on the piano in the Atrium after lunch. Mrs. Alexandra Goode would sit on the nearby sofa and offer her favorite hymns as a suggestion for the playlist, including her favorite hymn “In the Garden”, and Mrs. Polly would happily oblige. Once the restrictions required residents to remain in their individual apartments, Mrs. Goode and Mrs. Alsop decided to keep up the routine, with a twist. They agreed to call each other every afternoon. They would begin with a conversation, then prayer, and finally, Mrs. Polly would place the phone down and play the piano so that Mrs. Alexandra could enjoy the hymns through the phone. This new ritual, spurred by a pandemic has transformed acquaintances into prayer partners and deep friends.

Technology and social media has given our world new ways to connect
to one another and has arguably never been more important than it is today. One incredible example of this is when Mrs. Katy Hardy, a 97 years old resident at Creekside Retirement Community in Huntsville, shared her story of what life was like at 19 years old during WWII with today’s generation using Facebook LIVE. A live audience watched in awe as Mrs. Hardy described rationing, limited supplies and a sense of togetherness across the nation. She likened the experience to today’s pandemic conditions. She laughed and told stories of feeling desperate to find a pair of pantyhose that were in short supply and how she only wished for a pair of shoes that cost under $2 at the time. Over 2400 viewers were comforted by the words of this elder and encouraged to stand strong despite the circumstances.

A dedicated group of veterans living at Arbor Oaks at Crestview Retirement Community in Bryan, encouraged us by continuing to uphold their commitment to see the American Flag fly at the entrance of the community, each and every day, without fail. Like clockwork, you’ll see one of these faithful volunteers place the flag in its place at sunrise. They do this believing that the flag will give hope and strength to all who see it and encourage them that together, we will endure.

Residents have experienced milestones and celebrated with their families, despite being separated by a window. One of our favorite stories was when Mirador Retirement Community’s resident, Mrs. Olivia Montoya, celebrated her 102nd birthday. Her family joined her on the other side of the window with balloons, music and singing. The local news station even came out to film the beautiful exchange. Other communities like PineCrest Retirement Community in Lufkin, set up special visitation windows for families to enjoy during this time of restriction complete with interactive games, inspirational quotes and artwork.

The bravery and strength of our employees has been truly moving in the face of uncertainty. The employees of MRC have balanced the stress of their personal lives and tolerated ever-changing protocols while continuing to bring ingenuity and compassion to their jobs and ensure that the resident’s needs are a top priority. Our communities have done many things to care for these dedicated employees such as a system-wide bonus, and free meals while on shift. The staff has also found creative fun ways to keep things upbeat. The Crossings Retirement Community in League City began celebrating
“Takeout Tuesday” each week to bless one department with a take-out meal from a local restaurant. Not only does this bless the staff but also allows The Crossings to support small businesses in their community.

In La Porte and Bryan, our Affordable Housing properties were blessed by the generosity of well-known Houston hero and Gallery Furniture Store Owner, Jim McIngvale, otherwise known as “Mattress Mack.” He and his team of volunteers have delivered packages filled with food and a variety of toiletries for residents at both locations and we are so grateful.

In closing, I want to thank you for your prayers of support as we continue to navigate this challenging time. Life is good at MRC thanks to our heroes!

Alan Brown, President & CEO

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