Volume LIXJanuary 2012Number 1

Why Would You Move Anywhere Else? (Part 2)

Bro. Chris Reynolds shows off
his craftsmanship at Masonic
Village at Lafayette Hill

The Masonic Villages were created by Masons to provide the highest quality services, so why would you move anywhere else? The stories of contentment and peace of mind are only limited by the number of residents - more than 2,600 throughout Pennsylvania - so we had to share a few more stories.

Florida Can't Hold a Candle to Dallas

Bro. Marvin Cunningham Sr., R.W. Past Grand Master, Warren Lodge No. 310, Collegeville, and his wife, Rosalie, were two of the first people to move into a villa at the Masonic Village at Dallas when it opened in 2007.

The campus boasts 38 villas and 45 apartments for retirement living on the grounds of the Irem Country Club and Golf Course, a gem of Northeast Pennsylvania. Since the Cunninghams moved to Masonic Village at Dallas, a new clubhouse was constructed, offering 26,868 square feet of additional amenities.

In addition to the stunning golf course, the Irem Country Club's restaurant and pub provide dining options for days when residents do not feel like cooking or want to go out with friends. Entertainment and special events at the Irem Country Club, such as Brunch with the Nittany Lion, provide a variety of activities in which residents can indulge with friends. The Grand Ballroom and various meeting rooms provide spaces for personal, Masonic and community events.

"I've been partial to the retirement community at the Masonic Villages. I watched it grow from the beginning. It meets all the criteria that a person looking for a retirement community wants or needs," Bro. Cunningham said. "We're very comfortable here. We participate in social affairs in the community as well as at the Masonic Village at our discretion."

Atop the Endless Mountains Region, this area is also home to many parks and hiking trails. Its rich coal mining and locomotive history merges with modern culture to offer intriguing museums, tours and attractions. Five colleges and universities located nearby provide ample opportunities for lifelong learning courses, intergenerational programs, cultural exhibits and entertainment. Misericordia University, adjacent to the Masonic Village at Dallas, offers residents special rates for events and access to its library, swimming pool and fitness center.

Beyond the various floor plans, including one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom and two-bedroom/den villas, villa residents now have upgrade options, including hardwood flooring, crown molding, granite countertops and much more. A new rental option for apartments, created in 2009, became a popular choice, making an apartment waiting list necessary.

Masonic Village at Dallas can even make snow birds rethink their lifestyles. As frequent visitors to Florida before moving to the Masonic Village at Dallas, the Cunninghams aren't bothered by snow during the winter. "Everything is more or less taken care of for you. In the winter time, your snow is removed ... No matter how much it snows, you can drive out of your driveway and get on with your day. It's a nice lifestyle ... The back mountain is a great place to retire," Bro. Cunningham said.

To learn more about why people are moving to the Masonic Village at Dallas instead of Florida, call (866) 851-4243. Or, plan to attend an Open House on March 13.

Jumping on the Train in Elizabethtown
Masonic Village at Elizabethtown
Bro. Ray Horn, Mt. Lebanon Lodge No. 226, Hershey, and his wife, Pat

Bro. Ray Horn, Mt. Lebanon Lodge No. 226, Hershey, and his wife, Pat, live in the retirement living cottages at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, but they have not jumped on the retirement train, yet. Pat works for the Department of Labor and Industry in Harrisburg. She often walks to the Amtrak station next to campus and rides the train 20 minutes to and from work. Ray is a professor and administrator at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

With careers that keep them busy, the Horns wanted a simple lifestyle at home. "Many individuals in our parents' generation made the move [to a retirement community] too late under difficult circumstances and either had very difficult transitions or transitioned too late to enjoy the amenities. Therefore, we chose to join the community in our early 60s and truly have and enjoy golden years," the Horns said.

They like gardening, pinochle, Mahjong and swimming in the pools on campus. Pat is particularly fond of participating in Red Hat Society activities and taking day trips. They appreciate that if they want to travel, their house will be taken care of. Even while at home, they don't have to worry about snow removal, yard work, home repairs, maintenance of their furnished appliances or even cooking. Masonic Village takes care of their needs, but the Horns still get to make all of the decisions that are important to them: which of the six restaurants to dine in when they don't want to cook, what activities to participate in, how the house is cleaned, how the yard is landscaped and the list goes on.

They also have security knowing that if an unexpected life event occurs and one or both of them need additional services, they are readily available through personal care, nursing services, home care, rehabilitation services and hospice at the Masonic Village.

"We wanted to be in a top tier retirement community, especially one that we know will always be top tier ... We are constantly seeing improvements being made to keep pace with the current trends in health care and retirement living. This maintains the high quality of service provided by the Village and enhances the high quality of life that we experience," the couple expressed in an email.

As part of its efforts to meet changing and growing needs, Masonic Village just completed 38 new cottages between the Formal Gardens and Veterans Grove. A limited number of these brand new cottages are still available for reservation. The project includes site work for up to 100 cottages which will be constructed upon demand.

Each new home in this area includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spacious sunroom with the option for a den, two-car garage and a select number with basements. Open floor plans provide between 1,488 and 1,966 sq. ft. of living space. All kitchens include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and upgraded cabinets.

Up the hill, the Masonic Health Care Center and Freemasons Building (personal care) also are experiencing changes. Residents' suites are being renovated and updated with new furniture to feel more homelike. Nursing stations are being relocated to less conspicuous areas and replaced by large family rooms to promote a strong sense of community. Changes in dining services also will provide more choices and a more fulfilling meal experience.

It's values like these that the Horns appreciate about the Masonic Village. "I've always liked my parents' generation - the World War II generation," Bro. Horn said. "I really enjoy the conversations we have with people and the values they hold ... I like living in a community of like-minded people."

"Our children are very happy that we made this move to such a high quality community. They love to visit and also have the peace of mind that we always will be cared for," the Horns said. An important bonus, their grandchildren love the campus' cows, fish, birds, trees, orchard, swimming pool and Farm Market. "They want to come back to Nanny and Pappy's to share in the fun," the Horns said.

To jump on the retirement living train at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, call (800) 676-6452.

Brotherly Love in Lafayette Hill

Brothers (in fraternal bond and family relationship), Herbert and Chris Reynolds, both of Fritz Lodge No. 308, Conshohocken, moved with their wives to the Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill in the same moving truck 11 years ago and have remained just as close ever since.

"We're Masons, and we thought about it quite a bit. There was no question in our minds that this was the place to be," Bro. Herbert said.

For several years before his passing, their oldest brother, William, and his wife also lived at the Masonic Village. "We were referred to as the 'six pack,'" Bro. Chris Reynolds said.

Throughout the years, they've been involved in many of the community's offerings - the model train room, bowling alley, wood shop, going on trips, cultural opportunities in nearby Philadelphia and the gift shop (which Bro. Herbert's wife, Lois, helps to run), to name a few.

The 801 Club was created for Masons to join in fellowship and support one another and has impacted both brothers. Once a month, the members meet and listen to a speaker. They also started working with other lodges to gather unused lodge furniture to set up so nearby lodges could hold lodge meetings at the Masonic Village. People who otherwise could not attend lodge now can witness the conferral of degrees.

Because Fritz Lodge is located so close to the Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill, many of the residents prefer to attend lodge there, rather than drive to their home towns. Some residents have become dual members, and every month, at least three car loads of Masons travel from the Masonic Village to lodge meetings.

"Since I joined the Masons, I always wanted to be the Master of my lodge. Here, I had fellow Masons to help with the rituals and such," Bro. Chris said. He served as Worshipful Master of Fritz Lodge in 2009. "I just don't think I could have done it otherwise."

Bro. Herbert also mentioned the unique sense of camaraderie. "It's great that there are a lot of Masonic brothers here. Even the non-Masonic brothers are great ... They have their own lives, but we still have a lot in common," he said. "There are a lot of people who have lots of talents here, and we help each other out." He went on to explain that just that morning, he noticed one of his tables could benefit from some glue, and a friend from the wood shop promised to stop by later to take a look.

The brothers openly share their experiences at Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill with anyone who asks. When people tour the Masonic Village, they both open their homes so others can see what two of the retirement living apartments look like with furniture. It helps the visitors picture what their own apartment might look like and the brothers get to meet new friends. "My wife, [Joan], and I know everyone in this building," Bro. Chris Reynolds added.

To join the Masonic movement at the Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill, call (610) 828-5760. Or, plan to attend a presentation on March 15.

Trusting in the Vision in Sewickley

Eight years ago, Bro. John W. Haught, Forbes Trail Lodge No. 783, Export, and his wife, Sara, White Shrine of Jerusalem, Greensburg, toured the future site of the Masonic Village at Sewickley. What they saw was potential.

"Since we both had been exposed to Masonic affiliations for close to 50 years, we knew a retirement community managed by Masonic upper management was proper for our worry-free retirement," Bro. Haught said.

Since 2003, Masonic Village at Sewickley has grown to include 43 villas, 228 apartments, a wellness center, indoor pool, nursing and personal care neighborhoods and a clubhouse which features a branch bank, restaurants, computer room, general store, hair salon, art studio, lifelong learning center, assembly room, billiards hall, library and administrative offices.

And their experience HAS been worry-free!

Two restaurants on campus provide meal plans that allow residents to dine out as much or as little as they want while still providing outstanding food and keeping meals interesting by throwing in outings like picnics or dinner on the river - at no extra cost. Residents also enjoy housekeeping, maintenance, many utilities, trash and snow removal, landscaping, scheduled transportation, activities and much more within their monthly service fee, so managing finances becomes a breeze.

On Nov. 3, the date stone was laid for the new Sturgeon Health Care Center at the Masonic Village at Sewickley. The 64,000 sq. ft. addition will be completed in 2012, and renovations to the existing nursing center will commence after its completion. The completed building will offer 16-bed units, called "neighborhoods," which will provide a more home-like environment. This is exciting news for residents in retirement living, as well, because should they ever need nursing or personal care, they can rest assured that the services will be provided and their nest egg will be secure because they live in a Lifecare community.

But worry-free living is only exceptional when paired with opportunities, and that is just what Masonic Village at Sewickley offers.

"It is a community where residents can be as active as they wish; there are many varied activities for all to participate in, and for those who desire, they can become members of the many resident advisory committees. There is something at Masonic Village at Sewickley for all residents to become active in, if they wish," Bro. Haught said.

"It all adds up to provide close fellowship and an opportunity to be a major part of seeing the tenets of Masonry grow here."

To find out more about worry-free living at the Masonic Village at Sewickley, call (866) 872-0664. Or, plan to attend one of the following events:

Lifecare Seminar: January 25
Open House: February 23
Seminar: March 29

The Masonic Villages' website, www.masonicvillagespa.org, provides a wealth of information to help answer your questions. If you want to take a glimpse at what life looks like at the Masonic Villages across the state, visit www.facebook.com/masonicvillages for recent photos, upcoming events and tidbits of information. You can even comment on information you like!

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