Mount Gretna Theater; Creative Aging Workshop

By Jessica Miller

Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone has a group of actors and actresses acting out their story for all to see. On March 30, Gretna Theatre gave that gift to a few Londonderry Village residents through a performance based upon a five week Creative Aging Writing workshop held at the Village.

Designed by Gretna Theatre’s Managing Director, Joe Giardina, the Creative Aging Workshop is a project that explores the journeys we all travel in our lives. The goal is to reminisce, record the memories in writing, followed by sharing through personal readings and then retelling through a theatrical, monologue style, creative play experience.

“In discussing these programs with our Board,” says Giardina, “I was reminded of the stories my relatives told me about how my parents came to America and what life had been like for them in Italy.  I thought that everyone loves to tell their stories and I am a great believer in lifelong learning so the two parts: engagement with the arts and telling stories felt like a perfect fit. When we think of history we usually think of the big picture.  By capturing these stories of the lives people have led we get a chance to look at history through a smaller, more intimate lens.”

Each resident’s life experience is filled with stories of laughter, accomplishments, tragedies and blessings.  Taking time to record the moments in your life provides a strong connection to the family and friends that surround each of us. A group of energetic residents volunteered to learn the joys of gathering their thoughts and writing their life stories down into words.

“I have all these goals in life, one was writing, painting, and when this came up I wanted to learn tips on writing. I love making people laugh and be happy. They [Gretna actors] were professional teachers and I thought wow! It was one of my goals and there it was.” says Edith Stuart, a resident who participated in the writing program.

At the end of the writing workshop, Gretna Theatre teaching artist, Janice Gunnells compiled the life stories into a performance piece.  Gretna Theatre brought in 4 actors to perform the piece, in the DiMatteo Worship Center at Londonderry Village on March 30. The actors shared the journeys of these residents through what we call “A life well lived!”

Londonderry Village and Gretna Theatre have had the pleasure of partnering together on several occasions the last few years through housing actors when the Theatre couldn’t find housing for their summer actors, to Gretna Theatre performing The Littlest Angel in our DiMatteo Worship Center, to Londonderry Village sponsoring a summer play by Gretna Theatre. This year, Londonderry Village is proud to once again sponsor a Gretna Theatre summer performance of Broadway Bound.

The Way I See It

By Tyler Weaber

Larry and Millie Kish will be calling Londonderry Village home in May. A couple who turned a blind date into 45 blissful years of marriage will be turning their duplex into their new forever home. Larry, an avid woodworker will be transitioning a room in his new basement into his own custom woodshop. “My love of woodworking started when I was young, my father dabbled in wood.” This is something Larry has continued his whole life. Larry and Millie who both worked for the Hershey Company have 2 children, 4 grandchildren and still find time to do the things they love.

” I would say I spend 20-25 hours a week in my current woodshop creating tops and bowls that I give away as gifts.” Larry says. “He never makes the exact same item twice. He creates all of the ideas in his head” Millie says of her husband’s woodworking.

While her husband is busy in his woodshop and volunteering at ‘Friends in Action’ in Middletown, Millie is busy handling all of the accounting work, on a volunteer basis for Shining-Light Ministries. Larry started making these tops years ago and gave them to his grandchildren and friends but he soon saw a real opportunity to give back through his work at ‘Friends in Action’. They ship Larry’s’ tops to places like Uganda, Nicaragua, Vanuatu and Moldova.

“It’s so great to be able to give back to children who are less fortunate.” says Larry. “If the children attend bible study every day for two weeks straight they receive a top as a gift.” Larry who has a majority of his wood donated to him by friends and family always finds different ways to design and color the tops to make them special for the children. “Our daughter did missionary work in Moldova so that’s why we started to ship Larry’s tops there. The children love them” says Millie.

Larry has created numerous tops, bowls, wine glasses, a scrapbooking cabinet and doll house for his daughter throughout his time in his woodshop. “You have to make what the wood gives you” when asked about his intricate design of his creations.

Larry will be bringing his wood lathe, table saw, planer, open end drum sander, drill press and other instruments from his current woodshop to be installed into his new shop in the basement of his duplex. Larry and Millie have many friends that have moved to Londonderry Village and they knew they eventually wanted to make the move.

“When Tyler walked us through the duplex we knew this was home. It felt so amazing to us. The extra room in the basement that Larry can turn into his woodshop seemed like it was meant to be” says Millie. Larry and Millie don’t want their children to have to worry about them in the future and they want to be surrounded by friends in a warm communitywith less responsibility. “We hope to be here a long time” Millie says.



About fifteen years ago, my mother was entering the latter stages of her eight-year struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. As a career professional in the area of aging services, I had dealt with Alzheimer’s Disease for many years, so I knew what was coming…but it didn’t make it any easier to experience. My mother no longer knew me by my name. She recognized me as someone who cared about her, and for her, but the name she had given me no longer meant anything to her.

Names are powerful in our culture. They define us, give us an identity separate from others, and help others to recognize us. For all of those reasons, and more, it was not an easy decision on the part of our LVBH Board of Directors to change our name. In truth, it has been reported that there have been periodic discussions (at the Board level) about changing the name for close to 30 years! So why change now?

In previous communications, I have discussed the drawbacks of the current name. “Lebanon Valley” is geographically vague, and it is also confusing due to other businesses that have a similar prefix. “Brethren” reflects our church tradition, which is appreciated by our residents and prospects, but many folks mistakenly believe that you must be Brethren to be admitted; that, of course, is not true, as only a little more than 20% of our residents have faith roots in the Church of the Brethren. Our own research showed that our future customers are looking to move to a faith-based retirement community, but they largely do not care which Christian denomination is the sponsor.

The single most important reason, however, as to why we are switching to “Londonderry Village,” this month, is the negative associations that folks have with the word “Home”. It seems hard to believe, on one hand, because we continually strive to provide a welcoming environment that has all the comforts and security of a home. However, using the term “Home” in our name was perceived negatively due to the connotation of an “old folks home.” Our Board and staff strongly feel that our “village” is anything but an old folks home. Actually, there is very little “retiring’ going on in this ‘retirement community’! Our residents are vibrant and active, with a strong sense of community and an even stronger sense of service to others. That is our true identity, and that is why we feel that Londonderry Village is a more appropriate name for this new and exciting era.

Thanks for Listening!

Jeff Shireman, President

Read more about our name change by clicking here.

Undercover Love Bug

By Tyler Weaber

As people around the world celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday, there was no shortage of love at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home. Marcia Blatt, our Director of Therapeutic Recreation, created a tradition here at LVBH 3 years ago where employees get to show their love and appreciation for our Elders on this special day. Undercover Love Bug is an event where our employees anonymously sign up to purchase a small gift to give to one of our Elders in nursing care to help spread the love around campus. This year over 90 Elders were gifted with a special Valentine’s Day surprise from their own Undercover Love Bug.

Cierra Hockley a CNA who has worked at LVBH for the past 3 years signed up to gift Elder, Erma, with a cuddly surprise. Cierra purchased a zebra stuffed animal in a Valentine’s Day themed coffee cup. Upon clocking into her shift today she snuck her way to Erma’s room to give her the special Valentine’s Day gift. Erma lit up with a huge small over her new cuddly gift and gave Cierra a big hug as a thank you.

Cierra enjoyed participating in this event. She has loved working for LVBH and considers the Elders here as a family members. When an opportunity arose for her to give a special gift to one of them it was a no brainer. She enjoys the care she can give to our elders and loves to see them smile.

Resident Services Assistant

By Melissa Halvin

I am Melissa Halvin and I am the Resident Services assistant. My office is located in the hub of the Snell Community Center, directly across from the Paul and Carol Boll Wellness Center. Stop in anytime as I love meeting all of our wonderful residents. I am here to help in any way possible.

I am an alumni of Penn State, University Park, where I received my degree in Therapeutic Recreation in 1996. This has helped me in all of my best jobs and will help me better serve our residents. I previously worked for HealthSouth Rehab in Aquatic Therapy. I also worked at Philhaven Hospital, ReMed Recovery Care Center where I specialized in working with adults who have had brain trauma or injuries.

Here at Lebanon Valley Brethren home under the leadership of our Resident Services Director, Mary Lee Harpel I will be helping to plan daily events for our residents, writing our Independent Living Newsletter and I will serve as our Volunteer Coordinator.

I also feel that my role here is to help solve problems for all residents and potential residents. Whether it’s giving them help with signing up for a bus trip, answering questions about our community or just lending an ear to a resident who needs someone to speak with. No problem is too big, too small or too complicated. I hope to bring new and exciting programs and clubs to our beautiful campus. I look forward to chatting with you in person very soon.

Melissa Halvin

Presidential Ponderings

Jeff’s 2016 Christmas List:

Peace and Grace to the residents of LVBH and their families.

Healing for our country and citizenry after a contentious general election.

Comfort and Healing for all of those members of the LVBH family who have experienced losses and significant changes this year.

Blessings upon the LVBH staff, whose tireless and dedicated efforts are the ‘rock’ upon which this Community is built. Their ministry of service and compassion is an inspiration to me on a daily basis.

Wisdom and conviction for our LVBH Board of Directors, including new members for 2016: Ray Deimler, Jr., and Don Witman. Thanksgiving for the efforts of retiring Board members Pat Castagna and Jeff Davis. Blessings upon the leadership of Board Chair Craig Moyer.

Gratitude for residents, families and volunteers who have a heart for service, and who willingly give of their time and treasure in supporting LVBH.

Direction for the LVBH management team as we seek to lead LVBH through turbulent times. Blessings as we introduce a new name for this organization.

Gratitude for my wife Kristi, our four children, and our Labrador Retriever, Bella.

Peace and the love of Christ for our divided world.

Merry Christmas, everyone,

Jeff Shireman, President



Veteran’s Day Parade

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By Tyler Weaber

On Saturday, November 12th Lebanon Valley Brethren Home held a special ceremony to honor all of our veterans, not only those on campus but all over the country for their love and service to our beautiful country. Chuck Theal, a resident and veteran, contacted Mary Lee Harpel, our Director of Residents Services. He wanted to plan a special event to honor veterans. With the support from our community and other veterans living on campus Chuck planned a wonderful parade and recognition ceremony.

The parade, which started around 9:30am, attended by other LVBH residents and people from the surrounding community lasted about 30 minutes and went throughout our campus. McGuire’s Ford Lincoln and Klick Lewis loaned us some of their cars to transport the veterans around campus. Also in attendance was a fire truck, and old military vehicles. For our musical entertainment Palmyra High School Band was here to play music throughout the event.

After the parade everyone proceeded into our Di Mattero Worship center where we held the recognition part of the ceremony. Well attended, the ceremony went off without a hitch. Reverend Paul Boll, an LVBH resident opened the ceremony with a warm welcome for all those attending. Theal had all attending veterans stand to represent the different historic events in our country’s history our veteran’s helped serve in such as WWII and the Vietnam War and those who are still on active duty. SGT Steve Bord and the Palmyra marching band also performed a melody of songs including a beautiful performance of “God Bless America” to honor our veterans. Friends, family, staff members, and people from our community stood and clapped in appreciation and honor for the services of these brave men and women.

5 Generations

By Tyler Weaber

So much love in one picture! Fellow Green House resident, Rosemary, was joined by her five generation family visiting and sharing quality time out on the Green House patio before the cold winter air approaches. Rosemary, who has been living at LVBH for 13 years loves spending time with her family. Pictured with Rosemary is her son, Robert, her granddaughter, Crystal, great granddaughter, Amanda, and her great, great grandson, Elijah.

Rosemary, who has lived in central Pennsylvania her whole life decided years ago, along with her loving husband, Eden, to move to LVBH because it was a faith base community that was affordable, offered continued care and had a beautiful environment for them to spend their senior years of life together. Rosemary and Eden who once described their years at LVBH as a vacation, first started out living in a Cottage for six years before moving into an apartment, then eventually transitioned into the Green House. Rosemary’s family said that they were even more impressed with LVBH and their response to the passing of her husband in 2011. They feel as though Rosemary has an additional family within the residents and staff of the Hostetter House. “They do such a wonderful job of meeting all of her needs whether it be everyday physical, mental, social or emotional needs.”

Rosemary, who is sometimes referred to as “Mom” in Hostetter House, had a vibrant life with her husband here on campus. They enjoyed daily conversation with Snack Shop employees and excursions with the home’s van drivers. When asked to describe her grandmother, Crystal, had this to say, “Rosemary cooked delicious chicken pot pie and baked award winning cookies. No matter what she was doing, she made time to talk and listen to others. She was that go-to friend for babysitting, an avid volunteer at her church, and the neighbor who helped others in need. The thing Rosemary did best was make us feel special and love us unconditionally. We are so proud to be her legacy – a five generation family.”



By Tyler Weaber

“This is their restaurant. We wanted to cater it to their liking. We are doing this for them.” Seasons restaurant manager, Tyler Sell says when speaking of our new dining experience on campus. On September 12th, 2016 LVBH opened the doors to brand new restaurant, Seasons. Open 4:00pm-7:00pm Monday through Saturday and open for brunch 11:00am-2:00pm all you can eat for $12.99 plus tax on Sundays.

LVBH’s new restaurant offers a large customized menu that can satisfy anyone’s hunger. Whether you are wanting a juicy New York strip steak, some fresh herb crusted tilapia, or a light strawberry chicken salad the options are endless. “The food is delicious, the atmosphere is relaxing and the servers are so friendly,” one resident has been heard saying.

With Wheaton phase one complete and as Wheaton phase two begins, we realized we needed to add more dining options for our ever growing community. Seasons offers a classy, server style dining experience at affordable prices all accessible without leaving our community. With a new restaurant brings a need for a larger staff. Under the leadership of our Director of Dining Services, Kathi Sheppard, we have added a head chef, souse chef, restaurant manager, and two line cooks along with the rest of our dietary department who work together as a team to serve the dining needs of our healthcare center, Northview dining hall, Stoneback Library & Cafe and our Seasons restaurant, and what a great job they have done!

With the addition of our two newly designed dining dollar program options, paying for a resident’s meal at our new restaurant is easier than ever. Plus, with our meal plan options residents now have the opportunity to treat their friends and families with their dining dollars, if they would like. Seasons offers space for all sizes of parties, including our private dining room that can be reserved for intimate dinners and seats up to 10.

When asked where he sees the restaurant in the years to come our restaurant manager, Tyler Sell says, ” I would like to add more items to our menu, host seasonal food specials along with different food themed days such as Italian, Spanish, Mexican etc. I also would like to be able to do more catering for on campus events such as BBQ’s, pig roasts and luaus. It’s a learning process but we are a team who’s eager to continue to grow and offer more exciting options for our residents. ”

Stop by and experience the flavors of our Seasons restaurant. For reservations please call 717-838-5406 ext. 3612.