Rittenhouse Village at Portage celebrated their 10 Year Anniversary on Wednesday with a Mask-erade party in their parking lot that commemorated a decade of success, growth, and plenty of love for their residents.
What started out as a handful of residents, and small but dedicated core of employees has grown into one of the most vibrant senior living communities in the Region. Due to COVID-19 precautions, residents had their own celebration inside while staff and local supporters did some masked, socially-distanced mingling on the outside to share their stories from their time at Rittenhouse.
“I am extremely proud of the community and team we have built over the last 10 years,” said Marsha Leonard, Director of Rittenhouse Village at Portage. “Our residents look out for each other and our team members do the same. I love the relationships that I’ve formed here, our team and the residents are an extended family. It warms my heart to walk in each morning and see the smiles back at me.”
Leonard gave credit to the residents and staff for the successful decade and called attention to a handful of team members who have been working at the community since the beginning. Susan Markos, a licensed practical nurse, is one of those individuals.
“It’s been a rewarding experience seeing this community grow,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot here and I use all of my skills. Everyone here’s like a family, it’s a really special place.”
Steffani Dranchak, Lead QMA of Rittenhouse Village at Portage, came aboard during the community’s first year.
“Teamwork is what’s most important,” she said. “We take our individual jobs very seriously and have a lot of pride in what we do, but without being able to come together as a team our community would not be what it is today. I’ve made lifelong friends here, and love coming to work every day. When you love coming to work, a job isn’t a job.”
A few residents have also been living at Rittenhouse Village at Portage since their opening day, such as Jackie Bartley.
“It wasn’t this big back when it opened, I’ve had lots of friends come in,” she said. “It’s a real community, with lots of activities. I always look forward to the entertainment. I love the bingo, happy hour, and getting together with all of the people.”
Janice Earls, Director of Housekeeping for Rittenhouse Village at Portage, is another 10 year veteran. She said that residents like Bartley are a big part of what make it such a great place to work.
“The residents are special,” she said. “Recently, with COVID-19, they haven’t been able to see their families, so we have to be that family. We took on that job of being their family, and they have been nothing but kind and sweet in return. I just love them, this is a beautiful place to be.”
Oftentimes, residents run into familiar faces when the first move into Rittenhouse according to Kay L. Bowman, another licensed practical nurse who has been there since the beginning
“A lot of times, somehow and someway, these residents have known each other at some point in their lives,” she said. “They went to high school together, were in the military together, or worked together. It’s amazing to see them connect that way. As their nurse, you become their friend and confidant. They’re kind of like your mother or your father. You just fall in love with them.”
Rittenhouse also started offering memory care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia during the decade, and Director of Health and Wellness Amanda Elkins has been with the team ever since.
“Rittenhouse has given me a feeling of home,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow with this community. I get much satisfaction from the amazing care we can provide, and love going to work knowing that I can make a small difference to someone each day.”
During the party, all the 10 year veteran staff members joined to recognize Leonard for her leadership.
“I have the best boss in the world,” Earls said. “She is a true, true person. You will never ever find a better person than Marsha Leonard.”
To learn more about Rittenhouse Village at Portage, visit www.rittenhousevillages.com.