In August, Crest Crest celebrated its fifteenth anniversary as one of North Jersey's most popular continuing care retirement communities. On August 19, Cedar Crest commemorated this important milestone with a ceremony on campus.
Executive Director Lou Varella gave a warm welcome to the more than 100 guests in attendance.
"Fifteen years ago our first two residents made the choice to add more living to their lives and chose Cedar Crest as their home," said Varella. "I would like to thank our pioneer residents. They are the ones who helped build the foundation of the community by bringing forth their spirits, their interests, and their ideas to create a community that celebrates life."
The program included stories and memories from residents and staff, a slideshow, and music by the Cedar Crest Chorale.
Cedar Crest's first executive director Gary Hibbs returned to campus for the celebration. With Erickson Living since 1995, Hibbs has held several positions in the company and is currently the executive director at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Hibbs remembered how three weeks after the opening, the 9/11 tragedy struck. Residents and staff immediately banded together to provide each other comfort and to pray. "I'll never forget the sense of community," he said.
Hibbs joined resident and professional folk singer Shirley Kelley on stage to lead the audience in singing a few songs including the Cedar Crest Pep Song and Alma Mater and "Let There Be Peace on Earth."
Donna Martin, Cedar Crest's first and only finance director, shared memories of her early years in the community. "Cedar Crest is about family, about growing together, and about becoming part of a family," said Martin.
Pioneer resident Ann Weber told the beautiful love story of how she met her future husband Joe Greenfield shortly after moving to campus. In 2003, they were the first Cedar Crest couple to get married.
Resident Betty Driver shared her memoir, "Yoko and the Coincidence," about her experience meeting resident Shirley Kelley at the Brooklyn Club meeting on campus. This encounter was the first time they met each other, even though they grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools and played with the same childhood friend Yoko. Cedar Crest brought them together 68 years later.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed refreshments and Cedar Crest staff distributed 5, 10, and 15-year pins to residents.
The month-long celebration includes a variety of events including a Lip Sync Battle, Elegant Evening in the Dining Rooms, photo contest, and spirit week.
Cedar Crest is one of 18 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living. The scenic 104-acre campus is located in Pompton Plains, New Jersey and is home to over 2,000 residents. The community offers abundant amenities, hundreds of clubs and activities, on-site restaurants, a state-of-the-art medical center, an all-season pool and a fitness center.