When Alan Bowen and Sam Panebianco retired from their jobs at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living retirement community in Pompton Plains, New Jersey, they knew the perfect place to move to with their wives—-their former workplace.
"We were looking for the best, and we got it," said Sam, who was a beloved bus driver at Cedar Crest for almost nine years. His wife Pat is also a former employee, having worked on campus for two years as a RN in the Certified Home Health Department.
"Honestly, my wife and I didn't look at any other community. We both loved this place from the beginning," said Sam.
Sam, who won a Cedar Crest Value Award for Excellence in 2013, was dedicated to his job and making sure residents got to their destination safely.
"I used to start my trips off with my name is Sam but if anything goes wrong my name is Harry. I got a laugh every time," he joked.
Sam said he sometimes misses his job, but he is still able to stop by the transportation department to chat with his former coworkers and "bust chops." Since he and Pat both know the ins and outs of campus, they have made an easy transition to life as residents.
"We go to the movies, love the restaurants, and enjoy the people," said Sam. "Next year we look forward to going on some trips."
Like Sam, Alan received a Cedar Crest Value Award for Excellence and was a much-loved employee on campus, having worked as Chaplain for 12 years in Cedar Crest's continuing care neighborhood, Mountainview Gardens. In his job, he launched the popular Baby Blessings event for employees and residents.
"I've blessed over 100 babies," said Alan. "I would read a story, bless the children, give them a book to take home, and then we had a parade where we would march around the Garden Room with percussion instruments."
Another popular event Alan started was Spiritual Sparks, a weekly interdenominational event. Alan would share good news stories, corny jokes, special anniversary celebrations with residents as well as offering prayers for the sick and departed.
Although Alan knew his move to Cedar Crest would be a good one for him, his wife Kathy needed a little convincing to move from their home of 47 years located in Wayne, New Jersey.
"I wasn't sure because Alan had been working here so long," said Kathy. "I didn't know if I would be as happy since he knew people already. But I found it is wonderful. I've made a lot of friends."
The move to Cedar Crest was very smooth. After selling their house a few weeks after putting on the market, they moved into a top-floor apartment home with a spectacular view of the mountain.
Alan now works part-time as associate minister for welcome and community at Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown and Kathy volunteers her time at the Church's Encore Thrift Shop. In addition to staying active with their church and the Diocese, they adore spending time with their grandchildren and family members who live close by in Pompton Plains and Mendham. Their oldest grandson is a student at Villanova.
On campus, they enjoy having dinner with their neighbors and meeting new friends. Alan likes walking the campus and Kathy works out in the fitness center.
"The best part of Cedar Crest is my neighbors. I'm a very outgoing person and I love to have people around me," said Kathy.
"I'm experiencing what many of the residents have told me, that this is a great place and it is," said Alan.
About Cedar Crest: Cedar Crest, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 130-acre campus in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. The community is located in Morris County and is home to 1,800 residents. Additional information about Cedar Crest can be found at CedarCrestCommunity.com.