Throughout the 12 months of 2021, we saw our community come together in so many positive ways. Living with all the uncertainties and going through the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us that being part of a resilient community is paramount. Before we step into a brand new year, let’s reflect on 2021 and some of the events and celebrations that Vinson Hall Retirement Community residents enjoyed.
Starting at the end of December 2020 and continuing in January 2021, VHRC clinical leaders, working with CVS Pharmacies, provided six COVID-19 vaccine clinics, providing more than 550 residents and staff with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. These clinics and the vaccine gave residents an immense sense of security and allowed us to start to prepare for a safer and more social 2021. This was the start of getting back to the “new normal.”
After enjoying sparkly Christmas trees, we happily re-dressed them in February to become Valentine’s trees. Residents offered friendly support by posting hearts inscribed with words of encouragement on the windows of the connector walkways. Some notes thanked staff while others paid tribute to friends and loved ones.
In March, the Service of Remembrance led by VHRC’s Chaplain Scott Harrison honored friends and neighbors who had passed away over the course of the year. This video-taped service was especially healing as VHRC residents — like the rest of the country — had not been able to gather to celebrate and honor the lives of friends.
In April, Ambassador Ted Russell was selected as the Paul Peak Resident of the Year. This award was established in 2015 by Mrs. Jane Peak, in memory and in honor of her husband, CAPT Paul Peak, who was a 25-year resident of VHRC. Like CAPT Peak, Amb. Russell is an active supporter of VHRC. For the past two years, Amb. Russell has been the president of the Vinson Hall Residents’ Association, a position that took on a new significance as he became the prime representative for Vinson Hall and Willow Oak residents as they navigated the challenges of the pandemic. Our community came together, virtually, during this time to celebrate Amb. Russell and to honor CAPT Peak and his family’s continuing support of VHRC.
We honored the much-loved VHRC employee Fred Johnson in May by dedicating the Bistro to him and renaming it Fred Johnson’s Bistro. In June, we celebrated VHRC’s 52nd birthday party with our largest gathering since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Friends and neighbors celebrated in the Penthouse Lounge with champagne and cake.
In 2021, VHRC presented the new Sports Park. This new amenity could not have come at a better time as, due to COVID-19, residents were looking for more outdoor activities to stay active. This new space, created through resident input and staff coordination, provided a fun spot for residents to play bocce ball, ladder ball, horseshoes, and pickleball. Our first official sports tournament held in the Sports Park was a Corn Bag Toss Tournament. Under bright blue September skies, 14 teams competed for corn bag toss glory! We look forward to many more fun times in the Sports Park, which is equipped with picnic tables and a barbecue area, creating a wonderful space for residents to have fun and stay fit.
Special events bring our community together, and we were able to enjoy quite a few “safe” events during the fall months. In early October, residents and staff showed support by wearing purple and participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on the VHRC campus. At the end of the month, the annual Halloween costume party included competitions for the scariest, most creative, and best group costumes. November was when the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation honored its Star Members, individuals who donated $250 or more to the Foundation in 2021 to support the Foundation’s mission, with dinner and drinks at the annual Evening with the Stars party.
December is always full of holiday spirit here on campus. Starting the week after Thanksgiving, staff, residents and volunteers came together to decorate over 20 Christmas trees. Together, this crew of decorators festooned all of the lobbies and common areas around campus with garland, lights, and greenery. Thanks to this team, many residents who had downsized their own holiday decorations are able to enjoy a beautiful but maintenance-free holiday! Also, during this month, the warmth of the community is brought into the spotlight with friendly camaraderie, music and festivities all month long — ‘tis the season to be jolly!
We hope you enjoyed this look back at 2021, and we invite you, if you’re considering where you’ll spend your retirement, to think about all of the benefits – and the fun! – that a retirement community like VHRC can offer. We’re happy to answer any questions and help you to look forward to an exciting new year. Call us at 703-536-4344 or click here to fill out this form and our team will get back with you.