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On October 13 the Air Force did a flyover in honor of Texas’ newest Blue Star Memorial marker located at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center (12477 Merit Dr, Dallas, TX 75251). This is of significance, as this is the third Blue Star Memorial in Dallas. The marker was unveiled during a dedication ceremony, preceded with remarks from Tim Mallad, CEO of Presbyterian Communities and Services; and Dana Harkey, president of Designers and Diggers Garden Study Club. The dedication ceremony included an invocation and benediction, patriotic music, flag presentation by the color guard, and the playing of taps. Approximately 200 people were in attendance, and among them there was active members of the military as well as veterans and their loved ones.

 

“This is an incredible honor, and we are pleased to be the third site in Dallas to receive a Blue Star Memorial marker,” said Mallad. “This is a living tribute that honors all of the men and women who served, are serving or will serve in the United States armed forces. We are honored that the Designers and Diggers Garden Study Club voted to provide the funds for the Blue Star Memorial Marker, its installation and the maintenance of the garden in which the memorial will be placed. We are thankful that Harriet Gibbs, chairman of the dedication ceremony, suggested the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center as a suitable place for the next marker in Dallas. She has a personal connection with Faith Presbyterian Hospice, as she served as a chairman in the Each Moments Matter Luncheon and learned of the opening of the new hospice center through her ties with the organization. We serve many veterans and the marker will be a meaningful tribute to them and their families.”

 

The markers are always paired with plants so that the memorial is a living one. The hope is that it will evoke inspiration and gratitude in those who see it and stop to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

“It is a privilege for our garden club to sponsor this Blue Star Memorial at the Pickens Hospice Center today,” said Gibbs. “Veterans’ issues have been a project area for our club for many years. This setting is a perfect location to remember with gratitude and honor those men and women who have protected our country and will continue to do so in the future. We must never forget their sacrifice, the huge debt of gratitude that is owed and that we only enjoy the liberties we have because they served to protect them. Patients, families, staff and those who enjoy walking the lake path will view this marker and be reminded to honor all those who defend our freedom.”

 

The Blue Star Memorial Program began with the planting of 8,000 Dogwood trees by the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs in 1944 as a living memorial to veterans of World War II. In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted this program and created a Blue Star Highway system which covers thousands of miles across the Continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. They envisioned a “ribbon of living memorial plantings traversing every state.” The first year after the program was adopted, seven states placed markers. By the end of 1949, more than 33 states were participating and more than 16,000 miles were dedicated, with large metal Blue Star Memorial Highway Markers placed at appropriate locations along the way. The Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, as well as in churches and businesses. It is still a symbol that people recognize to this day.

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The Rogers

Some Dallasites choose to live in the vibrancy of Uptown while they are in college or post-college before starting their families. Others migrate back to the scene as empty nesters, choosing the convenience of high-rise living and the proximity to entertainment and fine dining. Cullen Rogers, 80, and Dolores Rogers, 77, spent the last 13 years living in a high-rise in Uptown. Now, the couple is craving a different experience that fits them better. They want to learn new things, participate in exciting activities and enjoy an environment filled with hospitality and amenities, as well as be surrounded by more of their peers. This year, the Rogers will move from their condo in Uptown to a spacious apartment in Leonard Rose Villas at Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a senior living community in North Dallas. In the midst of a $93 million expansion project, the vibrant senior living community will offer them the active lifestyle they crave, as well as opportunities to volunteer and socialize in a wonderful location, surrounded by their peers. 

 

“It was important to make this move at an early age to a community where we can fill our lives with fun and rewarding activities, while still knowing that extra help is available should we need anything later in our lives,” said Cullen. “Many seniors opt to stay in their home, and then when a health condition is exacerbated or catches a family off-guard, the children are stuck in the middle. They must deal with the chaos of deciding whether their parents should move or not and where they should move – all the while dealing with their own emotional stress from the situation at hand. Our goal was to alleviate that stress for them and for us, in knowing that we will soon be in a community that offers nearly everything we could ever need in our retirement, from both a lifestyle standpoint and a wellness standpoint. As a continuing care retirement community, Presbyterian Village North provides independent living, assisted living, memory care, rehab and skilled nursing. This gives us full confidence that we can easily access additional care in the future if we need it.”

 

“We are excited to move into the Leonard Rose Villas, as we have discovered that there are a lot of people we have known from other times in our life who currently live at PVN,” said Dolores. “Cullen and I are both Dallas natives and have spent practically our entire lives here. We are looking forward to catching up with longstanding friends and getting to know new neighbors. Our former neighbors and friends, John and Betty Birkner, owned a condo on the same floor as us in Uptown and recently relocated to Martins Landing at Presbyterian Village North. We did not know they were also considering moving into a senior living community, and we were delighted when we found out about their decision. We love how they have integrated hospitality into the culture of the community. There are new memories to be made in these coming years!”

 

Cullen and Dolores have fond memories of PVN, as both of their mothers lived at the community in the assisted living and skilled nursing neighborhoods. Upon their recent visit, they determined the services offered were still excellent, the food tasted delicious and they liked the idea of maintenance-free living. They were even more eager for a move when they learned about the expansion of the campus and found out that 1,800-square-foot floorplans are available. The community’s close proximity to downtown and centralized location in regards to shopping and dining in both central and north Dallas was also a draw.

 

“The area where we currently live has a lot of energy, and it’s near the Dallas Arts District. It’s a very happening place,” said Cullen. “Given this lifestyle we are accustomed to living we knew we had to pick a senior community that would meet our expectations in regards to active living. From what I’ve seen and heard, PVN offers quite the agenda with a multitude of things to do. Everyone seems so down-to-earth and genuine. We cannot wait to get to know fellow residents. We will miss the urban lifestyle of Uptown, but we are looking forward to this new chapter at Presbyterian Village North.”

 

“Many seniors have been positively affected by PVN’s culture and the lifestyle we offer residents here on the campus,” said Ron Kelly, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “The expansion project is a way for us to offer vibrant, maintenance-free living to even more seniors in the Dallas area. It is fun for us to see how many residents knew each other at various points in their lives and to see them reconnecting in our community. By constructing a new residential building and expanding existing ones, we can open our doors to more seniors looking for a welcoming and fun community in which to call home. Our campus is a thriving place of togetherness, love and friendship. Our team prides itself on being a ministry of people serving people.”

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Presbyterian Village North (PVN) recently held Camp PVN, a summer camp held in partnership with Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and NorthPark Presbyterian Church. This camp was not only a time for light-hearted intergenerational activities among children and seniors – it was also a time for learning and sharing special gifts. During Camp PVN, children and seniors spent time together during “gift hours,” where residents imparted special knowledge of hobbies, interests or activities with participating children. A group of residents at the senior living community who cleverly dub themselves the “Knit Wits,” feel that knitting and crocheting is a lost art for today’s younger generations, as they are growing up in a time of busy schedules with other forms of entertainment. As a result, members of PVN’s Knit Wits group used some of the camp’s gift hours to teach children how to do French knitting with handheld spools. This activity was meaningful to the senior residents because they learned how to knit and crochet at around the same ages as the children in the camp. Other residents and interest groups participated as well.

 

“My mother taught me how to knit when I was 10 years old,” said Judy Morris, a resident of PVN and member of the Knit Wits group. “I watched her do it all during my childhood, so when the day came for me to learn I was not surprised. Many other children were beginning to learn from their mothers, and we just expected that we would all acquire the skill at some point. Though today’s parents do not pass down this talent to their children the way they used to, I feel it is making a comeback with young adults who are eager to experience something new. It is extremely therapeutic and can be both stress relieving and create social opportunities. We were excited to see the joy that radiated from the children’s faces as they created something unique.”

 

The Knits Wits spent four days working with the children, helping them to make flowers, headbands and other creative items. After hosting this series of activities, they are contemplating hosting other tutorials down the road during school breaks and on weekends. They experienced much joy in passing down their family knowledge of knitting and crocheting. Among all 12 members, it is estimated the group has a combined 500 years of experience, as many were taught at a young age and have been doing it all their lives.

 

“I love making scarves for people, as it is very personalized and doesn’t take too long to complete,” said Morris. “We have discussed using our talents to make items like scarves, hats and lap blankets for people in need, such as soldiers, the homeless and hospitalized children. Our group started just a few months ago, so we are still discussing how to use knitting to help others. Overall, I enjoy being a part of it because it’s fun to keep your hands busy with these projects, and it’s a nice activity to do with other people. It’s engaging for the brain in multiple respects.”

 

The Knit Wits meet every Wednesday at 2:00 in the Fun and Games room to work on their own knitting and crochet projects, making a variety of items such as pot holders, dish clothes, baby hats, blankets, scarves and more. People share their patterns, yarn, advice and weekly stories during each session. All agree it is a wonderful time for catching up, relaxing and socializing.

 

“Camp PVN is a time for generations of families to come together and learn from each other,” said Ron Kelly, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Our goal is for residents to have the opportunity to share meaningful talents, hobbies and knowledge with their grandchildren and the grandchildren of other residents. They have a wealth of wisdom and stories to tell, and creating these family friendly events and programs provides opportunities for them to connect with the children. It’s equally beneficial, as the children come to love and respect residents from a different generation even more. In return, the residents are uplifted when they see the children exploring the world – taking in their advice and communicating their own fun stories and knowledge with them. We are lucky to have such enthusiastic residents who initiate and lead groups such as the Knit Wits, and then set aside time to be a positive influence on children. We are all a ministry of people serving people.”

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Presbyterian Communities and Services has named Tim Mallad as president of the not-for-profit organization, which is comprised of premier continuing care retirement communities Presbyterian Village North and Grace Presbyterian Village, as well as Faith Presbyterian Hospice and the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center. A resident of Dallas, Mallad brings nearly 30 years of senior living experience to the organization. Phil Wentworth, chairman of the board of directors of Presbyterian Communities and Services, made the announcement.

 

“I am thrilled to have Tim join our team. He brings a broad perspective that includes decades of experience working for a for-profit company while helping not-for-profit communities achieve their goals and fulfill their visions. Tim has the ideal background necessary to be successful in this position,” said Wentworth. “Tim has a genuine passion for helping seniors, he is mission-driven and his enthusiasm is contagious. I am confident that he will support our organization’s values while focusing on the residents’ needs and leading the team members by example.”

 

Mallad joins Presbyterian Communities and Services from Irving-based Greystone Communities,   where he most recently served as first vice president. Throughout his career, Mallad has specialized in assisting faith-based, not-for-profit communities in all phases of development and operations. He directed leadership responsibilities for multiple continuing care retirement communities across the country. He has led not-for-profit organizations through cultural and organizational change, while creating, implementing and overseeing budgets, marketing efforts and sales strategies. In addition, Mallad has served as COO and executive director at the community level, as well as associate administrator and other sales and marketing positions.

 

“The values, mission and vision of Presbyterian Communities and Services align perfectly with my core beliefs. The high level of commitment to serve seniors in a unique way and the dedication of the team members and board resonate with me. I feel deeply connected to seniors, and I am grateful for the countless ways they have enriched my life over the years. I look forward to learning from the residents, families and team members I will work with in this new role,” said Mallad. “This is a pivotal time for the organization, with a major expansion underway at Presbyterian Village North, as well as a unique standalone hospice care center under construction. I am honored to join the organization, and it is my privilege to work with a team that positively impacts the lives of more than 1,200 individuals and their families each and every day in greater Dallas.”

 

Mallad was named president after an extensive national search that took nearly a year to complete. Members of the board and search committee believe the thorough effort will greatly benefit the families the organization serves.

 

“I am confident that Tim’s extensive experience and core values make him the right individual to lead the organization forward,” said Mike Wright, chairman of the selection committee. “Tim is a proven leader who has a track record of delivering results.”

 

“The members of the board of directors and I are very confident that Tim is an excellent addition to the leadership team,” said Ron Gafford, vice chairman of the board of directors of Presbyterian Communities and Services. “The board is pleased with the rigorous process the search committee underwent and is extraordinarily pleased with the results.”

 

Mallad plans to spend the first 90 days immersing himself in the day-to-day operations by visiting with residents and staff at the communities and Faith Presbyterian Hospice.

 

“I plan to observe, listen and achieve a deep understanding of the culture and history of this organization and its entities,” said Mallad. “My career has given me the foundation necessary to provide guidance and leadership. I believe we are a team, and together, we can look at unique ways to incorporate hospitality, customer service and care to provide meaningful and enriching experiences to the seniors and families we serve.”

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People are deeply affected by grief when a loved one passes away. They may find it hard to find meaning in their life without their loved one there, adding to their sense of loss. Grief can be an isolating experience for many, as reactions to grief may be overwhelming and at times frightening. To help those dealing with grief find peace and take steps toward celebrating their loved one’s life, Faith Presbyterian Hospice (FPH) recently held its eighth Butterfly Release on April 24. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation, and their release represents a celebration of change, rebirth and renewal. The memorial ceremony took place on the grounds of Faith Presbyterian Hospice’s T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center (12379 Merit Drive, Dallas TX 75143). This center will be Dallas’s first stand-alone hospice center.  It is currently under construction and set to open later this year. The ceremony will be held outdoors, as nature offers a peaceful, calm background for this event.

 

“We all find comfort in knowing we are not alone in the way we think or feel, or in what we have experienced,” said Valerie Sanchez, director of bereavement and integrated therapies for Faith Presbyterian Hospice. “I have lost both my mother and father, so I can relate to others who are grieving. How we mourn and remember can be impactful in changing us at a deep personal and spiritual level. It is important to remember our loved ones, but to remember them in a meaningful way that is both therapeutic and healthy. This is where the Butterfly Release event comes in. This event is a way for families to find peace, comfort and eventually joy in their loved one’s life. The way that butterflies transform from stillness to freedom has been compared to the progression of the grieving process, shifting from intense grief to celebration of life and memories.”

 

The Butterfly Release event was started nearly a decade ago, when the Bereavement Department at Faith Presbyterian Hospice decided it needed to host a memorial for patients’ families and loved ones, giving them the opportunity to reunite with families they have helped over the years. Approximately 30 people attended the first event, and attendance grew significantly with each passing year. After the first event, people asked if they could bring someone they thought would benefit from attending. They were reaching out because they wanted others to feel a sense of support and community. Seeing the impact the event had on the families and loved ones of patients, the Bereavement Department decided to open it to the public so all who are grieving may attend. By doing this, Faith Presbyterian Hospice helps people cope with their grief, while remembering their loved ones with honor and a joyful heart.

 

“Each year I am both overwhelmed and comforted when I invite those in attendance to reach inside and remember their loved one and release the butterfly. I feel so much of my family’s presence during this event, even though they are gone,” said Sanchez. “Each release is different because of the people who come; what it feels like as a collective group and what it looks like when the butterflies are released into the sky. One lady comes every year and wears a big straw hat on which she pins a replica monarch butterfly representative of the one she releases, symbolizing each year of her transformation. One year, we had a lady call a week prior to the event and requested a last minute RSVP because her adult son had died the week before, and she was extremely grief stricken. At the end of the ceremony, she came over to hug me and said that this event came at a time when she needed it most, as she was feeling overwhelmed by her grief. These are the stories that let me know that what we are doing is making a huge impact on the emotional wellbeing of the surrounding community. In the presence of love and acceptance, a community of people empathizes with each other’s deep sorrow and supports one another in the hope of the joy that will come. We all hope that they improve over time and find themselves in a healthier place emotionally, spiritually and physically.”

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It is common in the healthcare industry that professional development has focused almost solely on the technical aspects of work.  It is imperative that with the growth and increasing complexity of the healthcare industry, healthcare professionals work toward developing their leadership skills, as well as their technical skills. Presbyterian Communities and Services (PC&S) is leading the way when it comes to giving employees the leadership development tools they need to succeed. The nonprofit organization has created a valuable training program called Leadership That Matters: Equipping Exemplary Leaders (LTM). To share their knowledge and help others in the industry, LeeAnn Mallory, a leadership and organizational development consultant for PC&S, gave an overview of the program and taught a core element of the content at the NADONA and LeadingAge conferences in April and May. 

 

Leadership That Matters is a rigorous, practice-based program that spans 12 months. It’s designed to allow new leadership skills and capabilities to really sink in,” said Mallory. “LTM is divided into three sections:  Self, Others and Organization. The workshops I led at the conference focused on The Empowerment Dynamic (TED), a topic covered in the first section. A primary teaching in TED is that what we focus on drives our mindset and essentially our behavior. Focus on problems and you will react; focus on outcomes and you take positive, creative action.”

 

The presentation went into detail on two models: The Drama Triangle and The Empowerment Dynamic. Many people get pulled into what the program refers to as the Drama Triangle, in which people react to problems by rescuing, blaming and falling into the role of a victim. The goal is to shift from The Drama Triangle into The Empowerment Dynamic (TED). With TED, people focus on reaching positive and sustainable outcomes, while coaching and challenging others and themselves. Effective leaders are able to remove themselves from the drama of a situation and shift to a more empowering mindset.

 

“David Emerald is the author of, Power of TED: The Empowerment Dynamic, which is what my presentation was based on,” said Mallory. “The purpose of the workshops was to expose participants to this powerful model and give them practice using it. The feedback was very positive!”  

 

The first LTM class commenced last June at PC&S, and the second class will begin in the fall of 2015. Graduates of the first program were deeply and positively impacted by their experience. Participants left the program with a greater sense of self-awareness, an increased ability to communicate and collaborate with others and improved decision making skills. Participants also gained a better understanding of the daily challenges faced by their leaders, and thus have a greater appreciation for them.

 

“We appreciate that PC&S is supporting us and encouraging us to educate others in our industry,” said Mallory. “Godwin Dixon, executive vice chairman for Presbyterian Communities and Services, saw the value of bringing this program to our leaders, and he believes that our efforts will help ensure that seniors receive the highest quality care and hospice services across the industry. We are making a difference not only in the lives of fellow professionals, but also in the lives of the seniors we all serve.” 

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A special group of donors was recently recognized for their contributions to the capital campaign for Dallas’s first stand-alone hospice center, Faith Presbyterian Hospice’s T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center. An intimate donor appreciation reception was hosted by Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation to give thanks to those who helped the center reach its $38.6 million goal for phase one construction. The building in which the donor reception was held overlooked the construction site, which was lit for attendees to view. Godwin Dixon, President and CEO of Presbyterian Communities and Services, expressed his gratitude to the donors during a brief program.

 

“Our goal is to revolutionize hospice care in Dallas by developing an innovative center with meaningful programs and specialized care that will give families a place of transition and provide a comfortable, supportive place for loved ones to live while facing end-of-life illnesses,” said Dixon. “Currently, families receive hospice services at home, in the hospital or in long-term care centers without the benefit of a care center designed specifically to meet their needs. The Pickens Center will focus on families’ needs through five centers of excellence, including inpatient care, spiritual care, education and resources, outdoor reflection and child and family bereavement.”

 

During the ceremony Dixon also highlighted and paid tribute to a beautiful painting the late Don Hodges had commissioned for T. Boone Pickens to hang in the center. The painting has a quote from Pickens on it, and the artist, Bart Forbes, was also honored at the event. The inpatient hospice care center will serve more than 1,800 patients a year and touch the lives of countless families throughout the Dallas area. The center will be located at 12379 Merit Drive in Dallas, and it is expected to open second quarter 2016. Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation is now focused on raising $4.6 million for start-up costs and $10 million for the endowment, which will continue to grow to support greater programming and care services. Future planning calls for fundraising for a child and family bereavement center.

 

The human-centered design and array of services will stand as an example to the nation and inspire others. Specialized programs and events, like Camp Faith and Faithful Hands, will help children cope with grief and remember loved ones in a special way. Faith Presbyterian Hospice, Dallas only hospice with a child life specialist available to work with children at each step of the way, will have additional specialized program available for children. Children will continue to receive long-term support services after their loved one passes away. In addition, the Hamon Resource and Education Center will be the hub of numerous educational initiatives that focus on transforming the world’s understanding and practice of hospice care, palliative care and grief support.

 

“Thanks to our generous donors, we will have the ability to positively impact those in need of hospice care, their families and the people who care for them. At the same time,  the center will be a destination for healthcare professionals and student interns to gain knowledge about pain and symptom management through palliative care training, as well as a place for families to learn about caring for a loved one,” said Peter Lynch, executive director of the Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation. "This is an incredibly important mission, and this center will make a tremendous difference in the lives of many  people  in and around Dallas. We would like to extend a heartwarming thank you to everyone who has been a part of this process and made this mission possible.”

 

If you are interested in making a donation, please contact Peter Lynch at 214.413.1577.