By Eric Christiansen
NORTH MANCHESTER — For 50 years, Timbercrest Senior Living Community has been serving the North Manchester community, giving older adults a place to call home.
While Timbercrest opened its doors just north of North Manchester in 1968, it was in 1889 when Churches of the Brethren in Indiana began the ministry of caring for older adults and orphans in Mexico.
According to Timbecrest’s website, the children’s department closed in 1942 and the focus shifted to older adults. In the 1950s, the buildings at the Mexico home could not meet changing regulations and preparations for the North Manchester site began.
“It was really special caring for people who moved over from the Mexico home who really had their lives altered in a major way,” former Timbercrest CEO Dave Lawrenz said. Lawrenz recently retired after 43 years serving at Timbercrest.
The North Manchester location opened March 1968 and became a modern retirement community that continues to evolve as a not-for-profit charitable organization.
Pam Long, who has been a bookkeeper for 40 years, has seen the growth at Timbercrest.
“It’s been a growing home and has enlarged and enlarged,” Long said. “It’s just that the family has gotten bigger. The residents are the special part of Timbercrest, as well as the non-profit atmosphere.”
With growth comes change and with Lawrenz retiring, a new CEO has joined the Timbercrest family.
John Loop took over the reigns at Timbercrest earlier this year and looks to continue the tradition of service that Lawrenz put in place.
“It’s a testament to Dave and the incredible culture and tone that he has set for the Timbercrest community with all of our partners, residents and team members,” Loop said. “It’s about service and relationships, at at it’s core, that is what Timbercrest does every day… we serve one another. The incredible spirit and warmth in supporting one another through good and hard times is seen every day.”
Marilyn Garrison moved to Timbercrest nearly three years ago and it has been life-changing for her.
“I need to be here because I’m getting older,” she said. “I’m being taken care of. When it’s snowing outside, it’s nice to stay in here… I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to.”
Christy Huiras has been with Timbercrest for 24 years and is the director of financial services.
“What’s great about [Timbercrest] is the atmosphere. As soon as I started working here, I knew it was different than my previous jobs,” she said. “It’s a very warm, welcoming family atmosphere and one that I feel very comfortable and confident in and enjoy.”
Director of Program and Services Brian Daniels called Timbercrest “easily the best place I ever worked.”
Daniels has been with Timbercrest for 20 years. “The whole community has really been a nurturing place,” he said. “Timbercrest has a vision of what we want to do and who we want to be. It’s funny how much work making fun for people can be.
Melissa Shorter, activity director in Program and Services has been with Timbercrest for 35 years.
“Timbercrest means a lot to me,” she said. “The residents are like family. It’s a great place to work or I wouldn’t be here that long.”
Marianne Shenefield, also in Program and Services, has worked at Timbercrest for 17 years.
“It’s a wonderful atmosphere, and the residents are gracious and kind,” she said.
Guy Buch has been a resident at Timbercrest for eight years and is thankful for the community.
“It’s been great. They have given us super care and has helped us out in some tough times,” Buch said. “[Timbercrest] is a big family who cares for each other in a real way. I have nothing but praise and thanks to Timbercrest for providing for me and others like me who really need help and a place to liver and spend our time in a creative and fulfilling way.”
“The beautiful thing about Timbercrest is the supportive caring compassionate nature that we have to ensure all needs of residents and team members at all times,” Loop added. “You can’t manufacture that. It’s engrained into who Timbercrest is and how we function on a daily basis.”