Garden Plaza of Greenbriar Cove, an independent living community in Ooltewah, Tennessee, is about to celebrate its 10-year anniversary.
As the community’s 10th anniversary approaches, several long-time residents and associates have been reflecting on their time there.
Johanna Suter, receptionist, was the first employee at the community.
“I was here before the building opened,” Suter remembered. “I worked with two marketing girls, and Farrell Jones [the builder] was here at the time, so he was explaining what everything was as they brought it in.”
Suter’s mother-in-law, Kay Suter, was the first resident to move in.
“It’s amazing how it’s grown so much,” Kay said. “When I came, even the landscaping and greenery was very new. I have enjoyed watching that grow and become more beautiful.”
Doris Carpenter has also lived at Garden Plaza for 10 years. When she was asked what the community was like at the beginning, she laughed and said, “It was empty.”
Carpenter thought and added, “My being here 10 years should say enough of what I think about Garden Plaza. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Janell Kalvoda, another one of the original residents, echoed her sentiments.
“It’s home to me now, and I don’t miss any of what I left,” she said. “It’s just a super place to be.”
Howard and Judy Vendrick have only been residents at Garden Plaza for three years, but they have made good memories and shared their experiences.
“When people first move here, they’re enthralled with the looks of the place,” said Judy. “But the real beauty is the people that are here. They know that this is our home, and they respect that.”
Several of the residents told stories about employees going out of their way to sit with them in church or call them frequently when they were sick.
Howard added, “They’re family, and they participate in our lives and allow us to participate in theirs.”