The Lodge at Bethany, Statesboro’s only licensed assisted living community, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening to officially open its doors to the public and showcase the flagship facility of the Bethany family, highlighting a long-standing tradition of excellent care for seniors.
The public is invited to attend a dedication ceremony and open house on Sunday beginning at 3 p.m. After a brief ceremony, guests may tour the facilities, getting a firsthand view of the brick and mortar building with the most up-to-date technologies, graced with the furnishings of a home-like atmosphere and painted with soothing colors to contribute to an environment of healing, comfort and hope.
Becky Livingston, CEO of The Lodge at Bethany, shared a bit of the history of the facility at the ribbon cutting.
Livingston said, “It is not difficult to know why this Assisted Living Community exists here today. It began out of an effort to follow the words of Jesus recorded in Mark 12: 30-31, ‘And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’”
Part of that history goes back to 1923, when Faith Cottage and the Bethany Home were begun by the Primitive Baptist denomination in Vidalia as an outreach to serve homeless widow women. That mission continues with Statesboro’s facility, the largest construction project in Bethany history.
The Lodge at Bethany offers 48 units, 24 units of traditional assisted living and 24 units of secured memory care assisted living. Residents began moving into the facility in January of this year.
Livingston said, “While this is an enormous investment in the economic growth of our city and county, the true investment is an act of faith in a God who can and will perform miracles in this place.”
Livingston encouraged guests at the ribbon cutting ceremony to think what will happen within the walls of The Lodge at Bethany: the residents that will be served at the facility; those that come for comfort, healing, companionship and hope; diseases that will be managed; young people that volunteer or visit residents, many choosing a career path as a result and the miracles that will take place.
“Think of the many and varied blessings that have come and will come to us in this place from a God that is merciful and full of grace.”
One of the guests in attendance, ironically was born the year the Bethany mission began, 1923. Though he is not a resident, World War II Veteran Judge William Josiah Neville, has lived on the property previously.
Judge Neville said, “I plowed a mule right here. Milked cows. Mended fences.”
The land stayed in the Neville family until recently, when Bethany acquired and received it as a partial gift from the William Gesmon Neville family. Judge Neville’s sister, Sara Neville Bennett, will become a resident in the next couple of weeks, and, according to her son and daughter, Lovett Bennett and Carolyn Broucek, her residential room will be located almost exactly where the old home place was.
Paula Mooney, CFO of The Lodge at Bethany, said, “There was an old cedar tree on the property that we’d hoped to leave on the grounds, but were unable to do so. We asked them to save it for us after removing it, to find a use for it.”
Part of the tree that Judge Neville said, “was old when I moved here,” was beautifully crafted into a cross and communion table for The Lodge’s chapel.
A resident since February, Charlie Olliff, 98-years-young, is practically a walking commercial for the facility as he sings its praises often.
“It offers anything and everything that anybody in need can receive help. The building itself includes all the latest electronic devices to meet those needs, and the staff has been so trained by the CEO and president that they perform at their proficiency level comparable to the building itself.”
The Hoells, Lucille and Herb, currently have the distinction of being the only husband and wife team of residents. The New York natives moved here from Florida, but were well-acquainted with Statesboro because their son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Jackie Hoell, have been here 16 years as Georgia Southern University professors.
Though they planned an eventual move to Statesboro, Lucille Hoell said, “Herb had a fall and that precipitated our move.”
Lucille said they were warmly welcomed by all and already have a good group of residents that they dine with regularly. “They’re all so friendly and nice – even to a Yankee like me.
“Everybody – the whole staff has been wonderful. It’s hard to make a change at this stage in the game. But everyone we’ve come in contact with has made it so easy.”
Herb Hoell looked at his wife and added, “We’ve been married 63 years.”
She responded, “We have been blessed, that’s all I can say.”