Oak Hill community celebrates first anniversary
Submitted by Block Associates, Inc.
One year after the hard work of constructing, landscaping, and decorating the new Oak Hill Supportive Living Community at 76 E. Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, it was time to celebrate.
And that's exactly what the more than 250 attendees, including residents, their families, staff, dignitaries, development team members, and owners did Tuesday, Sept. 10, with champagne, hors d'oeuvres, awards, speeches, dinner and, of course, cake.
There was much to celebrate. In 2012, the development became the first senior housing community in the country to meet the International Code Council 700 National Green Building Standard criteria and earn "Gold" certification from the National Association of Home Buildings and the ICC, enabling ownership to pass on the cost savings to tenants.
In August, the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition announced the winners of its annual Photo and Testimonial Contest, awarding first prize for a photo of Oak Hill resident June Sphen helping Sebastian Reyes read at the ongoing program Oak Hill has with the kindergartners at the Early Education Center in Round Lake.
Awards were presented to Oak Hill's Elaine Brown, Audrey Roettiger and Lucia Mazulis, whose referrals resulted in new residents.
Oak Hill's state-of-the-art theater, with its twinkling-stars ceiling, comfy chairs and popcorn machine, served as the venue to introduce a new promotional video illustrating life in Round Lake Beach.
Among the guests was 9-year-old Caleb Vackar, grandson of resident the Rev. Lynn Vackar, and his father, Neil Vackar of Engleside.
"We visit Oak Hill too many times to count. I like all the dinners, but my favorite is the prime rib," Caleb said.
He also likes the fact that all the activities at Oak Hill are well planned and enjoys the walking path, the game room, bingo, and the playground. In addition to their regular visits, the Vackar family also attends special events such as the anniversary party.
On Sept. 18, the family and their friends had their own special event when they celebrated Lynn's 75th birthday at Oak Hill.
Also in attendance were Dorothy and Frank Lutchen, who have been married for 65 years. They moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Oak Hill in July. When asked why they decided to move, Frank, 91, answered, "I didn't decide. My boys did."
According to Frank, he had lost his strength and his wife could not take care of him.
"The boys helped us a lot and would even deliver a week's supply of sandwiches," said Frank, a former Chicago police officer.
"I like the routine at Oak Hill the best. All the meals are on time, and I don't have to cook. It's also more fun to live here -- lots of people to talk to," said Dorothy, 88.
Dominick Salvato, 81, who was a dental technician for 53 years, lost his wife at Christmastime last year.
"We were so happy living in our home, but when she died, it was like all heaven broke loose," he said. "My son introduced me to Oak Hill. I moved here in August and have liked it ever since. It's a great place to hang out. All the people here seem very happy. All of my new friends are elderly, but then, so am I, although I don't feel like it," he said with a twinkle in his eye.
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