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Susquehanna Life

Life’s Trajectory Leads to RiverWoods

Feb 01, 2017 01:42PM ● By Erica Shames

Jan Bender first came to RiverWoods Senior Living Community in June 1979 when her late husband, Rev. Richard W. Bender, was appointed chaplain. The couple and their four children moved onto the campus just as Jan was wrapping up a bachelor’s degree at Penn State University. Little did Jan know that she would call RiverWoods home many years later.

Invaluable role

Beginning in August 1980, as the apartment manager of Riverview Manor, Jan’s career blossomed. Soon, she was promoted to the position of personal care administrator and played an invaluable role in helping residents through the aftermath of a fire caused by a resident’s heating pad.

“I am so grateful for all of the volunteers who helped,” she said. “The building had no electricity, which meant we had no heat during the winter months. I brought hot tea and soup, a small way to show volunteers my appreciation. I’ll never forget how hard we worked together to get residents back to their homes.”

The mission of serving others resonated with Jan after she retired in 1996, choosing to stay in Lewisburg.

“After retiring, my husband and I went on mission trips with the United Methodist Church, traveling for three weeks at a time to help in upstate New York and Florida. We also went to Henderson Settlement in Kentucky and the Heifer Project in Massachusetts for three months at a time. Our biggest project was leading a group of Kiwanis members to Jamaica for nine trips to build an orphanage for abandoned children.  I’m still a member of Kiwanis today.”

The couple moved back to RiverWoods in 2003 for a reason. “My husband and I were always impressed with the care RiverWoods provides, and that’s what brought us back here to live. I feel comfortable knowing that if I were ever to need that care, it’s waiting for me.”

 “We also knew there would be an abundance of volunteer opportunities,” Jan said. I volunteer because it gives me a reason to get up in the morning.” She had volunteered at Evangelical Community Hospital, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, then came to RiverWoods to continue volunteering at Slifer House Museum, Albright Care Services’ pharmacy and Lewisburg/ Milton Meals on Wheels (MOW) program.

Still going strong

Now over 80 years old, Jan hasn’t slowed down. She continues to volunteer at the pharmacy and MOW, in addition to managing the two RiverWoods Auxiliary Gift Shops, serving as Auxiliary assistant treasurer and helping at Albright’s corporate office. Jan is also active in the community, volunteering at the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership and attending Beaver Memorial United Methodist Church.

Jan Bender is a shining example of being called to serve and Albright is proud that she is part of our family. Albright, celebrating 100 years of service to the Susquehanna Valley, invites you to continue your mission by joining us at one of our six locations. Visit www.albrightcare.org for information on senior living, day programs, giving or volunteering.

Caption: Jan Bender, center, represents Beaver Memorial United Methodist Church, along with representatives from other local churches who have contributed to Lewisburg/Milton Meals on Wheels program.

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