Breaking ground

Managing Editor
CRIDERSVILLE — Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices executives and donors moved the first shovels of dirt Tuesday to start a 9-month, $1 million project to construct a life enrichment center at Otterbein-Cridersville.
The senior citizen facility held a special groundbreaking ceremony at the retirement community in Cridersville with corporate executives, village administrators and donors present.
“A facility like this is really important because you are never too old to engage in exercise and life enriching activities,” Otterbein President-CEO Jill Hreben said after the groundbreaking ceremony. “Certainly as we continue to serve older generations we are thinking of the generations of today and with Otterbein being a 100-year-old organization we are compelled to think of the generations of tomorrow. We know the boomers who are coming behind the generation now certainly are demanding a lifestyle that includes physical exercise.
“The excitement of this whole project is Otterbein is blessed with tremendous donors who have given generously of their time, their talents and their treasures and to that end we have raised more than $750,000,” she said.
The 5,000-square-foot facility is to be constructed behind the recently built community center, utilizing acreage now used for a parking lot. The planned facility, which overlooks a pond, will consist of a warm water pool, a wellness center, locker rooms, a welcome area and exercise equipment. It is to serve the needs of community seniors, 55-years-old and older.
Hreben explained currently the facility offers adaptations of yoga and exercise classes to keep the residents active and engaged.
“The benefits of having a warm water pool is for us as we age is we have issues with joints and being in a pool frees us from the aches and pains that restricts our movements and oftentimes our ability to walk,” Hreben said. “When people can get into a warm water pool who have those afflictions, they feel free to be able to move and walk again and that builds their strength.
“I have seen it do amazing things,” she said, “not only to their physical condition but to their mental and emotional state because they feel healthier and stronger.”
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Otterbein-Cridersville Executive Director Jared Lehman said when the baton was passed to him from Susan Chandler, the previous executive director, that she directed him “to not lose sight of phase II which consists of that swimming pool. We have not lost sight of that goal.”
Donna Coleman, who is the vice president of charitable gift planning, defined philanthropy “as effort to increase the well-being of humankind, by definition philanthropy is a life-enriching experience, both for those who give and those who benefit from it.”
The Rev. Bud Allison, who serves on a committee at Otterbein-Cridersville, told those gathered in the community center “to applaud the good fight” in the people who made this possible.
Others to speak included Lynn Huffman, Otterbein-Cridersville chaplain, and Hodge Drake, director of charitable gift planning.