Hearthstone Resident Celebrates 99th Birthday

Doris “Gigi” McNeese, a resident at Hearthstone, just celebrated a very special milestone in December—her 99th birthday! Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, a traditional party was not possible, but Doris’s daughter, Karen and granddaughter, Thea were joined by additional family members for a very special window visit party coordinated by Hearthstone staff members to make the day special. “They were so happy they could come to sing happy birthday to Gigi,” said Angela Standish, Hearthstone Coordinator of Independent and Assisted Living Services.

Lisa Haglund, Heritage President and CEO, shared how important living a vibrant life is for seniors who call Hearthstone home. Even amidst the unprecedented events and regulations of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents and staff have found creative and unique ways to remain engaged and be part of their community. She shared, “We are blessed to be able to help our residents maintain their independent lifestyle. The seniors that we serve deserve the very best from us during this difficult time, and our Heritage teams, from chaplaincy to activities and everyone in between, are committed to using love, imagination, innovation, and faith to find ways to encourage and provide hope in the midst of this pandemic.”

Born and raised in nearby Marengo, Illinois, Gigi lived her life as a homemaker and mother to two, while also working as a grocery clerk and factory worker in earlier years, before moving to Hearthstone in 2020. Gigi loves her life at Hearthstone, saying that “I feel very safe here”, and that she enjoys the connections that she shares with the staff and other residents. Although she may be approaching 100, Gigi likes to stay active at Hearthstone with her daily walks. She also has a passion for gardening and shared, “I love watching my plants sprout up!”

While celebrating her special day with those she loves, Gigi was asked how she felt about reaching such a significant milestone. She said that her most important advice to anyone looking to live a long, happy life is to “enjoy whatever you do in life.”

Heritage Ministries was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations across the United States. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, memory care, and assisted living. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit www.heritage1886.org.