Shenandoah Place Newsletter September and October 2019


Well, stop by his room and you’ll find out. John spends most of his time remodeling and spray painting model cars, tanks and planes. After starting the hobby at 14-years-old, he has acquired 325 model sets in total! His other passion, though, is his family. John met his wife, Erma Heim, online when he was researching human trafficking.

Part of his research was to sign into online international dating sites. Erma’s profile kept popping up on a particular dating site, so he reached out to her. After three months of talking, John told Erma he was going to fly out to the Philippines to meet her. Soon after, they got married and she came to the United States, where she now resides in Timberville. Erma, who has six children, is going back to the Philippines with John this month to celebrate her oldest son getting married. Make sure to ask John how his trip went when you see him!

Nicole Iriarte Biography

My name is Nicole Amanda Iriarte and I was born in Fairfax, Virginia on August 4, 1997. I have lived in the same house my whole life and loved growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. It is a really busy area, but that became the norm and I quickly learned to love the hustle and bustle of my county. Almost every summer since I was born, I have visited my family in La Paz and Cochabamba, Bolivia. These experiences were truly the highlight of my childhood because they enabled me to spend time with my family and take in an environment that was completely distinct from my own. Despite its captivating charm, it was difficult to overlook the distinct poverty and malnutrition that afflicts the country and undoubtedly shaped my professional career. It forged my perception of the world and my desire to pursue a path that would allow me to give back. I began taking French in eighth grade and continued to do so until my sophomore year of college. Due to my Spanish fluency, French came easy to me and I fell in love with the study of language. In my junior year of high school, I was selected as one of sixty students in Virginia to participate in the Virginia Governor’s School French Academy, a 3-week full-immersion program at Washington and Lee University. I was also able to stay with a host family in Aix-en-Provence, France, which further developed my passion for global engagement. I was also heavily involved as a leader in multiple organizations in high school, and even competed up at the DECA International Career Development Conference where I placed as an International Finalist in Business Services Marketing category.

I have recently graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. My time at the university has been one that I will always look back on as a critical time in my life that I will reflect on fondly. It has provided me with lifelong friendships and experiences that have allowed me to grow in ways that I never expected, both personally and professionally. While saddened by the thought of leaving, I know that the future is bright thanks to the opportunities I have had. In the fall, I will be pursuing my Master’s in Public Health in Health Policy, Law, and Ethics at the University of Virginia and plan to utilize it as an opportunity to grow as a professional and better equip myself with the knowledge to serve the communities around me. In the coming years, I hope to work to minimize inequities in regards to health services that result from barriers relating to education, sexuality, and access to resources. I would love to work for the Office of Minority Health or the World Health Organization and not only be an advocate for my community, but also cooperate with others to spearhead advancement on a macro level. My hobbies including traveling, going to concerts, and attending exercise classes such as Zumba. I love having the opportunity to visit new places and experience different cultures and have been to countries such as Egypt, Peru, Turkey, Greece, and more. I hope to continue to explore the world and learn from people that are different than me, because I truly believe that this is the best way to live life and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Music at Shenandoah Place

Mollee McWhorter loves coming to Shenandoah Place to sing to the residents every month. It’s fun singing 1930s-1960s music and having the residents join in on the fun. In fact, she said the most rewarding part of her career as a singer and piano player is playing for people who don’t get a chance to go outside often. Bringing that gift to them is beneficial to her. Ever since she was four, Mollee knew she wanted music to be a part of her life.

At the age of 13, Mollee began professionally playing the piano. And at 22, she started singing in public. Mollee has been performing for residents at Shenandoah Terrace for nearly five years and said she never wants to stop singing along with them and playing the tunes the residents want to hear. She said music helps the residents with dementia because it gives them an outlet to sing along with her. Don’t worry, she’ll be back soon!

New Administrator, Susan Mason

It’s been a few months, but it’s never too late to welcome a new employee. Susan Mason began working at Shenandoah Place as the new administrator on April 1 and it’s been great having her here! Susan has had an interesting journey to get to where she is. She started out as a preschool teacher but realized children weren’t her strong suit. After going back to school and getting her bachelor’s degree in social work from James Madison University in 2003, she went to work for Blue Ridge Hospice. She did home health, hospice social work and worked at Greenfield in Woodstock for five years before showing up at the doors of Shenandoah Place. Susan said it’s important for her to work at a place that has a sense of community. It’s not about the money, it’s about the heart of the community. She said the biggest draw for her about working here is the family legacy Shenandoah Place brings- with Mark, Paul and their father Marvin Griffin building a place that so many can call home. Susan not only oversees the operations of the establishment, she also encourages residents to find their sense of adventure!

No matter one’s circumstance, she said it’s important to have a positive outlook on life, and not live just to exist. Many people in assisted livings focus on what they can’t do, but it’s important for Susan to help them see things through a different light and instead focus on what they can do. If we don’t see everything as a problem, we won’t have to focus on how to fix it, she believes. Her sense of adventure for herself and for others stemmed from her two sons, Zachary, who is 15-yearsold, Ben, who is 23. Their independence has also taught her independence. As she encourages everyone to find their sense of adventure, she is taking on her own adventure as she will soon be a grandma to Ben’s daughter. And what’s the best part? Her granddaughter will be named Susan.

We would like to welcome our new residents, Lorene Watters, John Heim, Doug Zirkle, Malcolm and Sally Ramey, Sandra Soucek, Carolyn Phillips

You may be gone from my sight, but you are never gone from my heart.

In Memory of:

Rosalie “Rose” Sellers

Francis “Fran” Minnich

Margaret “Peggy” Gray

Ralph Hinkle

Maxine Burkholder