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group1The true measure of culture change comes only when we can see the depth of the relationships that surround us. Phillip Ramey, Director of Spirituality, at Riverview HealthCare Center recounts a recent experience below:

Several months ago we lost an Elder here at Riverview that has been greatly missed. He was a man who was well known by many, and known by all for his great love for basketball. He particularly loved high school basketball. In fact, he loved high school basketball so much that he had amassed a nearly unbelievable streak. For the last 54 years of his life he had attended the Boys Sweet 16 High School State Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington , KY. For the past few years, I personally had the privilege of being part of this wonderful journey to help keep his streak alive. He had become such a fixture at the state tournament, that everyone knew him and everyone looked for him. I knew that this year would not be the same in so many ways. Perry would not be there for the first time in 55 years. That just didn’t seem right to me.

rupp1I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful man’s funeral service when he passed, but since then I’ve also been planning a memorial service for him. It was kind of an unconventional memorial service, but very fitting. To honor him we decided to keep his streak alive. So I designed some t-shirts, we gathered up a group of Elders that love basketball, and we journeyed from our home in Prestonsburg, KY to Rupp Arena for the “Perry Jones Memorial Sweet 16 Trip.”

shirtsIt was a great trip and a great experience for the Elders, but the greatest moment for me personally was the very moment we got off the bus. Two men immediately looked at our shirts and approached us. These men, like most everyone that journeys to Rupp for the Sweet 16 each year, knew Perry and commented on how ‘cool” it was that we were keeping his streak alive.

At Riverview our motto is “honoring our community one elder at a time” and when we really form relationships with these individuals we can do this… not only in life, but even beyond. The joy is in the journey, and the journey continues!

True person directed care begins and ends with the relationships we are able to not only form but continue to grow. What a powerful moment it must have been for those at Riverview to honor their friend in this way.