GVRV celebrates its 40th

6/15/2014

GVRV celebrates its 40th

GVRV celebrates its 40th

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Despite the typical blustery Kansas wind and temperatures nearing triple digits, a large crowd came out Saturday evening for a free barbecue celebrating the 40th anniversary of Garden Valley Retirement Village.

Rodger Funk and his wife Vivian chatted while standing in line for the barbecue.

"Well, I volunteer here at the coffee shop," Rodger said. "Every Tuesday morning."

Funk said it was a wonderful event. In fact, he read a history book on it in the past and found it pretty interesting.

Brenda Funk, Rodger and Vivian's youngest daughter who was visiting from Kansas City, said her family has other ties to Garden Valley.

"My grandparents, her parents, lived here back in the early 80s. So we've had family live here," she said.

Mary Lou Irsik said what brought her out was the great band. Of course, Irsik may be a little biased in that regard since she's related to Joe and John Irsik who provided old-fashioned fiddle music.

"That's my brother-in-law that's singing now," she said.

The origin of Garden Valley traces back to 1970 when members of Garden Valley Church recognized a need for a full-service retirement community. They formed a board, began fundraising and broke ground in 1972 for the center which opened in 1974.

Shirley Luck, independent living director, said the facility has been owned and managed by Frontline Management, Inc., since 2009.

Administrator Brad Radatz said since Frontline took over the operation and financial management of Garden Valley has been greatly improved. After the company took over, the health care licensure of the facility grew from 62 residents to 82 residents.

Luck and Radatz said celebrating the 40th anniversary is both awesome and exciting.

"We have a volunteer appreciation party every year, and this year I think we invited close to 100 people. To me, that just says the community of Garden City is a part of Garden Valley," he said. "We never want to lose that community aspect because I feel that's what makes us successful is people still look at Garden Valley as kind of their hometown facility."

Radatz said the community involvement speaks volumes about the history, and it's important to celebrate the history.

Luck said this year's barbecue was the fifth annual.

"This was something Frontline wanted to do when they took over ownership. It's kind of their way to give back to the community and say 'Thank You for your support,'" Luck said.

Radatz said the first barbecue was intended to celebrate Frontline taking over, but Frontline quickly said they didn't want it to be about them, they wanted it to be about the facility and the community.

Radatz credits the community with Garden Valley's longevity. He said some of those involved in making it a reality in 1974 are still involved today.

"For me, that's what it's about," he said.

In addition to music and a meal, the event offered free watermelon, face painting and a play area for children and even a white horse and buggy sent to the event by someone who had a wedding on Saturday morning.

"To me, that speaks volumes about the community wanting to be a part of what's going on," Radatz said.

Luck pointed out Garden Valley has more than 102 people who volunteer their time at the center, some who have volunteered more than 20 years.

"We want the community to be part of our celebration, and it looks like they're coming, so we're gonna have a good time," Luck said.

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