DuBois Nursing Home hosted a red-themed party for its residents and staff Friday afternoon, celebrating 40 years of meeting the community’s needs.
Several residents gathered in the multipurpose room, sitting at tables garnished with groups of red balloons, as staff members and nursing students passed out red-velvet cupcakes.
Lori Jamison, executive director of DuBois Continuum of Care Community, started the party with a presentation. Behind her were two large silver balloons, together making up the number 40. She recalled many people, memories and milestones she experienced there over the years, and also recognized employees who have been with DNH the full 40 years.
Residents and staff wore the color red to the party for more than one reason, Jamison said. It was held just a day after Valentine’s Day. The color “ruby red” is closely associated with the number 40 in terms of anniversaries. February is also American Heart Month, during which awareness about heart health and lowering the risk of heart disease is spread throughout the country.
DNH now can accommodate up to 140 people within its facility, Jamison said.
Throughout her speech, she asked nearby residents if they remembered the time period and people she was talking about. Some nodded and enjoyed reminiscing.
In April, a larger open-house celebration will be held, Jamison adds, inviting more of the community.
“Some of the other people can come back and be here with us and celebrate, as well as your family and friends,” she said. “Enjoy your cupcakes, and watch for more celebration to come.”
DNH Business Development Specialist Melissa Huffman said it is a huge milestone to have served DuBois and surrounding communities for the past 40 years.
“We have certainly grown and developed, creating new and progressive services at the nursing home, and campus-wide,” she said. “As the industry changes, so do we. We continually look at the needs of our area, adapting to the continued changes in healthcare.”
DNH aims to be a community resource, providing things like an insurance contract or the Pulmonary Care Program led by Dr. Sandeep Bansal.
“We take pride in the service to our community — giving back is just who we are,” she said. “So, if you see us out picking up garbage, volunteering in a soup kitchen or volunteering at civic fundraiser, we are there because we love our town.
“DuBois Nursing Home is honored to have been part of this community for the last 40 years, and we look forward to the next 40.”
Dickson Tattersall, a retired music teacher from Brookville and currently director of the DuBois Area Community Band, has enjoyed nearly a lifelong passion for music.
His love for music was inspired by his high school band director, Glen Davis.
“I wanted to be like him,” said Tattersall.
After graduating from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Tattersall began his education career at Brookville Area School District in 1958, where he acquired the nickname, “Mr. T,” because the students had trouble pronouncing his last name. There he taught band and started the district’s string department. He also played an important role in implementing the district’s musical productions. He retired from teaching after 35 years.
As a teacher, his goal was to be a mentor like Davis was for him, always putting the students first.
Outside of teaching, Tattersall fulfilled his passion for music by performing as a drummer for the Johnny Serian band in Punxsutawney. He also played with other bands and recalled several memorable performances with musicians such as country western singer String Bean and jazz musician Johnny Costa from the show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Tattersall became the director of the DuBois Area Community Band several years ago when asked by the late Jack Averill, who organized the band.
Tattersall said the DuBois Area Community Band is still looking for music enthusiasts to help continue a long tradition of music in the DuBois area.
In the late ‘80s, a group of musicians felt that a city the size of DuBois should have a community band.
The concept of a community band is to give young musicians the opportunity to play with older professionals, many of whom are retired music directors.
“It’s like a family away from a family,” Tattersall said.
The band operates year-round, performing at various times throughout the year, from summer concerts around the area to an annual benefit Christmas program for various local charities. It is the group’s goal to keep alive the 150-plus year old tradition of wind bands in the Clearfield/Jefferson County area.
Members of the band come from throughout the DuBois area, including Brookville and Brockway.
The band is open and welcoming to all music enthusiasts. Those who play an instrument and are interested in getting together to share their talents in a community band are invited to join.
The band’s repertoire includes traditional marches, show tunes, pops, patriotic music and classics. It provides an opportunity for members to get together to enjoy playing and share a love of music with fellow musicians.
The band rehearses Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. at Parkside Community Center, 120 W. Park Ave., DuBois. The first practice of the new season will be held March 11.
Those who play clarinets are needed most, but anyone who wants to play any instrument is welcome, said Tattersall. Some of the members have extra instruments if someone doesn’t have their own, he said.
For more information, call Tattersall at 814-849-7895.
Old newspaper articles and pictures of activities were displayed like a scrapbook outside the multipurpose room at DuBois Nursing Home Friday, where residents and staff gathered for the home’s 40th anniversary party.
A table with items like a photograph of the first board of directors and “then and now” views of the building was on display, too.
DuBois Continuum of Care Executive Director Lori Jamison took a walk down memory lane with the residents, recalling the 40 years of history held by the facility and its people.
Residents at the party reminisced, too, as they enjoyed their red-velvet cupcakes. One woman said she was thankful that many years ago, workers installed a beautiful garden of plants outside the residents’ windows, so they could look out and see something uplifting and pretty.
The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for DNH was Feb. 10, 1979.
Christ the King Manor was the existing resident care facility in the community around the time DNH came to be, Jamison said. The county nursing home was there for those who needed government assistance, but there was still a need for facilities intended for lower-income residents.
Before the building was in place, a board of directors was developed, Jamison said. David Gritzer, the original administrator, was interviewing, hiring and training people out of his home.
According to a newspaper article written by Dan Smrekar and published Jan. 31, 1979, the first people who would become residents of DNH were visiting the facility and potentially picking out their rooms. The “ultra-modern hospital,” which was scheduled to open around the first week of February, would be filling the three-story building with local people, using specially-trained nurses to meet their needs.
Smrekar goes on to say that DNH would encourage residents to be involved in the community, and would provide a variety of social programs to improve their quality of life.
The DuBois Public Library and other elements of the community were also expected to be involved.
“This is a brand new nursing home that does not have the stigmas that exist from past nursing homes,” said Social Services Director Susan Gearhart in the article. “We’ve got all new ideas, and we’re really excited about getting started.”
DNH had entered into a contract with Community Mental Health-Mental Retardation, helping people with depression, anger and fear through special programs, the article says.
The opening of the not-for-profit nursing home in the 1970s was followed by the independent organization DuBois Village in 1996. DNH and the Village merged in 2003, establishing the DCCCI.
Jamison said she has seen many changes throughout the past 40 years, both to the inside and to the exterior structure of the South 8th Street facility. She can recall the colors orange, brown, blue and yellow that she used to see a lot of.
“Nonetheless, the goal and the vision they all had remains the same, and it’s meeting the needs of all, no matter what,” she said. “That’s ultimately the focus.”
For more information, visit www.duboisccci.com.