40th Anniversary Event Exceeds Expectations

Covenant Village hosted a Spring Fling to celebrate 40 years of service and care to older adults in the Gaston region and to honor the collaborative community spirit upon which the retirement community was founded.

More than 350 residents, staff, family members and community partners attended the outdoor event that took place Saturday, April 22, at Covenant Village. The event kicked off with a resident and employee 5K walk and run that afternoon and ended with dancing into the evening. A portion of the property was transformed into a street-fair party, complete with live music by Coming Up Brass; local culinary options from Hogzilla NC BBQ, Smith’s Soul Food Bistro, C&J’s Chicken, Fish & More, and Soul Miner’s Garden; a classic car show; face-painting; a stilt-walking balloon artist; a dunk tank and inflatable games for all ages.

A committee of Covenant Village residents and staff planned the Spring Fling as the signature event to conclude a year-long series of anniversary events that began in September 2022.

“The spirit of community is woven throughout the fabric of our history. In fact, the very existence of Covenant Village is founded on both collaborative vision and unwavering generosity that responded to a shared concern for meeting a well-defined need among seniors in Gaston County. Now, 40 years later, we are able to celebrate this milestone because of continued collaboration—hard work, team effort and generosity,” said Dale Melton, CEO of the non-profit retirement community.

“We hoped the Spring Fling would accomplish two goals: to celebrate our residents and staff and the many ways they enrich the culture of family and community at Covenant Village, and to honor the partnerships that helped form our community and those that continue to sustain the excellence we provide to aging adults throughout the region,” Melton added.

Covenant Village’s anniversary celebration is being presented by the JF Maddox Foundation, the David Belk Cannon Foundation, CaroMont Health and CarpetOne, and expanded by sponsoring support from more than 40 individuals and businesses in the Gaston community and across the national senior living industry. In addition to anniversary events, their collaborative support of more than $150,000 is also dedicated to a commemorative anniversary publication, the first cumulative account of Covenant Village’s history and development, scheduled for release later this year.

“Carpet One is thrilled to be able to help with the 40th anniversary celebration…we value our partnership with Covenant Village very much and look forward to many more years,” said Ty Toney, Accounts Manager for the local business.

“It’s amazing! I can remember back when I was in high school what a big deal Covenant’s opening was…and 40 years later it’s still a big deal!!  We are thrilled to be a part of it,” added Natalie Tindol, President at Tindol Ford Lincoln Mercury Subaru.

Covenant Village received additional recognition from North Carolina Representative Donnie Loftis, who attended the Spring Fling to offer personal congratulatory words and present official proclamations from the North Carolina General Assembly. In addition to a statement from the House, Loftis shared the statement, read earlier on the Senate floor, by Senator Brad Overcash.

“For the last 40 years, Covenant Village has built a strong reputation through its commitment to faith-centered values and wellness-centered operations and services … it is fitting to congratulate Covenant Village on its 40th anniversary and to express best wishes on its continued service to Gaston County,” Loftis read.

Covenant Village also received official letters and statements from City of Gastonia Mayor Walker E. Reid III, United States Senators Ted Budd and Thom Tillis, the Board of Directors of the North Carolina senior living state association, LeadingAge NC, and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

“The outpouring of support and recognition from our business community and friends, and from national, state and local government leaders, reinforces the significant role Covenant Village has in the ongoing vitality of Gaston County and the broader region. More importantly, it lifts up what we at Covenant Village value most – our people, the residents and staff who remind us, every day, that living longer better happens in community,” said Melton.

“We love the employees at Covenant Village. They always go out of their way to help us, and we know we can count on them when we need them. It was great to interact with them outside of work at the Spring Fling. Everyone was smiling and laughing. It makes us feel even more like one big family,” said Sarah Wentz, who has lived at Covenant Village four years and currently serves as the President of the Residents Association.

Melton said Covenant Village is emerging from three years of challenges and restrictions placed upon retirement communities and nursing homes since the start of the COVID pandemic in early 2020.

“Planning for and then experiencing the Spring Fling felt like a turning point for our Covenant Village family,” he said.

This sentiment, he added, was summed up best by a resident, who told him, “Dale, we needed today! All that we have experienced lately, with residents and resident family members passing away, all the sickness that has been going around, and all that we see in the world today.  This was exactly what we needed—and it will live in our cherished memories for years and years!  Thanks to all who made this possible!”

View the 40th Anniversary Image Gallery

Additional background information on Covenant Village

The idea for a retirement community in Gaston County was initiated in the mid-1970s by The Rev. Dr. James G. Stuart, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Gastonia at that time. His vision was fortified by the leadership of the late Bill Lawson, and the determination of a planning committee that included – among many saints –Tom Efird, Plato “Tete” Pearson and Janice Stowe, who led the initial fundraising efforts and planning to build Covenant Village on a 30-acre site off Robinwood Road.

Since moving the first residents into their new independent living apartment homes in September 1982, Covenant Village has continued to grow in response to the needs of aging adults in the Gaston region and beyond. During the first 20 years, a second apartment building, duplex cottages, life enrichment and wellness amenities and an expansion of the health center with a dedicated memory care wing welcomed more of the community’s maturing adults. Since then, over 23 wooded acres have been added to the campus for future development. Today, Covenant Village maintains 97% occupancy with more than 265 residents and a robust Future Resident list. The thriving community employs 215 staff members and contributes more than $12 million annually to Gaston’s economic vitality.

“When you hear the name, ‘Covenant Village,’ you likely think of Gaston County’s premier life plan community, where residents enjoy healthy, active lifestyles and are served by exceptional, dedicated and caring staff.  ‘Covenant Village’ means more than that. We believe our name and strong reputation are synonymous with the vibrant people of the broader Gaston community, whose loyalty and innovation shaped a thriving, industrious region that continues to make an impact today. Our name carries tremendous responsibility, a responsibility we carry with honor,” said Melton.

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