Dr. Carlos and Mrs. Willma Vargas made Covenant Village their home in 2020.
However, they chose Covenant Village long before they ever imagined their retirement years.
In fact, the Vargases were new residents to Gastonia in the late 1970s when Dr. Leslie Morris, Carlos’ partner at Gaston Radiology and a founding member of Covenant Village, urged the couple to join the Wait List and reserve a spot for when they were ready.
“Over the years, we’ve had so many friends move to Covenant Village. Its reputation exceeds itself. It has a strong foundation built on sound principles and the best practices,” says Carlos
Reputation and sound principles are important to someone like Dr. Vargas, who is a highly recognized radiologist in Gaston County, where he practiced more than 23 years, before retiring in 1999.
The Vargases began their careers in their home country of Bolivia, where Carlos earned his medical doctor diploma and Willma served as secretary to the country’s minister of education. An invitation to medical residency at Mother Cabrini Hospital in Chicago moved the Vargases and their two children to the United States in 1965. Shortly after, Carlos was drafted to the Army and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as the Division Flight Surgeon of the First Calvary Division. After returning to America, Carols completed a residency in radiology at Brooke Army Medical in San Antonio, Texas. Upon his discharge with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Carlos accepted his position as radiologist at Gaston Memorial Hospital, now CaroMont Health.
Dr. Vargas says the timing of their move to Covenant Village was interesting … approximately one month before the global pandemic altered everyone’s way of living. Yet, the timing was also providential, he said, as they felt safe and well cared for during the height of regional health concerns and uncertainty.
“During COVID we were informed and felt Covenant Village was more than diligent with guidelines and safety,” says Carlos, adding that they were able to remain active with walks outside, but nothing like the active lifestyle they are enjoying now.
“Now that everything has reopened, we enjoy exercise at the Wellness Center – like yoga, shape up cardio, line dancing, and Tai Chi – sometimes two and three classes a day!”
Carlos has joined a breakfast group, which includes old Rotary friends and other retired community professionals and leaders. In the afternoons, he and Willma enjoy history lectures, bible studies and Saturday movies.
“We also love visiting with Chloe, the resident bird. She is a sweetheart and one of the joys of living here,” they both offer, smiling.
Willma enjoys meeting with friends for walks, and they both have discovered hidden talents in the craft room and at weekly painting sessions.
“Mostly, we love to sit with and meet new people in the dining room. Everyone is very kind, and we have thoroughly enjoyed exchanging our family histories with each other. The staff at every level is amazing. People know and call us by our names, and they seem very happy to help with anything,” says Carlos.
“Many friends told us that we should have moved to Covenant Village before we did,” he says, adding, “We did not move here until our early 80s.”
Carlos and Willma explained that moving to a retirement community is not always an easy decision, “but Covenant Village is most likely one of the best places to be in retirement and in later years.”