“She was the first thing that attracted me to the Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, but I love my duplex and the community that has now become our home.” says Lebanon Valley Brethren Home (LVBH) resident Jim Allwein, about his wife, Betsy.
Jim and Betsy Allwein first met over 60 years ago at a church event. Although they each found love with other people whom they married and had children with, they remained life-long friends. Judy, Jim’s first wife who passed away in 2010, was one of Betsy’s best friends.
“We went to grade school and graduated college together and remained close our whole lives” says Betsy of her dear friend Judy.
Jim and Betsy have now been married for 5 years and have large families with whom they travel and spend a lot of time. Jim has two daughters who live locally, and Betsy has three children. When they aren’t spending time with their families they can be found traveling in their motor home to Florida, where they spend at least two months a year to escape the cold winters of Pennsylvania.
“It’s wonderful, we leave a note, turn the key and head out on the road. We still have our freedom to come and go as we please and know that we have a safe community when it’s time to return home.”
“Lebanon Valley Brethren Home is the best value for your money,” says Betsy, who had visited another retirement community in the area and says that a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) was always a place she knew she would move to when the time was right. Once her late husband passed, her house became too much to handle and she wanted to experience the fellowship that our residents enjoy. When deciding to marry Jim, Betsy had only one requirement… he had to move to LVBH to live with her because she wasn’t moving! This was an easy decision for Jim.
In between traveling to the Adirondacks, Vermont and Florida, the Allwein’s still find a lot of time to volunteer in the LVBH community. One of their biggest ventures is organizing, fully staffing and running the food stand at LVBH’s annual Estate and Yard Sale. “We pick up a lot of the food and schedule all the volunteers each year. This year we grossed just over $4,000 in food sales. That’s a lot of hot dogs.” Betsy says as she laughs. Jim can also be seen on campus driving our large bus taking residents to different events. A lot of Betsy’s time has been spent working in LVBH’s resident run convenience store and thrift shop. Betsy, a former member of the Independent Living Community Board (ILC) has recently been working with other residents to plan some Good Samaritan Fundraisers. In September they will be running one of their most successful events, which is ‘The Chocolate Stroll’.
“It’s a fun event where residents purchase tickets, and a portion of the proceeds goes to our Good Samaritan Fund. We use different areas in the Snell Community Center to host activities, raffles and games. Along the way we try different exciting kinds of chocolate. This year we are excited to announce we will be having a chocolate fountain as one of the decadent treats.”
On July 22nd and 23rd, Lebanon Valley Brethren Home will be having their annual Chicken BBQ and Auction. Our very first original fundraiser for the community, it brings in hundreds of people to enjoy the auction, breakfasts made by our President, Jeff Shireman and delicious Chicken from Kauffman’s. A great way to bring non residents to our community, this fundraiser helps to support our Good Samaritan Fund, which provides money to residents in need. When asked, Jim and Betsy Allwein had this to say about what the Good Samaritan Fund means to them. “Although we don’t always work the BBQ we have attended it in the past and it’s such a wonderful event for the Home. Even if we never personally need to use the Good Samaritan Fund we feel it’s our way to give back to the community and helps others. It provides a sense of security for those residents moving in, that regardless of their situation in life they will be taken care of if need be.”
Jim and Betsy are constantly trying to get their friends to move to Lebanon Valley Brethren Home. “Originally my friends thought I was too young to come to a CCRC. Once they saw my duplex and the community I live in they were amazed. I always knew I made the right decision and haven’t regretted it one day.”