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Grace Ridge residents blaze a trail for Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month logo

The contributions that older adults make are varied, influential and inspirational. Seniors are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities and leaving their positive mark on the lives of people of all ages. As Grace Ridge celebrates Older Americans Month and its “Blaze a Trail” theme, we highlight a few of our residents who are blazing their own trail and leading and inspiring others.

Sharon Everhart

A self-proclaimed “gypsy at heart,” Sharon Everhart lived on a boat for a decade and spent another 8 years traveling in an RV. We’re glad she chose Grace Ridge not only as her new home, but one where she can put her business acumen and volunteer experience to good use. While serving on the Grace Ridge Residents Association, she worked on an 18-month strategic plan project where she helped identify ways to make communications and technology easier for residents. Now serving a two-year stint as board president, Sharon recently assisted with a weeklong onsite survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Sharon’s trailblazing also takes the physical form and she makes it a point to exercise on a daily basis. A fan of yoga, she loves the Good Moods at Grace Ridge focus on total well-being – mind, body and mood. “There are so many activities going on around here, it’s hard to keep track of them all,” she said. “It’s really inspiring – many of the other residents are older than I am, but you’d never be able to tell when talking to or looking at them.”

Byrd Cornwell

Byrd Cornwell has many talents and loves a good adventure – from playing the ukulele to zip lining. Lucky for us, another one of her talents is writing about her adventures and those of her fellow residents. A frequent guest contributor to The News Herald, we always look forward to see what she’ll write about next.

Ron Martin

A former Rotary Club Man of the Year and Order of the Long Leaf Pine recipient, Ron Martin is an advocate of community service and volunteerism with a passion for higher education. His decades of business and leadership experience are an invaluable asset for nonprofits and his efforts have helped raise nearly $4 million for organizations and educational institutions.

Betty Woerner

A lover of public libraries, reading and books, Betty Woerner can frequently be found volunteering in the Grace Ridge Library or the Morganton Public Library. In 2013, the former teacher established The Betty and Otto Woerner Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide financial support for young Burke County residents who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching, fashion design or culinary arts.

Dr. Pat Looper

Not only is Dr. Pat Looper a lifelong mentor and longtime pastor, she’s also a published author. Her late father suffered from multiple sclerosis and lost his ability to walk by age 52. He shared his humor, faith and love of life through witty and inspirational weekly newspaper columns that Pat compiled into the book “Dear Budd.”

Don Olsen

Woodturner Don Olsen has led numerous workshops and classes demonstrating the process of crafting rough wood into works of art. Additionally, he was a featured artist at the Woodworkers Exhibition at the Burke Arts Council – Jailhouse Gallery and the Grace Ridge Holly Days Sale. His beautiful work will be highlighted for the second year at our Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit.

Ruby Clodfelter

Ruby Clodfelter is not just any trailblazer – she’s a supercentarian trailblazer who will celebrate her 111th birthday in July. Though she recently made the transition from independent to assisted living, this Grace Ridge celebrity still maintains an active mind and enjoys her favorite activities, such as NASCAR, grocery shopping and crossword puzzles.