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Marilyn and Leonard Ernst Go Platinum

“Life is a journey, and love is what makes that journey worthwhile.” – Unknown

It’s not every day you get to wish a couple a happy 70th anniversary, but on October 22, we had the rare opportunity to do just that with two beloved members of our Galloway Ridge family, Marilyn and Leonard Ernst.

The happy couple met in rural Iowa the same year they married, in 1950. They are both from large families, and they began their married life living and working on the Ernst family farm. That is where they raised their family and made their living, until they retired in northwest Arkansas, their home for the next 20 years. Since that time, they relocated to Galloway Ridge to be closer to both of their daughters and their families, including grand and great-grandchildren. We love having them as part of our community and are honored to commemorate this momentous occasion with them, even amid a pandemic.

What other major events have they seen over the past 70 years together as husband and wife? They have seen 13 presidents serve in office. They have witnessed our country go to war over five times. They have viewed the Berlin Wall go up and come down. They have watched a man land on the moon and the expansion of space exploration. They have witnessed the birth of rock-and-roll music, computers, television, the interstate system, and so much more. Through it all, they have stood by each other’s sides. If that is not a lifetime achievement, we do not know what is!

If the Ernsts are the first couple you have known, met, or heard of that made it to their platinum anniversary, you would not be wrong in assuming that it is a rare accomplishment. In fact, the US Census Bureau does not maintain statistics on couples that go beyond an almost-equally impressive 50 years of marriage. For the record, only about six percent of couples make it to that golden anniversary milestone. Some researchers speculate that 70 years of marriage is only celebrated by less than one tenth of a percent of married couples, or approximately 80,000 couples in the US.

Some famous couples that have also celebrated their platinum anniversary include President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush in 2015, President Jimmy and First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 2016, and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2017. Interestingly enough, a Platinum Jubilee is when monarchs celebrate a 70-year reign, which is where this landmark anniversary gets its designation. It appears the Ernsts are in mighty good company.

Precious metals aside, Marilyn and Leonard have their own secret to wedded longevity, and they graciously shared it with us. The key to their happy marriage is patience and cooperation, two things we could all do well to remember, especially during this trying year and the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

The Galloway Ridge community, from staff and management to residents, congratulates the Ernsts, our platinum lovebirds, on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary. May you continue to inspire all of us to be more patient, to learn to cooperate, and to approach everything and everyone with love, kindness, and compassion.

Our State Fall Favorites

Multiple states near and above the Maxon-Dixon line all claim to be the birthplace of the whoopie pie. What is a whoopie pie, you wonder? If you aren’t familiar with this tasty treat, it’s a baked dessert that is traditionally made with two round pieces of chocolate cookie-shaped cake filled with a creamy, flavored filling.

At Galloway Ridge, however, we wanted to put a twist on this classic dessert for our residents! Using pumpkin and classic fall spices creates a savory treat for all to enjoy as the air begins to change and we start to settle in for cooler days ahead.


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (Makes 12)



3 CUPS (loosely packed) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR




















Preheat oven to 350F In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and dry spices. In a larger bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and vegetable oil, then whisk in the pumpkin puree, the eggs, and vanilla extract. Fold in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly but try not to overmix. Let set in refrigerator for 20 minutes. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, scoop balls of dough about 1 2/3 tablespoons each and space about 1” apart. Should have approximately 24 dough balls. Slightly flatten the dough balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just starting to crack on top and a tester comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.


For the filling: Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar and stir into the cream cheese mixture. Don’t overmix. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide the pumpkin cookies into two groups of 12. On one group, flip them over so that the flat side is facing upwards. Using either a pastry bag, spoon, or small scoop, place half-inch dollops of the filling in the center of each of the twelve cookies that you flipped, not going quite to the edges. (it will fill out as you put the other cookie on top). Match the remaining cookies as tops to these, to form 12 “sandwiches”.


Galloway Ridge Charitable Fund Now Accepting Grant Applications

August 26, 2020

Galloway Ridge exists to inspire meaningful and engaged lives and to assure each resident a superior quality of life and care.  In support of our mission the Galloway Ridge Chatham County Charitable Fund was established in 2006 to serve the citizens of Chatham County. We are honored to announce that the Galloway Ridge Chatham County Charitable Fund is now accepting grant applications from Chatham County 501(c)(3) organizations and from Chatham County Public Schools and other Chatham County non-profits. Thanks to the generosity of the Galloway Ridge residents during the 2019 fund drive, $100,000 is available to support our larger community.

The application can be accessed at the link below. Completed applications are due by 4:00 pm on October 9, 2020.

For questions regarding the application, please contact Charell Harper at charper@gallowayridge.com or 919-545-2697.

Please click here to access the online application.

Galloway Ridge Welcomes New Senior Director of Human Resources

Galloway Ridge is pleased to announce Kim Hutter as the Senior Director of Human Resources. Kim has an extensive background in both senior living and human resources. Kim spent the first part of her professional life working for a large assisted living provider. She worked for several years in Human Resources for Case Western University before joining the staff at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She served as the Director of Human Resources at the School of Pharmacy for the past ten years.  Kim holds a bachelor’s degree from Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio as well as several professional certifications in Human Resources. She recently earned her North Carolina Assisted Living Administrator License.  As Senior Director of Human Resources, Kim will be responsible for all phases of the Employee Life Cycle which includes Recruitment, Onboarding, Employee Relations, Performance Management, Employee Recognition, Employment Law Compliance, Benefits and Compensation. Kim will work closely with the other Senior Directors and Directors to continue Galloway Ridge’s reputation of being an employer of choice. Kim has lived in Pittsboro for the past ten years with her husband, Dave, their three children ages 14, 16, and 18 and their black lab. Kim is a former member of the Chatham County Community Advisory Committee; Joint Committee on Nursing Homes; Adult Care Homes and Family Care Homes and continues to volunteer with the Chatham Council on Aging.


The Faces Behind the Masks

In a proactive step against the spread of Covid-19, Galloway Ridge staff teamed up with the Linus Quilters, as well as additional skilled sewers across the community, to create handmade fabric masks. Nearly a dozen residents rallied together (but separately) to offer their skills, as dozens and dozens of masks starting coming in. With their help, we were able to begin supplying our community with high quality (and stylish!) fabric masks in a matter of days. To ramp up production, Bob Zimmer authorized the purchase of supplies to begin additional production groups, as well as provide kits for home sewers to speed the process. A resident group began working in the Artisan Studio and many Duke Center for Living staff have joined the sewing ranks to cumulatively produce several hundred facemasks for staff and residents. We cannot thank enough our talented resident and staff sewers that continue to donate endless hours of their time to this incredibly important initiative.


Galloway Ridge Contributes to the American Red Cross

During the Galloway Ridge Blood Drive on March 10th, 39 units were collected and donated to the American Red Cross. Those 39 units have the potential of saving 117 lives!

Thank you to all who volunteered to make the drive run smoothly and thank you to everyone who was a participating donor. There were 15 Residents who volunteered and/or donated time or “goods” to the blood drive.

Special mention to Betty Westfall, who not only donates blood every year, but also donates MANY boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to the Canteen for Blood Donors to enjoy after giving blood!  Marilyn Ernst and Barbara Frischel have also baked cookies for the canteen every year.

We had many residents and staff involved in this year’s drive and we look forward to hosting it again next year.


Galloway Ridge Welcomes New Director of Information Technology

Galloway Ridge is pleased to announce Bryan Angelico as the new Director of Information Technology.

Bryan has nearly twenty years of experience in network and systems administration, including extensive experience with a variety of computing environments. As the Director of Information Technology, Bryan will be responsible for overseeing our investment in hardware and software use in the day-to-day operations of Galloway Ridge, as well as manage the resident technology support team. He also has responsibility for implementing procedures to comply with PCI and HIPPA requirements, as well as evaluating innovative technological solutions. He attended school at Nova Southeastern University.

Galloway Ridge Welcomes Two New Culinary Talents

Ryan Payne has joined our Galloway Ridge team as Director of Culinary/Executive Chef! Ryan will be responsible for the overall coordination of our food preparation and kitchen operations in independent living. He comes to Galloway Ridge with over 20 years of experience in the food service industry and has won multiple culinary awards.  Ryan attended Johnson & Wales University in Norfolk VA, earning an Associates’ Degree in Culinary Arts.  Ryan brings a passion for creating a dining experience that will align with our mission in enriching the lives of our residents. (pictured first)

Grey Bailey has joined our Galloway Ridge team as Chef de Cuisine. Grey will be responsible for the food preparation in all of our dining venues in Independent Living.  Grey comes to Galloway Ridge with over thirty years of experience in the food service industry, notably serving as Executive Chef at Carolina Meadows. He has vast experience in multiple culinary venues across the United States, as well as experience in pastries. Grey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition & Restaurant Management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier Vermont. (pictured second)

U.S. News & World Report Names The Arbor at Galloway Ridge a 2019-20 Best Nursing Home

Washington, D.C. – November 13, 2019 – The Arbor at Galloway Ridge is among the 19% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities that have been recognized as a Best Nursing Home for 2019-20 by U.S. News & World Report.

The home earned Best Nursing Homes status by achieving a rating of “High Performing,” the highest possible rating, for Short-Term Rehabilitation.  U.S. News gives the designation of Best Nursing Home only to those homes that satisfy U.S. News’s assessment of the appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures.

“We are honored and excited to have the Arbor included in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of best nursing homes. Our goal is to assist the residents of our community to continue living active and engaged lives. With that mission in mind, our staff work extremely hard to provide the best quality of care with a compassionate and caring spirit,” said Adam Melton, Galloway Ridge Associate Executive Director.

Now in its 10th year, the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes ratings and profiles offer comprehensive information about care, safety, health inspections, staffing and more for nearly all of the nation’s 15,000-plus nursing homes. The Best Nursing Homes ratings reflect U.S. News’ exclusive analysis of publicly available data using a methodology defined by U.S. News that evaluates factors that it has determined most greatly impact patient and resident care, safety, and outcomes.

“For the aging population in America, a nursing home should meet the specific level of care based on the needs of each patient or resident,” said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News.

“The U.S. News Best Nursing Home ratings hone in on measurements like emergency room visits, quality of staff and proper distribution of medical and physical therapy to help families make an informed decision,” she said. “These ratings help individuals and their families begin their search for senior care and should be used in consultation with a medical professional and in-depth on-site visits.”

This year, U.S. News introduced a new rating focused on long-term care. The Long-Term Care Rating aims to provide prospective residents who need help with daily activities, and their families, with analysis and information regarding the quality of care provided by nursing homes. The rating includes data on staffing, success in preventing emergency room visits, and pneumonia vaccination rates, among other metrics.

“The inclusion of the new Long-Term Care Rating in this year’s Best Nursing Homes guide expands the quality of data-driven decision support for patients, residents and families choosing a nursing facility.” said Zach Adams, senior health data analyst at U.S. News. “Here at U.S. News we understand that every person researching a nursing home is looking for qualities specific to their needs. We have updated our methodology to reflect multiple dimensions of care that matter when making this important decision.”

U.S. News also expanded the factors included in the Short-Term Rehabilitation rating that assesses the performance of nursing homes in the care they provide to patients staying at the facility for fewer than 100 days. The quality measures included in this year’s ratings include consistency of registered nurse staffing, use of antipsychotic drugs, and success in preventing falls.

For more information behind both U.S. News ratings please refer to the FAQ.

Lovingly crafted with heart, soul and Southern charm, Galloway Ridge is more than a life plan community – it’s a secure, health-conscious, pleasure-packed lifestyle destination. The 50-acre campus is just south of Chapel Hill and adjacent to Fearrington Village. Galloway Ridge offers 248 independent living apartments along with 52 independent living villas. The Medicare-certified health care center, The Arbor, is connected to the main building and offers 96 private rooms for assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. To learn more about Galloway Ridge please visit gallowayridge.com

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Honoring a Man Of Honor


Galloway Ridge strives to create the kind of community that people want to belong to, and we have our residents to thank for it. People who choose to live here come from all over and bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion with them, but even if they worked in a high-profile or high-power position, they prefer a humble, modest life in retirement. When good news about one of our residents comes our way, we like to share it with the community, especially if we know that resident isn’t likely to toot his or her own horn.

If you haven’t met George Meinig yet, you may want to introduce yourself. George is an active member of our community, but you may not realize that he is also a highly decorated Naval officer. Rear Admiral Meinig (Ret.) served this nation as both an active duty officer and a civilian consultant for fifty years, and continues today. During his time in the Navy, he became, in his words, “a weapons specialist”, and brought both the Phalanx Close In Weapon System and the Aegis Weapon System into the Navy as Program Manager. Along the way, George was the commanding officer of the Naval Surface Warfare Center providing laboratory, engineering, and technical support to the fleet with a total staff of over 22,000 under his leadership.

After his military retirement, he continued as a consultant with the Navy as the leader of the Senior Advisory Team for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the heart of the Navy’s integrated air and missile defense programs. In his tenure, he oversaw changing technologies and even extended support to some of our nation’s allies who implemented similar defense capabilities. You might say he is an authority on some of the most advanced technology protecting our nation, allied forces, and much of Europe

It’s a role that seems fitting for our George, if you think about it. We are protected every day by a system most of us either know nothing about or don’t realize exists, a quiet sentinel making a monumental difference in our safety and security. George, in his own way, is also quiet, and not one to tout his achievements or take much credit for his life’s work.

Which brings us to George’s honor, the ceremony on October 18, 2019, in the city of Moorestown, New Jersey. The Integrated Air and Missile Defense Engineering Center, a new facility that contains the latest equipment to maintain and support the Navy fleet’s foremost weapons system, has been named in honor of RADM George R. Meinig, Jr., United States Navy (Retired).

Having a Naval building named for someone is no small undertaking. It’s a process that involves nomination, discussion, and approval at multiple levels, much as you would expect from any military operation. Vice Admiral Jon Hill kicked it off by nominating George and was also a speaker at the dedication ceremony. That level of recognition from a highly respected peer is an honor in and of itself, but it speaks volumes of the kind of person George has been throughout his career and lifetime.

George and his family attended the ceremony, along with many of his close friends and colleagues, both military and civilian. He has since returned to his home in Galloway Ridge and the life he has made here as a part of our community. He has plenty to be proud of, but you won’t find him sharing his achievement in grand fashion. We are happy to do that for him.

What brings a man of his caliber to our corner of Pittsboro? The short answer is family, as he and his wife Jan wanted to be close to their daughter in Durham, whom he affectionately refers to as “Durham Daughter.” The long answer is that, even with many years of living near the Washington Beltway and the Northeast, George and his wife didn’t find what they were looking for near where they lived in Pennsylvania. Their Durham daughter suggested they consider Galloway Ridge, and the rest, as they say, is history. George and his wife made their new home here and joined our community, and we are lucky to have them. In his modest way, George explained it best:” Once I saw the cows, I knew I was home.” We couldn’t agree more.

Galloway Ridge Wins Beacon Award for ‘Best in Wellness’

Pittsboro, NC, October 10th, 2019 – Galloway Ridge has won the 2019 ICAA NuStep Beacon Award, which recognizes and honors the Top 25 ‘Best in Wellness’ senior living communities in North America. Galloway Ridge is among those recognized as best-in-class for successfully fostering a wellness-centered environment to benefit all who live and work in their community. The award was created as a joint effort between International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) and NuStep, LLC, a major manufacturer of recumbent cross-trainers used in healthcare, senior living and fitness, already mentioned above.

The ICAA is responsible for leading, connecting and defining the active-aging industry. CEO and founder Colin Milner says, “Senior living communities have long been aware of how important wellness is for the health and well-being of their residents, but in recent years, wellness has evolved from being a programming option to becoming a way of life” This evolution, says Milner, is also reflected in a survey recently conducted by the ICAA. The survey found that 59% of senior living communities state their business model will be wellness-centered with care services by 2023.* Galloway Ridge has successively partnered with its residents and staff to create relevant, meaningful opportunities and inspire participants to improve their quality of life.

Wellness is typically defined by seven key dimensions: emotional, physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, vocational and environmental. When each of these dimensions is equally nurtured and prioritized, it can enhance a sense of well-being among residents.  It is this commitment and acknowledgement of how important wellness is for older adults that elevates resident health to new heights.

“At Galloway Ridge we believe that there is wellness in everything that we do,” said Bob Zimmer, Executive Director at Galloway Ridge. “Through the relationships built between residents and staff, the services and programs offered, and the environment in and around our community, it is clear that wellness is at our very core. Our goal is to provide opportunities for each resident and staff member of our community to live their best life and to continue thriving as the unique individual that they are.”

As the older adult population continues to grow and more individuals seek a better, longer life, where they choose to live is becoming increasingly important. How communities structure their wellness culture can have a significant effect on health and longevity. It’s more than just practicing wellness; it’s about having it permeate all aspects of life. As winners of the Beacon award, Galloway Ridge is leading the way.

About Galloway Ridge


Galloway Ridge at Fearrington is a not-for-profit Life Plan Community that blends Southern hospitality and cosmopolitan sophistication. Discover a community of individuals who are open to fresh ideas, new adventures, and living every day to the fullest. Our residents enjoy vibrant, independent living as well as an array of activities and progressive health programs in a tight-knit environment where employees and neighbors alike truly care for one another.

About NuStep, LLC

NuStep, LLC designs, manufactures and distributes recumbent cross trainer exercise equipment. NuStep products, accessories and adaptive equipment empower users of virtually all functional abilities and fitness levels to engage in exercise that helps build strength, enhance independence and improve health outcomes. From 1998 to 2018, NuStep  sponsored the Pinnacle Award to recognize senior communities and senior centers transforming lives through whole-person wellness programming. The award also served as a vehicle to educate and encourage senior organizations to integrate whole-person wellness into their programming.

About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)

ICAA, a professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry and supports professionals who aspire to develop wellness cultures for adults over 50. This includes creating wellness environments, programs and services. The association is focused on active aging – an approach to aging that helps older adults live life as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia (Canada) Ministries of Health and Healthy Living and Sport.

For more information or questions, contact:
Missy Johnson, Senior Director of Marketing and Sales, Galloway Ridge

Telephone: 919-545-2547 E-mail: mjohnson@gallowayridge.com

Australian Nursing Students Visit Galloway Ridge

As part of the UNC School of Nursing Global Partnerships program Galloway Ridge hosted eight nursing students from Australian Catholic University for an afternoon of education and discussion on the life plan community concept in the United States. The students learned about all of the available senior housing options in the United States along with a detailed discussion of life at Galloway Ridge. During the panel discussion with six Galloway Ridge residents the nursing students heard stories about why living in a life plan community creates opportunities for connection and purposeful living. The residents encouraged the students to consider working in senior communities because of the long term relationships they can form with the residents and vice versa.

After the panel discussion, the students toured Galloway Ridge and spent time in the Arbor HealthCare Center. Sandra Haggins, Arbor HealthCare Center Administrator, shared her passion for working at Galloway Ridge and how taking the time to learn about the residents lives makes her nursing career even more robust.  The students will be at UNC Chapel Hill for another week before returning to Australia to continue their nursing education at Australian Catholic University.

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