OWASSO—Many gathered at Baptist Village of Owasso March 7 to celebrate the newest addition of this community. The Thompson Family Neighborhood, which has been in operation for a few months, drew people from across Oklahoma for a special dedication ceremony.
The Thompson Family Neighborhood offers services for those facing Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory-related challenges. The 10,000-square-foot building includes 16 single occupancy or double occupancy apartment homes, as well as other features and amenities such as open living areas, family-style dining and made-to-order breakfast, in a secure environment.
The most notable and impressive feature of the Thompson Family Neighborhood is the Abbott Family Snoezelen Room. The room provides a multi-sensory environment with a relaxed atmosphere, involving pleasant surroundings, calming sounds, soothing aromas, lighting effects and more. It also serves as a safe storm gathering room during inclement weather.
“What a wonderful place to relax and be calm and experience all kinds of things that are unique to yourself,” said Bill Pierce, president of Baptist Village Communities (BVC), who credited Paul and Betty Abbott and their family for making the addition of the Snoezelen Room possible. “It is extraordinary. There is not another one in Oklahoma like that.”
Nathan Purifoy, campus director at Baptist Village of Owasso, opened the dedication program with a welcome to all in attendance, followed by Bob McCaslin, a resident, reading Scripture and a time of prayer led by Wendell Short, BVC vice president—planning and project management.
Pierce opened the time of comments, thanking Short and Steve Thomas, BVC vice president—operations, for their leadership and involvement in building the Thompson Family Neighborhood. He also thanked Purifoy and other leaders on the Owasso campus, asking all of them to stand for attendees to show appreciation through applause.
“God calls people to this campus, and God has called every one of these people, that just stood, to this campus,” Pierce said. “We are very blessed by their leadership and by their hearts and their ministry aspect in which they lead this campus. It is God every day.”
Pierce shared his appreciation for the late Nettie Sitz who was a resident at Baptist Village of Owasso who gave money that would support a ministry for people with dementia. Pierce pointed out the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma has been custodian of Sitz’s money for many years.
Many members of the Thompson family attended the ceremony, including patriarch Richard Thompson and his wife Patty. Their company, Wynn Construction, was responsible for building the neighborhood, and the Thompsons also donated the money for the neighborhood to be built.
“The Thompson family wanted to have a significant part in what Baptist Village Communities does,” Pierce said. “They made it possible to build that building. I can’t remember a time where we built a significant building where we went into it without any debt whatsoever. We do not have any debt on a building to serve dementia. That is significant. It means we can do it right, and we can do it better as we do day-to-day operations.”
Dennis Taylor, pastor of Okmulgee, First, serves as the chairperson of the BVC board of directors and shared words of appreciation for Pierce during the dedication ceremony.
“Bill talks about everyone else in the room, rarely talks about himself,” Taylor said. “(He is a) very dedicated, very committed, very humble man who serves the Lord and serves us as Oklahoma Baptists to lead this great ministry. Bill, we are deeply appreciative of your vision, of your integrity and leadership that you provide for us.”
Warren Lehr, Owasso city manager, spoke how he appreciates Baptist Village being in Owasso.
“My relationship with Baptists and Baptist Village goes back many years,” Lehr said. “I’ve come to love this place. I know this ministry has been bathed in prayer for years and years. I think the community of Owasso is the beneficiary of the overflow of prayers.”
Thomas led a time of responsive reading during the dedication ceremony, emphasizing repetitively the neighborhood is to be dedicated to God.
Ribbon cutting observances were done by the Thompson Family, BVC leaders, Owasso community representatives and others who were a part of the building of the Thompson Family Neighborhood.
For more information, call Baptist Village of Owasso at 918/272-2281 or visit www.baptistvillage.com.