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Lakewood’s ‘Cumberland group’ wins Leading Age Virginia Award

By Ann Lovell

The Cumberland group displays the Power of Purpose award they received from LeadingAge Virginia June 7.

NORFOLK, Virginia—What do these have in common: six sisters, a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, and a cousin; four housekeepers, three CNAs, an LPN, and a floor tech? At Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s west end, they represent 156 years of combined service.

Seven current and two former employees are a family who make up what’s known as Lakewood’s “Cumberland group.” The family received the inaugural “Power of Purpose” award June 7 at LeadingAge Virginia’s annual conference in Norfolk. The award recognizes a front-line caregiver — or in this case nine — who demonstrate remarkable commitment to the people they serve.

The legacy began in 1988 when Dorothy Trent joined the staff of Lakewood as a housekeeper. Her sister, Nancy Wheele, joined Lakewood as a CNA in 1989 and worked there until her death in 2016. Other members of the family soon followed. Sister Annie Trent worked as a housekeeper from 1991 until 1998, and Julie Athey, a third sister, joined as a CNA in 1992. Five years later Becky and Jimmy Edmonds, Trent’s fourth sister and brother-in-law, joined Lakewood in August 1997 as a CNA and floor tech, respectively. Annette Johnson, a cousin, came to work as an LPN in 2003, and Laura Langhorne, Trent’s fifth sister, and her sister-in-law Lucy Langhorne joined Lakewood as housekeepers in 2008 and 2013, respectively. Together, this all adds up to a combined 156 years of service from one family.

“We call the Cumberland group a ‘legacy family,’” explained Patricia Morris, vice president of the Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation who nominated the group to receive the award. “A ‘legacy family’ includes residents or staff families who have chosen to live or work at Lakewood for a number of generations.”

“The family carpools about an hour each way from their home in Cumberland County to Lakewood,” Morris said. “They are dedicated people who show up on time and work hard.”

Barrett Way, Lakewood’s Executive Director agreed. “Residents depend on them, and they answer the call of service happily. Their commitment to the Lakewood family is evident every day, and we are grateful they chose to join us.”

“We are very honored to have been nominated for this award,” said Jimmy Edmonds, speaking on behalf of the family at the awards ceremony held at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. “We are real pleased and even more honored to have won the award.

We enjoy working at Lakewood. We enjoy the residents and consider them part of our family,” Edmonds continued. “We do travel long distances, but we do that because we love our jobs, the residents and the staff. We greatly appreciate this award.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.