Robert Darrah has seen his team through a series of ups and downs since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last spring. See what he has to say about his operation, Legacy Retirement Communities in Lincoln, Neb., and what he’s learned during this challenging time.
Q: What are your goals for the coming year?
We hope and pray that the vaccine rollouts are successful and that we can slowly open our dining rooms back up—and get to a level of normalcy. When all of this is all said and done, we are going to have one of the biggest celebrations for our residents: many days of meals and entertainment.
Q: What has the pandemic taught you?
It’s taught me a lesson of respect, not only for others but for the gifts we are all given every day. You just do not know when they will be taken away. Now we really know you’ve got to appreciate the small things in life, smell that cup of coffee. I’ve had to chance to sit down and listen to our residents talk about what it was like during the Great Depression. It really hammers home that you don’t know when things will be gone.
Q: Can you boil down what it is that makes your operation excel?
Their dedication to enriching the lives of every resident in our community. It’s our literal mission, established by our founder, but it’s not just a motto. It’s a way of life, and all of our staff live that mission statement.
It goes beyond Legacy to Lincoln at large, too. Before COVID, we were active with participating in Meals on Wheels [and] we have an Enrichment Council that does dozens of events each year, etc. Our sense of community extends far beyond our own doors.