Getting a Taste of Independent Living Communities

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grandparents outside an independent living communityEmerson said, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man,” and Bud and Char Irion followed his advice. Bud and Char left positions as a real estate agent and a medical technician, respectively, to follow their calling to farming.

Their “side of the road” was a grain mill in rural Vermont, which they owned and operated for over thirty years-becoming the grain supplier for their small community. Despite the hard work of owning and operating the grain mill, the couple raised four children and still found time to “be a friend to man” through countless volunteer activities. Bud mentored prisoners and ministered to them through their local Methodist church, and Char welcomed the needy into their home on a regular basis.

Bud and Char met in high school when he moved to Westfield, NJ and became friends. Shortly after graduation, Bud enlisted in the Army Anti-Aircraft division. Bud fought in Europe as part of General Patton’s army. Bud jokes that he was “happy to be somewhere where they might serve good food.” He volunteered to serve food and became part of a team that worked in the private quarters of General Marshall and General Arnold. He served meals to General Eisenhower, Secretary of State Burns, and Churchill’s daughters, to name a few.

After high school, Char earned a degree as a medical secretary and technician. When Bud returned home, Char was reunited with him at a dance. The two were married in 1948 and moved to Syracuse, where Bud continued his education and earned a Master’s Degree in Business. Their family had grown to four children by the time they relocated to Vermont and purchased their grain mill.

After 32 years in their beautiful Vermont home, Bud and Char knew that it was time to find a retirement community near their daughter, who lives in Sterling, VA. Sommerset Retirement Community, just a short drive from their daughter’s home was their first choice. Although they looked at other places, they decided on Sommerset because of its convenient location and its “cozy and pleasant” atmosphere.

Since moving, the Irions enjoy frequent visits from their daughter and their grandchildren and getting to know their new neighbors. “We do a great deal of visiting and talking with people and trying to help them in any way we can,” says Bud.

Both Bud and Char take advantage of the activities, trips, and amenities offered at Sommerset. Bus trips to D.C. and historical sites around Virginia, plays, and various other outings keep them busy. The also frequent the nearby library. Most of all, though, they just enjoy having so much free time, which, they say, “Is almost like being on vacation.”

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