carol-wayneCarol & Wayne Spangler

Travel and service have been running life themes for Carol and Wayne Spangler since they married more than 65 years ago. Moving to the Village makes the fourth time they have lived in the town of Bridgewater as a couple. The first time was when Wayne attended Bridgewater College to finish a teaching certificate (the couple had met while attending the college earlier). Both Carol and Wayne held teaching positions in Tokyo, followed by a stint in France, where Wayne continued teaching for the Department of Defense. The couple returned to Bridgewater with a baby daughter they adopted in Luxembourg. They adopted another child, then answered a mission teaching call in Nigeria. They returned to the U.S. so Carol could give birth to their third and fourth children. During this time, they volunteered with their church, served Meals on Wheels, and cared for more than 180 children during their time as foster parents.

When it came time to retire, Carol and Wayne returned to the town they had lived in many times before and where they met. Carol is still very active in the Church of the Brethren, and Wayne was involved for many years with disaster response programs, including four trips to the Virgin Islands where he rebuilt houses. He also busies himself with his hobby of repairing and restoring antique clocks.

The Spanglers have seen and served all over the world, but they are happy to come home to Bridgewater.

jack-mary-whitleyJack & Mary Whitley

Jack and Mary Whitley had numerous connections to Bridgewater Retirement Community before moving into Bridgewater Village. Jack graduated from Bridgewater College in 1971. Mary graduated from neighboring Madison College (now James Madison University) in 1974. They had several friends who worked for Bridgewater Retirement Community or who had family members living there, so they knew it was a welcoming place to live. But the seeds were planted in their youth, says Mary: “We knew in college that we would come here.”

One thing that attracted them to Bridgewater was the variety of care levels they offered. Mary explains the importance of being able to “slide back and forth” through levels of care as needed. In the event of an injury or health emergency, they know they will receive the care they need, whether it’s a temporary or longer stay in Assisted Living or Nursing.

The supportive and loving environment is another reason the Whitleys chose Bridgewater. During their first week here, Jack fell in Maple Terrace. The Whitleys fondly remember a fellow resident and Bridgewater College graduate who helped him back up, saying, “We Eagles have to stick together.” This community feeling has made them feel right at home.

From its extensive list of services to the small-town feel, Jack and Mary always look forward to coming home to Bridgewater. “Every time we come up Meadow Lane, we are just so grateful to live here,” Mary explains. “There’s something about this place; we know we have found the right spot. And I hope that’s how Bridgewater strikes other people as well.”

mike-cindy-fikeMike & Cindy Fike

Mike and Cindy met while attending Bridgewater College. After moving to West Virginia and raising their family, the Fikes retired and settled at Bridgewater Retirement Community.

When they first came to tour Bridgewater Retirement Community, they had no intentions of moving in immediately. “Things did not go as planned, in a good way,” they commented. Bridgewater impressed them because it felt comfortable and familiar. The house they wanted was already available. Cindy remembers thinking “We need to do this now.”

The Fikes realize their decision to move sooner rather than later was right for them. They appreciate the readiness of the staff and the new friends they’ve made. “The folks who live here have given me a whole new outlook,” Cindy observes, “and we have realized that age truly is a state of mind.” Mike adds, “The sooner you come here, the better. By coming here younger, you can enjoy everything Bridgewater Retirement Community has to offer and be independent as long as possible.”

In a way, Bridgewater was in their blood. Mike is the third generation of Fikes to live at the retirement community, a heritage symbolized by an antique flax wheel on display in Cindy and Mike’s living room. The wheel accompanied the first Fikes when they came to the colonies in North America, and Cindy and Mike made sure to move it to their new home. They feel it represents the wisdom of generations past, including the decision to move to Bridgewater: “We feel we have come full circle.”