Maria Torres worked at Three Pillars for 26 years prior to retiring in 2014. In her 26 years, she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Masonic Health Care Center for 10, Resident Assistant at Van Brunt Hall for eight, and finally Compass Point and later Riverside Lodge as a Service Associate. To round out her experience, she also spent some part time days at the Village on the Square reception desk, and thus has worked at every building on campus.
During her employment, she was never one to “just do her job.” She served on the Safety Committee, dreamed up wonderful ideas like putting on a circus for the residents, and led many Lifestyles programs to make the residents’ days. “I’ve always loved my job, being able to make residents laugh, getting them engaged, and doing fun things for them.” She looks back fondly on the memories and all that she’s learned.
It wasn't just Maria who held a special place in their heart for Three Pillars, either. Her husband, Rico, her son and daughter, and later, her granddaughters grew to love the place, too. They all have happy memories of many Halloween Haunted Woods events, volunteering at special activities, and just spending time on the campus visiting with their second family.
Maria felt so thankful for her time at Three Pillars, which truly became her home. After 26 years of employment, she decided it was time to retire. Her first month of retirement had her thinking, "This is it?" She felt an empty spot in her life after years of waking up every day to go to a fulfilling job. Even her seven year old granddaughter was befuddled, asking if this meant she wasn’t going to get to visit Three Pillars again. Maria knew she was meant to remain involved with the community she loved so much, so two months after retirement, she began participating in a few opportunities that were open to all, like Bible Study and educational programs.
“I missed the residents a lot,” she recalls. “I missed being involved on the campus, making people smile, visiting with co-workers and the residents. Getting involved again was just what I needed, and I was so thankful they were happy to have me back!”
She bumped into an old friend, Mary Ann, who was also a previous Three Pillars employee and now resident, director of the choir, and Resident Council representative for volunteers. Mary Ann invited Maria to join the choir, and she also reminded her there were plenty of other opportunities to spend time on the campus in volunteer capacities, too.
Maria joined the volunteer program and began helping out with nails during spa day, which led to more opportunities. To this day, she can be found singing in the choir, helping out a various events, and everything in between.
“I love the residents - they all have stories to tell, and everyone treats me so nice. The music in the choir is so wonderful, too – it’s good for me. I’m glad to have that and be so involved. You can see the residents all love to be there.”
A Dousman resident, she delights in spreading the word about how great Three Pillars is. She’ll hear a friend or acquaintance saying that they’ve heard it’s a good place, and she eagerly jumps in to say, “It is! It really is!”
Maria is proud to have been a part of Three Pillars and continue to be connected. “It’s been so fun to watch it grow over the years. The people I’ve met - the residents, staff, families - I can’t tell you how special it is.”