Tribune Print Share Text

Taking another turn in life

The Wind Crest windmill is a symbol of renewal

Created date

May 22nd, 2012

On the Wind Crest campus stands an icon. It s a symbol of power, of life, and how life is always turning and changing. This symbol is the windmill the focal point on the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., that lets residents know that they are, in fact, home.

Symbol of renewal

The windmill was originally built in 1932 by Aermotor Windmill Company Inc. and was restored by Russ Furler. Though the windmill is native to Colorado, it originally stood on the Buenevidos family ranch west of the Rio Grande River. After its restoration, it was relocated to Wind Crest. An important part of the community though it doesn t power water to tend a farm anymore it still serves a purpose. I think we should celebrate not only the windmill but the metaphor of it as well, says Betty Geary, who recently moved to Wind Crest from Brooklyn, N.Y. Betty spent 71 of her 76 years in the same house. Now, she says, the windmill and all it stands for speaks to her in a deep way. She sees it as a symbol of renewal. Even though Betty was brought up in the city, she always had a longing for flora and fauna in her life. She maintained a small backyard, but she wanted to be a part of the rolling hills and wide open spaces that a place like Colorado offers. Betty made the move to Wind Crest with the help of the sales and marketing team and her nephew and without even seeing her new apartment home, though she did see the floor plan. Her Oxford-style apartment home overlooks the courtyard where everything is in bloom. Being here fills a need that I was always aware of but couldn t fulfill, Betty says.

Spirit of Wind Crest

Betty lived alone in Brooklyn. She wanted to be closer to her nephew and his family and also be in a place that had people and nature all around her. And the extra bedroom in her Oxford apartment allows her to host friends from the city regularly. Living in a community like Wind Crest appealed to Betty. With all the activities the community has to offer, she knew she would be more fulfilled in retirement than she was while working as a registered nurse and maintaining her house back in Brooklyn. There s a spirit here, Betty says, and by looking at that windmill and how it s functioning at such a high level, I feel like it s a symbol for all of us living here at Wind Crest. Betty has embraced that spirit in her new home. She takes part in the aquatics program and swims in the indoor pool overlooking the mountains (something she never had in Brooklyn). She also uses her nursing talents to help with the weekly resident-run free blood pressure clinic, plays a variety of games with her neighbors, and attends Catholic services on campus. She has so much to do, and she feels renewed every day.

Powerful words

The plaque on Wind Crest s windmill reads: Many western towns developed around windmills as a place to find refreshment and a source of renewal to the weary traveler .This structure will forever stand in tribute to the past as a reminder for those living here to embrace the power of the wind and the freedoms at Wind Crest. Betty believes the windmill is an inspiration and that Wind Crest is the best move she ever could have made. It s a great place for retired windmills, she laughs. They all come here to take another turn in life. Just as we all do. To Betty, as well as the staff and residents at Wind Crest, the windmill stands as a proud reminder that 80 (the age the windmill turns this year) is not the end of life but a new beginning, one that should be honored, cherished, and embraced with both vigor and excitement.