Civic duty

Dight Crain continues his lifelong commitment to community at Linden Ponds

Created date

March 25th, 2020
Dight Crain, wearing a blue and red plaid shirt, smiles in front of a beautifully lush green tree.

Dight Crain has always been an active member in the communities where he’s lived, and he’s been able to continue that involvement at Linden Ponds. 

Linden Ponds resident Dight Crain has always been inspired by the teachings of the Methodist religious leader John Wesley, who is credited with saying, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Dight says that quote has been a guiding light that inspired him to be an active member of the community in Natick, Mass., where he lived for many years. He served on the Natick School Committee for 18 years, including five one-year terms as chair. He was also a member of the Natick Town Meeting, the governing body for the town, and was very active in the Methodist Church on the local and regional levels.

“I was a delegate to the general conference of the Methodist Church from 1972 to 2000,” Dight says. “I was treasurer of the Northeast jurisdictional conference for 27 years as a volunteer job.”

Dight was also a local business owner. His grandfather started The Whipple Company, a food manufacturer most famous for Grandmother’s Mincemeat. Dight ran the company for many years, and his son was later involved until they ultimately sold the business in 2003. 

“I have a long history of doing civic community affairs,” Dight notes.

As active as ever

Given that history, it is not surprising that Dight has continued to be an active and engaged community member at Linden Ponds, where he has lived since 2011. Over the years, he has served on several committees, including dining, finance, and general services. In 2018, he was elected to the Resident Advisory Council (RAC), an important and influential committee that serves as a liaison between community members and staff. He then became the chair of RAC in 2019.

“I spend a lot of time building trust and an honest relationship with the administration, so we feel good about that. We work very closely with them,” Dight says of his work on RAC. “RAC is a two-way street—we take residents’ concerns and ideas to the administration and vice versa.”

RAC has several channels through which residents can voice their questions and suggestions. They can submit ideas in writing on forms available at the front desk or they can bring up concerns in person at RAC meetings, which are open to the entire community. Dight says RAC is diligent about following up with community members who have ideas about how to make life at Linden Ponds even better.

“Oftentimes, management will be involved in talking to residents as well,” Dight says. “The administration here is very proactive with those types of issues.”

One of the big projects RAC has been working on since Dight became chair last September is raising money for the Staff Appreciation Fund, which is used to provide cash bonuses to employees in recognition of their service and dedication to the people who live at Linden Ponds. To encourage their neighbors to contribute to the fund, RAC members distributed fliers in residents’ mailboxes and set up tables outside the on-site restaurants so people could stop by to ask questions after dinner. They also worked with the administration to give residents the option of having automatically recurring donations to the Staff Appreciation Fund added to their monthly service package. 

Their efforts paid off. “We had a goal of raising $231,000 and came in at $261,000,” Dight says. “Last year, participation was 80%, and this year 86% of residents contributed.”

Personal support

Linden Ponds has certainly provided opportunities for Dight to continue his commitment to community involvement. But he’s also found friendship and support that has made a big difference in his quality of life. Dight and his now-late wife Janet initially moved to Linden Ponds because she was suffering from dementia. Dight wanted to move to a community where she would be able to get the care she needed. They found that—and so much more.

“We were having dinner in the Fireside Restaurant one night, after we had been here for a month or so. One lady said, ‘You will be glad you came here as a couple because when one of you should pass, the other will have friends and not be told by your kids that you have to downsize,’” Dight recalls. “I certainly have many friends from when Janet was alive, so that really did prove right.”