BY HOPE HARRINGTON OAKES
Although one might expect expect the Program Director of a popular local nursing home facility to be a bit harried, Gerald Scallions manages it well with dignity and grace under pressure. Scallions, a native of West Point, joined the staff of Trinity Place Retirement Community in 2000. Trinity Place Retirement Community is affiliated with Methodist Senior Services. Their mission is “to serve older adults in the spirit of Christian love.”
Scallions said he is proud of the unique and interesting programs that are offered at Trinity. Scallions oversees a variety of daily educational and recreational events for the residents, such as bingo, movies, card games, puzzles, community activities, music programs, and Bible study, to name a few. Programs are also kept new and fresh with each new season, as well. The month of October will be Storytelling Month. Story spinners will come in and share their stories.
Scallions said he is prepared for the challenges of his chosen vocation.
“I guess the most challenging aspect of my job is meeting such a wide variety of needs for so many different people,” Scallions said. “Plus, there are so many different levels of needs. As the Bible says, ‘Treat people as you want to be treated, yourself’. We do all kinds of things differently as we get older. There is a lot of loneliness, and feeling left out and not feeling very useful, yet all of us are useful though what we can do changes. Doing things that are challenging can help overcome feelings of hopelessness.”
When Scallions isn’t working hard at Trinity Place, he enjoys spending time at home reading and spending time with his wife, Alice, his son Doug, daughter-in-law Diane, and grandson Jason. He and Alice also love to travel. Scallions admits that one of his passions is Harry S. Truman. His favorite hobby is travelling around with Alice and visiting Harry S. Truman sites such as his birthplace and Presidential Library. He has enjoyed seeing many of the plays about Truman, and has read many books on the subject.
Scallions has lived in Columbus for many years and he said he is actually enjoying his second career. His first career was spent as a school teacher and administrator within the Columbus School District. Scallions taught history and geography before he served as an administrator at schools like Brandon, Hughes, and Heritage Academy before his retirement in 1999. As a long-time employee of the school system, Scallions said he has seen a lot. He still laughs when he recalls one of the more humorous incidents that occurred while he was principal at Brandon. It seems that a student brought a dead pig in to class and his teacher fainted. “Things were hardly ever dull” he said.
Scallions saidhe finds it ironic that in his former career as a school administrator he used to have conferences with the parents about their children. Now, he has conferences with the children about their parents. Coincidentally, he even oversees the care of a couple of his former night school students, as well as the parents and grandchildren of other students.
“Enjoy your food and drink and teach your heart to love the work that’s in your hands,” Scallions said. “Every day is a gift and how you use it is a gift from God.”