Active Senior Living Community Mechanicsburg | Messiah Village
Learn how Messiah Village residents are Growing Bolder every day.

Doris Waddell

Living life to the fullest

Doris Waddell

“Live life to the fullest as you are able!” That’s what Lemoyne native Doris Waddell suggests for aging well. You might consider Doris an expert when it comes to living fully; in addition to volunteering, serving in resident leadership roles, keeping connected on her Kindle, and traveling with her family, Doris has a serious appetite for adventure. After zip-lining, parasailing, taking a hot air balloon ride, and camping with her West Coast-based Eagle Scout grandkids, Doris had a fast-paced plan to celebrate her 85th birthday. Here’s a clue from Doris: “We went 170 miles per hour, but it only lasts 3 minutes. Someone helped me in and out of the windows since there are no doors. You blink and it’s over!” If you think Doris enjoyed the official Nascar Experience, complete with racing helmet and certified driver, you’d be right!

Glancing at Doris’ family photos, one would notice a lot of active people and beautiful scenery, from fishing boats to rock climbing. While Doris says her family “shares” an adventurous spirit, it’s quite possible that they inherited her zest for life—a passion for travel and making memories that Doris has passed on in great style.

What’s next? “I’d really like to jump out of an airplane, but my doctor says no.  So I guess I will try a helicopter ride, maybe in Gettysburg.” Doris, who’s lived at Messiah Village for 12 years, keeps counting her blessings and thinking of new ways to grow bold: “I am really thankful that I am able to travel so that I can have so many adventures!” 

Gretchen Petri

An Inspiring Legacy

Gretchen Petri

When Gretchen Petri talks about spending time with her “sisters,” she is most likely referring to Kappa Alpha Theta – the sorority chapter she’s faithfully upheld for 57 years! First joining as a mathematics student at Penn State University, Gretchen delights in staying connected and modeling the sorority’s motto of “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” through nurturing relationships with the active sisters at Dickinson College. Recently profiled in Harrisburg Magazine as one of our region’s “trailblazing ladies,” Gretchen encourages young women to strive for professional goals that are fulfilling and exciting, not expected.

Each year, the sisters continue time-honored KAT traditions – like Founders Day, when they honor an outstanding sister by giving her a century’s old kite-shaped pin.  In 2013, Gretchen was pinned and honored for her exemplary work.  As recruitment season approaches, Gretchen and her sisters will gather at her Willow Way cottage at Messiah Village to bake their famous kite-shaped cookies for new recruits.  As final exams loom later this year, the KAT sisters will craft goodie bags that hold much-needed chocolate treats for weary students.

As Gretchen observes Liz Shaw step into a new role as president of the local chapter, she recognizes many of the qualities she had when she first took on leadership roles with the sorority – ambition, purpose, and progress.  Gretchen, who retired from computer science work at age 70,  continues to model a pioneering, go-get-‘em spirit—embracing new technology and inspiring today’s young women to push past stereotypes and embrace life. 

Dr. Jesse Weigel

Cooking with a passion

Dr. Jesse Weigel

Chief medical officer-turned-sous chef – sounds like a movie trailer, right? No – just the recipe for fulfillment according to Dr. Jesse Weigel, an accomplished physician and emergency medicine pioneer who savors an encore career as a sous chef at the Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle.

Jesse’s passion for cooking really heated up in the early 1990s when the Weigel family began making extended annual trips to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. There, Jesse traded scrubs for chef’s whites as he studied at Chef Anne Wilan’s renowned cooking school La Varenne. Imagine his surprise when Julia Child arrived to teach his class.  Yes, Julia Child, the internationally-acclaimed chef and iconic television personality. For eight years, Jesse continued to learn from the “French Chef,” and he still delights in the cuisines of France and Italy.  International travel and a proud Scottish heritage inspire his kitchen creations.

Every Friday, Dr. Weigel dons the chef’s uniform at the Kitchen Shoppe, where he delights in the challenge of preparing new and unfamiliar meals. He also loves the fast-paced nature of the kitchen – not surprising for a former chief of emergency medicine.

At home on Willow Way at Messiah Village, where Jesse and his late wife Janet moved in 2009, Jesse makes good use of his professionally-appointed kitchen. Sundays are delightfully spent preparing, cooking, and serving special family dinners for his loved ones.

Away from the kitchen, Dr. Weigel serves in leadership roles at Messiah Village, and as a member of the Messiah Lifeways Board of Directors. “Get involved with new activities but continue to make time for the activities you love.” 

Patty Kent

Driven by Purpose

Patty Kent

Few people change the conversation about growing older and bolder like Patty Kent. After a successful career and several years at a sunny Florida retirement community, Patty Kent, 72, started a new chapter at Messiah Village. After her husband’s passing, Patty longed to be near her family. Relying on her sister’s impeccable taste in homes and décor, Patty moved to Messiah Village, seeing her new home for the first time on move-in day. Retiring at age 55, Patty describes her transition from Florida to Messiah Village as an opportunity to experience life in a community not only focused on fun “but purposefully focused on helping people.”

Patty’s zest for life is rooted in volunteering.  Her days are booked with serving coffee and espresso at the Paxton Street Coffee Shop, rocking sleepy babies at the UGRO daycare, or driving the campus shuttle. Patty blazed a trail as the second female shuttle driver. Originally thinking the task was only for men, Patty was determined to try this new activity.  Once she completed her driver's training course, Patty hit the road with unrivaled experience; she’s logged numerous 18+hour road trips to visit loved ones in Florida. Since moving to Messiah Village, Patty’s volunteering has given her the opportunity to fill her days with new activities and meaningful new relationships. Reflecting on how she joyfully juggles it all, Patty jokes, “I may need to go back to work so I can have a day off.”


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