PHOTO GALLERY — Community Retirement Home celebrates Valentine’s Day celebration, open to support

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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RaeNell Jones was not expecting to be named Valentine’s Queen at Community Retirement Home Tuesday.

“I’m speechless. It’s such a surprise,” Jones said after she and newly crowned king Travis Ferris had their photos taken beneath a display of red, pink and white balloons. “It was such a nice surprise. I’m amazed and thrilled they named me queen.”

Jones, of Nederland, was presented with a bouquet of red roses and some chocolates.

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Ferris said he was pleased at being named king.

The 96-year-old Navy World War II veteran was part of an amphibious team and served in Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Community Retirement Home holds an annual Valentine’s Tea for its residents. At one time the event was a large fundraiser to support the nonprofit living facility for retirees.

Since the pandemic, the event ceased to be a large get-together and is now usually attended by residents, family and friends, as well as board members and staff.

The tea was also a time to remember those who passed away with a balloon release. Jim McGrath, whose mother Bernadine McGrath died three weeks ago, was in attendance Tuesday. He pushed the wheelchair holding his mother’s best friend, Mary Nelson.

Director Kim Guidry said Bernadine McGrath and Mary Nelson arrived at the facility in 2021 within a few months of each other.

Bernadine, Guidry said, was a loving person who was like everyone’s mom or grandmother and was called a ray of sunshine.

The facility is home to 14 residents but can hold approximately 32.

Guidry stopped periodically and spoke with the residents as they celebrated the day, moving from one area to another with a big smile.

“There’s a lot of other things that we can do in this world because this is not the easiest job, but it makes it worth it everyday. It’s amazing,” Guidry said of the interaction with residents. “It’s what we do this for. We love these people. You grow with them on their journey. You become a family… and it hurts when we lose one. We’re happy to see them happy. We fight for them for anything they need. There are a million things we can do with our lives, but we’re doing this.”

John Toney, board president, echoed Guidry’s words on how rewarding the job can be.

There are needs

Community Retirement Home was established in 1944 and is one of two nonprofit retirement homes in Texas, according to information from Guidry.

It is supported by fees from residents as well as donations, grants and fundraisers.

The nonprofit facility is private pay and has ambulatory and wheelchair residents.

Community Retirement Home has a volunteer board, but there are operating costs and needs.

Toney said the facility is in need of donations.

Community Retirement Home is located at 3141 Procter St. and can be reached by calling 409-985-2270 or at