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"There are three things that everyone is looking for throughout their life: a sense of autonomy, a sense of mastery, and a sense of purpose,” says Steve Lindsey, chief executive officer at New Holland’s retirement community, Garden Spot Village.
He wears the easy smile of a man who has gone the distance (he’s run eleven marathons) and who has let life make him grateful —his green eyes clear and astutely curious.
Lindsey was born in New York state and moved frequently as a child—living in Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia all before the eighth grade when his family finally settled in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. “My mother always approached everything, any change, as an opportunity for a new adventure and so from that experience, I got to see change as something that could be very beneficial. That spirit of adventure goes into innovation and the unknown—taking risks in some regards,” he explains.
Pennsylvania felt like home. “We used to meet my grandparents in Lancaster County when I was a kid, so I have always had a special place in my heart for Lancaster,” he says. As a pastor’s kid and a self-professed band geek, he recounts being given phenomenal opportunities at his small school, being involved in any of the activities he wanted. From saxophone to drum major, Lindsey continued to pursue excellence well into his college days at Messiah where he graduated with a degree in behavioral science. He thought he would become a marriage and family therapist. After graduation, though, he went to work at a residential treatment center for adolescents who had been court ordered into placement. “I absolutely fell in love with the kids who were there, who came from really difficult backgrounds, who had not had an easy start in life,” he says with compassion.
After completing a Masters degree in social work, Lindsey became a case manager, doing group, family, and individual therapy with many different kids on his caseload. “I realized, at the time, I probably wasn’t as good at this as I thought I should be,” he says with humility and a chuckle. With those eight years, he went to work at a rehab hospital in Mechanicsburg—where physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy were provided. “I got to learn so much,” he says, “and it was a great environment to learn new skills.” After years of promotions and earning a nursing home administrator’s license, his world expanded to senior living, and after a few years at a retirement community near Harrisburg, Lindsey got the call that a job had opened at Garden Spot Village.
Fourteen years at Garden Spot Village and decades of service to people of all ages and backgrounds has certainly given him some insight into the human condition. His spirit of curiosity and adventure has helped him think in unique ways when it comes to innovative ideas at Garden Spot Village. A lifelong learner, Lindsey says the common threads he’s found throughout all his years of experience centers around meaningful relationships and community.
There’s something different about Garden Spot Village. You can feel it. “Hi, Steve,” one resident says as he walks by. Another dozen residents call him by name and he has genuine conversations with them as he walks from his downstairs office to the remodeled village square atrium. The fish tank is teeming with colorful life. The life-size maple tree ironwork sculpture, the epicenter of metaphor and meaning, symbolizes the human experience and our capacity to grow. Within this “garden spot,” the residents enjoy the Harvest Table Restaurant. And on the wall hangs a Freiman Stoltzfus painting that expresses this community so well. The great golds and vibrant purples proclaim the richness of a treasure that cannot be destroyed—a gift intrinsically designed to bring forth praise.
Here, Garden Spot Village’s faith is alive with works, and evidenced in their mission to enrich the lives of older adults as an expression of Christ’s love. “In my life, and here in our culture at Garden Spot, we’ve received all these blessings, not always material blessings, but life experience and wisdom, and worthwhile relationships. They’re worth more than money,” he says.
“The next question is, ‘How does that translate to service to others?’ God doesn’t just bless us for us, but to be a conduit to extend that to others,” he says with a smile. Lindsey and the entire leadership team emphasize stewardship, transparency, and integrity. This year alone, residents have volunteered more than 55,000 hours. “That’s what it means to grow old. It’s not just about having wisdom, but harvesting that for the purpose of investing in the next generations. I see that at Garden Spot Village,” he says.