Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

Michael Warren

Maintenance Tech

Describe your family: Loving, open-hearted, caring and fun to be around.

Describe yourself in five words: Hardworking, funny, laidback type of guy.

What do you do for fun: Watch movies and sleep.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Money and the people I work with each day.

What is your favorite food: Pork Chops.

What is something you are proud of: My daughter.

What would you like people to know about you: I enjoy having fun.

Michael Warren is a valued member of the maintenance team. He is always there to help, and gets the job done in a timely and professional manner. In the years he has been with me I’ve come to respect his expertise and knowledge. We all feel lucky to have him on the team. Way to go Mikey!

– Chuck Neeley, Director of Maintenance

Ballroom Dancing at Kirby Pines!

Ballroom dance is a global activity practiced by all age groups. One such group is seniors who find ballroom dancing not only fun, but also great for their physical, mental and social health. If you have never considered ballroom dance as a potential pastime, take the time to review the following benefits of ballroom dance.


While often rigorous, ballroom dance can be easily tailored to those that require a lower impact physical activity. A variety of dances can be practiced and performed at a slower pace and intensity, more attuned to your needs. This allows you to make the most of ballroom dance’s health benefits, including improved muscle and bone strength, while lowering the risk of injury or exhaustion. Moreover, the improved posture, balance and motor skills encouraged by ballroom dancing can help prevent falls and other accidents.


In addition to the cardiovascular and strength benefits of ballroom dance, recent studies have pointed to a link between the practice of dance and the prevention of disease. While reasons remain difficult to identify, researchers speculate that the increased mental activity required in ballroom dance– such as step memorization and accounting for a partner– may help prevent symptoms experienced by sufferers of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and even chronic heart failure. 


While many activities suffer from high drop out rates, ballroom dance counteracts this by being a fun, interactive experience. Social activity is also an important factor in the mental health and attitude, and ballroom dance is, at its core, a social activity. Not only can ballroom dancing be done almost anywhere with almost no equipment, but it is at its best when done with other people. Ballroom dance is of course great for couples looking for something new; it also makes it easy for individuals to make new friends, as most dances require partners. 

Join us each Wednesday at 2:00 pm in the Performing Arts Center with Dance Instructors, Desiree McCain and Richard Bishop.

Resident Spotlight: Cheryl Johnson


Cheryl Johnson became a part of our lives when she married our former and beloved Chaplain Don Johnson in May 2005. Always an extension of Don’s ministries, Cheryl continues today toward the goal she and Don shared, “to finish well.” Cheryl’s caring and positive nature reflect a life of success in having attained both personal and spiritual growth. 

Cheryl’s parents, Terry and Bobbi Stigall, and two older siblings, moved to midtown Memphis when she was a young girl. This allowed Cheryl to attend what she considered “great schools” in the area: Idlewild Elementary, Fairview Junior and Central High. The family became members of Union Avenue Methodist Church. Music and dance lessons were offered; however, Cheryl says that she was “tone deaf” and music lessons stopped. She found her love in athletics, and according to her, “To say I was a tomboy would be an understatement!” She played softball and basketball in the beginning but later added golf, biking, and tennis. 

In her senior year of high school, Cheryl transferred to White Station High and discovered acting. Her involvement in athletics, dancing and acting has continued throughout her adult life as evidenced by her current membership with the Kirby Pines Line Dancers and Ham’ateurs Group.

Cheryl chose to attend Florida International University in Miami and earned a degree in Finance. She was given the opportunity to join Citibank’s Management Training Program. Out of a class of twenty-five, there were only three women! She worked in several departments including Private and Corporate Banking, Training, and Public Relations before being selected for a new program in which bankers were trained and licensed to sell and manage investment portfolios. Cheryl says, “It was an ‘eye-opener’ to work for an international organization with colleagues from all over the world. Since I was from Memphis, everyone wanted to know about Elvis. They thought I surely must have known him.” 

According to Cheryl, “I have been blessed to have been married to two wonderful men. While living in Miami, I met and married Steven Waters, a banker, civic leader, and devout Christian. Steve practiced the teachings in James 2:24 that ‘Faith without works is dead.’ Following his unexpected death in 1991, so many shared how their life had been greatly influenced by him. Most of his work was done privately, and even I didn’t know all his acts of kindness and generosity. 

In 2000, Cheryl retired early and moved back to Memphis to be near her mother after her father passed away. In 2004, her mother, Bobbi Stigall, moved to Kirby Pines. It was at a Vespers service that Cheryl re-connected with Chaplain Don Johnson—and the rest is history! They were married in a private ceremony in the Chapel at Christ Methodist Church, where Cheryl maintains her membership. 

“It was a new world,” admits Cheryl, “being married to a pastor/chaplain who had lived his entire life in Memphis where everyone seemed to know and love him. Don was a man who had devoted his life to serving God. He knew he wanted to preach and teach God’s word since he was eight years old. It was such an honor to serve with Don at Kirby Pines and also with his Bible study group, Afterglow, Life Choices, and the National Religious Broadcasters Organization.” 

As chaplain at Kirby Pines, Don visited and checked on those residents who were ill or in need of prayer. He also conducted the Sunday 10:00 am religious services in the PAC as well as in the health care areas on Sunday afternoon, always assisted by Cheryl. Together, Don and Cheryl were a great team! Sadly, Don passed away on September 24, 2021, following an extended illness. 

Cheryl says that she has been fortunate to be able to travel to many places during her lifetime. “My parents introduced me to the joys of travel, and that has continued throughout my adulthood.” There have been cruises to Hawaii, Alaska, and the Mediterranean, but also notable adventures such as attending the Vancouver World’s Fair and seeing the Royals, riding a donkey down the Grand Canyon, horseback riding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skiing in Park City, Utah, are among unique experiences of a lifetime. However, for Cheryl, the most memorable was the trip to the Holy Land and Egypt in 1987. 

Cheryl at 8 Years Old

Currently, Cheryl continues her ministry with Remember That Someone Cares, which is focused on remembering residents in the health care areas on their birthdays. She also keeps in touch with residents who are ill or in need of prayer and keeps others informed with emails and a published, weekly prayer list. She attends the Thursday morning Bible class and is learning to play Mahjong. “I especially enjoy walking around the beautiful grounds of Kirby,” says Cheryl. 

Cheryl has this to say about her current life: “Kirby Pines is truly a family affair as my sister, Diane Talarico, moved here in 2017. Don and I became residents in 2019, and I’m especially grateful we were here during COVID and Don’s illness. As I have often said, the very best thing about Kirby is the people—where so many are kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and caring, not to mention talented. 

Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your story and for being such an excellent role model for all who desire to “finish well”. 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines

There’s More To It Than Meets the Air: BREATHING

We breathe in, we breathe out, usually without even thinking about it. Most of us probably take it for granted and overlook all the benefits mindful, conscious breathing can bring to our daily lives. 

Did you know??

  • Breathing is the only bodily function you can perform consciously as well as unconsciously.
  • The average person takes about 8.5 million breaths per year.
  • Breathing slowly with longer breaths can reduce food cravings.
  • The world record for breath holding is over 24 minutes!!
  • Emotions are regulated by how you breathe.
  • Everyone can improve how they breathe.

Considering the monumental number of breaths we take, ensuring they are as effective as possible is important to everything we do. Outside of supplying oxygen, effective breathing provides better food digestion, increased immune response, reduced stress and blood pressure, better sleep and mental clarity, pain relief, increased energy, and improved balance, just to name a few! 

To determine if you are a “good” breather or a “poor” breather, try this:

  • Put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath as you count to three. When you do this, which hand do you feel moving the most?
  • If it’s your right hand (the one on your chest), you’re breathing from your chest. If it’s your left hand (the one on your stomach), you are breathing from your abdomen. You want to do the latter— breathe from your abdomen. 

No matter what your activity level, even if you are relaxing in the chair watching your favorite program, take a few minutes 3-4 times a day to be conscious of your breathing and try this exercise:

  1. Sit or stand comfortably with your back straight.
  2. Open the palm of one hand as wide as you can.
  3. Now with the pointer finger of the opposite hand, slowly trace your fingers while breathing.
  4. Breath in and trace up one side of your thumb, 1, 2, 3. Breathe out and trace down the other side of your thumb, 1, 2, 3.
  5. Repeat for all five fingers.

If you would like to learn more about how to utilize this and other effective breathing techniques, feel free to reach out to Eric Walker, Director of Rehabilitation at 901-366-1819. 

Get the Facts About Exercising Myths

“It is what it is.” That’s what my brother always says when a problem arises. It’s his excuse to avoid facing a difficult situation. Too often we just accept our conditions without looking at options that could actually benefit us. Avoiding exercise is an example. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about exercise and aging:

Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway. 

Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. 

Myth 2: Older people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest. 

Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses. 

Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down. 

Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling. 

Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old to start exercising. 

Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities. 

Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down. 

Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health. 

Fact: Check with your medical provider before beginning a new exercise program if you have been inactive. 

At Kirby Pines we have many exercise options with a variety of exercise classes from the sit/stand class to water aerobics to Yoga Stretch. Check our schedule and see what works for you. The Oasis has free weights and 10 different machines to build strength and endurance. 

The Serenity Prayer [God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference] reminds me at times we really don’t have to accept, “It is, what it is.” Just maybe “what it is” isn’t what it could be. 

39 Years of Community at Kirby Pines

This September, Kirby Pines LifeCare Community celebrates its thirty-ninth anniversary. As with any anniversary, a lot of planning goes into making this celebration one that will be enjoyable and memorable. Each year, a theme and a color is selected for the anniversary year. This year the color is Daisy Yellow and the theme is Greetings.

Yellow daisies have a strong association with cheerfulness, friendship, joy, and wishing someone well or “get well”. These feeling are frequently used to describe our community, and as a “LifeCare” community, the wishing of someone’s wellness or to get well is especially meaningful to all that live and work at Kirby Pines. Daisy flowers grow all over the world and have a long list of symbolic meanings. They symbolize new beginnings and rebirth; cheerfulness, hope and fun. Much like the annual celebration we have come to know as Lighting of the Lake.

This year’s theme for Lighting of the Lake is “Greetings”. A noun that means something friendly or a message that says you hope someone is well. Greeting is the act of welcoming; the acknowledgement and/or expression of good will. A perfect pairing with this year’s color of Daisy Yellow as described earlier in this message.

In the military a greeting is signified by a salute – a formal military gesture of respect and honor. Honor is also a source of credit or distinction given to individuals in service, and in this post pandemic era, it is an appropriate theme acknowledging employees and residents alike in celebration of Kirby’s thirty-ninth anniversary. 

So don your daisy yellow attire and gather near the lake on Saturday, September 10th to join in the fun as we celebrate another successful year of growth and service to all who work and live at Kirby Pines. 

Happy Anniversary, Kirby Pines!


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

Now Pay Attention

A person’s actions show you what their words won’t

As a child, a term I heard often from a teacher or my Momma was, “Now pay attention.” That’s a term we need to hear and pay attention to throughout life. 

OK? Now pay attention to these words from the French spiritual writer, Simone Weil. “Those who are happy have no need for anything in the world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one’s attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle.” 

Time and attention go together. But the truth is we can give people our time without giving them our attention. In his gospel, Mark tells a story which instructs us here. 

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 

Jesus was indignant. He reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. (Mark l:40-42) 

No wonder Mark put this in the first part of his gospel! The leper said to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean” Packed into one beautiful sentence is almost everything Jesus was, and what he was about. “Jesus was filled with pity for him, and stretched out His hand and placed it on the leper, saying, ‘Of course I want to – be clean!’” (Mark 1:41, Phillips) That tells it all. 

Jesus listened to the leper. Is there anything that enhances our feelings of worth more than being listened to? When you listen to me, you say to me, “I value you. You are important. I will hear what you have to say.” 

Jesus looked at him. He gave the leper His attention. 

Jesus not only listened and looked; He touched the leper. To be generous with our attention, we cannot remain aloof; we must deliberately reach out, touch, and become involved. 

When I give attention by looking, listening, and touching; the Spirit comes alive in relationship. When I listen and look with mind and heart, revelation comes; the gap between the other person and myself is bridged. A sensitivity comes that is not my own. I feel the pain, frustration, and anguish of the other. Beyond myself and my own resources, I become an instrument of miracle-working love. Healing, comfort, reconciliation, strength, and guidance come to others when we generously give them our attention by looking, listening, and touching. 

Pay attention to people that care.
Who are always there.
Who want better for you.
They’re your people.

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

Cornelius Chambers

Environmental Services

Describe your family: Happy Family.

Describe yourself in five words: Happy.

What do you do for fun: I like to go bowling.

Do you have any hobbies or interests: I enjoy cooking.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Helping take care of residents.

What is your favorite food: Chicken.

What is something you are proud of: God blessing me with health and strength. 

What would you like people to know about you: I want God to keep blessing me each and every day.

Cornelius has dedicated 25 of service years to the residents, staff and guests of Kirby Pines. She can always be counted on to show up get the job done. Cornelius is kind to the residents and her coworkers. Congratulations Cornelius on a job well done. 

– Jada Mullins, Director of Environmental Services

The Kirby Pines Billiards Group

Billiards Team
Jim Stanley, Jim Gordon, Richard Cheek, Roy Thurmond and Peter Jones

Billiards is a favorite pastime for people of all ages. The game is played casually and socially, and can be enjoyed by people who are just learning and those who have played their whole lives.

At Kirby Pines, we have a group of men who play every day from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the Billiard Room. As a matter of fact, the guys will be celebrating their 10,000th game in early September. To celebrate, we will be hosting a Billiards Tournament, details to come. 

Why is Billiards a great pastime?

A lot of people love playing billiards, as it is a great way to improve your own skill, or simply pass the time with friends. However, there’s more to playing billiards than you might think, and we don’t just mean technique.

Playing billiards actually has some health benefits. While you may not have thought about that aspect of the game before, you could be doing your body and mind a favor the next time you pick up a cue.

There is a lot of walking involved in a game of pool. A two-hour session of billiards can include about 100 trips around the table, which adds up to almost three-quarters of a mile. That exercise is great, and often goes unnoticed by the person gaining the benefits!

Concentration is required to play the game, from determining shot angles to focusing on the ball. This type of mental stimulation is beneficial for people who have memory problems.

Participation contributes to flexibility. The bending and stretching required during play requires a moderate amount of flexibility. More difficult shots may require the player to balance, and continued play can promote stability and help prevent falls.

The benefits of the social aspect of billiards cannot be minimized. Numerous studies point to the positive effects relationships and social interaction provide for seniors.

Billiards is a game many have played for years – often since childhood. Therefore, it taps into positive memories and creates moments of joy during every game. So chalk up your cue and come join in the fun!

Resident Spotlight: Berry & Betty Terry


Betty and Berry Terry will celebrate seventy years of marriage on August 2, 2022. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age for a marriage in America is twenty years. One expert has identified the components for longevity as love + maturity + mutual respect. This is the story of Betty and Berry’s life together. 

Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Wilson was born in Keiser, Arkansas. Betty and her younger sister had a wonderful childhood. Betty took piano lessons, was active in the Rainbow Girls, Girl Scouts and church. Her mother was a teacher and was very pro-educational. She sent Betty to live with her grandmother in Conway, Arkansas to attend a private school for kindergarten and first grade. When Betty was in fourth grade, the family moved to Conway. Betty’s mother became the teacher of sixth grade and a young man by the name of Berry Terry was a student in her class. 

Berry Edsell Terry was born in Mt. Vernon, Arkansas, and the last child in a family of ten children. His parents were farmers and in their forties when he was born. Berry always worked to help support himself; however, sports and church activities occupied much of his young life. 

Although attending the same high school, a relationship with Betty did not happen until Berry was in the eleventh year of school. He first noticed Betty as she walked down the hallway at school. Berry says that he was attracted to her because of her beautiful auburn hair. Their first date was at the First Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas. On their second date, Betty asked Berry for his sports jacket. According to Berry, “I was very proud of that jacket. However, I knew it meant we were going steady and I did not want anyone else to have her.” When asked what Betty liked about Berry, she said, “Berry was smart, had good morals, and a strong work ethic. I knew he was the type of person I wanted to marry.” 

When Betty’s mother knew things were getting serious, she discouraged their dating. She had plans for Betty’s life! However, Betty and Berry also had a plan. Betty enrolled in summer classes to finish high school early. Following his graduation, Berry attended college for one year, then enlisted in the Air Force so that he could support them. After his first paycheck, Betty joined him in Biloxi, Mississippi where he was stationed. Without her parent’s knowledge, Betty planned the elopement and did not tell her family of her marriage for three days! Berry’s family was aware of the plan and insisted that they be married by a minister. Looking through the phone book, they found one who performed the ceremony in his study. 

Finding suitable and affordable housing was a problem and the couple moved frequently in a short period of time. Betty worked briefly as a salesperson but was soon employed as a secretary in the famous Edgewater Hotel in Biloxi. “It was a wonderful job which afforded me with many opportunities”, says Betty. Their first child, Laura, was born the following year. Scott, a son, would join the family three years later. 

Berry remained in the Air Force for twenty years, retiring in 1972 as a Master Sergeant. He served two overseas tours, Japan and England. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal on three occasions. Betty and their children joined Berry for the three years spent in England. 

Laura, Berry, Betty & Scott Terry

Berry was transferred to Memphis, Tennessee where he served five years at the University of Memphis in the Air Force ROTC Department. Following his retirement, he served an additional five years with the Junior ROTC Detachment at a high school in Decatur, Alabama. 

Berry was ordained as a Baptist Minister in 1999. He was privileged to perform the marriage ceremony for all five of his grandchildren! He has served in ministerial and administrative positions in churches in Alabama as well as five years as Church Administrator at First Assembly of God Church in Memphis. Both Betty and Berry have been involved in many mission fields including Belize and Kentucky. “We are involved 100% in these ministries. Fundraising, as well as continual support, is our mission,” states Betty. 

Betty and Berry have enjoyed extensive travel by train and cruises. The trip through the Panama Canal and a twenty-day visit to Israel and Jordan are among their most memorable. 

The Terrys moved to Kirby Pines in August 2014. Berry has served as Director and Secretary/Treasurer of the Psalms Board since 1994. He serves in the same position for The Farms at Bailey Station. Berry is also currently in charge of the Sunday morning worship service at Kirby Pines. 

Betty discovered her love for cooking at an early age. In 2011, she won first place in the Fund Craft Recipe Contest and her recipe is published in their cookbook. The recipe for key lime coconut cake is now being served by the Chef at Kirby Pines! Besides cooking, Betty also enjoys reading and the Book Baggers Club at Kirby. 

The things Betty and Berry enjoy most about Kirby Pines are the friendly people, the outstanding staff of employees, and the beautiful campus. What an asset to Kirby Pines is this couple. As they celebrate their seventy years together, let us join their family, which now includes fifteen great-grandchildren, in wishing them many more healthy and happy years together.

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines