Nursing home honors founder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2003

During a recent Black History program in Nub-Jones Assisted Living Facility, a ceremony took place honoring the founder.

Dr. Melvin Boone was responsible for building the Metropolitan Home for the Aged on East Washington Street a little over 20 years ago. He got the idea about doing this when he discovered an elderly man living in an abandoned car across the street from Metropolitan Baptist Church where he was serving as pastor.

&uot;It was cold, snow was on the ground, and when I found him, his legs were frozen. I took him in until I could find a place for him,&uot; said Boone. &uot;When he got well enough to come to church, I baptized him. That one incident started me thinking about a place where older people could go when there was no one else to care for them.&uot;

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A large picture of Boone hung in the facility for many years recognizing him as founder.

According to Boone, the home ran smoothly and he sacrificed and took what money

he had to try to keep it running. In its sixth year of operation he applied for a grant but it didn’t come through. That is when it was sold, the name was changed to Glendale Retirement Center, and Boone’s picture was removed.

That center was in operation until it closed about two years ago and residents relocated to other facilities.

On Sept. 16, 2002, the building was reopened under a new name. The facility is named after co-owners Marilyn C. Newby and Mable Jones. The mission is to promote a safe, healthy educational and spiritual environment for the disabled and elderly in a home-like setting. Both males and females, 18 years and older are accepted. The 24-hour staff is skilled in caring for those with mild to medium mental and physical health challenges but presently cannot accommodate residents with Alzheimer’s disease. It will accept Medicaid as well as private paying residents.

The building can house 124 people and 45 residents are living there now. There are 23 people on staff that consist of Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) personnel; housekeeping, cooks, and laundry workers and an in-house activity director. Miriam D. Edwards serves as administrator.

Last Friday, another picture of Boone in its former place.

Edwards said that because Boone was a part of the history there, they were very honored to ask him to be the guest speaker.

&uot;The program played two very important parts, to give residents a chance to honor Black History Month and to place the picture of Dr. Boone back in its original spot,&uot; she said.

Boone spoke to the residents about the man who motivated him to start the project, and told them about how people always have asked him how he managed to do so much.

Doing so much for everybody else has included heading the East Suffolk Complex project where he was also appointed as president. Boone also restored one of the oldest institutions in the state, the Virginia Seminary & College (now Virginia University of Lynchburg). Boone served as the 14th president of that institution, and leads the Melvin R. Boone Foundation.

&uot;I’ve been blessed. God has allowed me to see history repeating itself. When he does so much for me I want to do something for everybody else. I haven’t lost a thing because it always comes back to me 10-fold,&uot; he said.