Richard “Rich” Brown, who once worked for “the old telephone company” which was known as NYNEX-Bell Atlantic, was born in Worcester but has lived Rhode Island for much of his 72 years, except for taking up brief residences in Maine and Florida.
But when it comes to home-sweet-home, there’s nothing that matches his new residence at The Preserve, a 66-unit supportive independent and assisted living facility that President Akshay Talwar has added to his expanding Briarcliffe Campus that’s located in the woods off Old Pocasset Road in Johnson.
“This place is beautiful!” exclaimed Brown, who has the distinction of being the first resident to move into the hotel-like facility. “I love it; if there ever was a place that is nicer than the architect’s drawing, it’s right here – my new home -- The Preserve!”
On a recent Saturday morning, Talwar and Sales Director Jen Burns, as well as a group of smiling staffers welcomed Brown in impressive style; first with a specially framed greeting that Brown will keep in his new apartment and a heartfelt homecoming to his new home that visitors and prospective tenants are saying “that there’s no other place like this in Rhode Island.”
“I’m really excited to live here,” Brown told Talwar and his staff. “I love my apartment, especially the walk-in shower. This place is absolutely beautiful.”
And Brown, who was accompanied by his sister Heather Perry and her husband Ray, who live in Foster, is well-versed in facilities like The Preserve because he has lived in assisted living facilities since he turned the tender age of 68.
“I was seeking a place for the long haul,” Brown mused while watching men from Cranston-based Gentry Moving & Storage Company carefully wheel his furniture and belongings into The Preserve and his new apartment. “This place is just like a fancy hotel.”
There’s an in-house lounge, library, a main and private dining room, as well as a room where families and friends can host private parties.
From the moment people enter main lobby they offer words like “oh my God” especially when their eyes are attracted to the unique water picture that features four different lights and speeds that are always changing as well as the huge fieldstone fireplace that also has drawn rave reviews from people who are considering taking up residence at The Preserve.
Brown, who worked for a number of years as a mechanic for NYNEX and enjoys flying remote-control model planes as a hobby, was literally the first person to actually inquire about living at The Preserve.
“Richard was actually doing some rehabilitation here at Briarcliffe when construction first began,” said Stefany Reed, Briarcliffe’s marketing/public relations director. “He talked to us way back when about actually moving here.”
So Brown, who loves rock ‘n roll, country music and is an Elvis Presley fan, says The Preserve is the perfect place for him; especially since there’s an abundance of space where he can welcome family and friends, especially his five children and seven grandchildren.
The honor of the being first female resident goes to Madeleine Brantley, 93, who was accompanied by her daughter Pamela Miller and her husband David Miller. The family also heaped words of praise upon The Preserve and its many staffers, who have a special knack for taking the chaos and confusion out of moving.
They specialize in making people comfortable and feel right at home in the surrounding woods of Johnston.