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Joyce Wong’s father helped start Bethany Homes

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Joyce Wong’s father helped start Bethany Homes


POSTED February 8, 2013 12:30 a.m.

Joyce Wong is currently one of the residents living in the Bethany Home Manor Apartments.  She is one of our youngest residents who is always on-the-go. 

“I believe God wanted me here,” claims Joyce, “It was easy leaving that big house after being widowed.”

When we talk about the 50-year history of Bethany Home, Joyce is one of those special people who has connections going back to the beginning.  It all dates back to the year 1963, when Joyce’s father, John Vrieling, Sr. served as a member of the Board of Directors when the Home first opened its doors.  Joyce was just a young lady at that time, but remembers her Dad working side-by-side with many other members of the church and community who wanted to establish a facility in Ripon. 

“It was important to have a place that would care for the elderly from a Christian perspective,” according to Joyce.  “I remember my grandfather having to be placed in a Rest Home in Stockton.  None of us liked it, because there was no religious aspect to the care, plus it was too far to travel.”

Joyce’s mother, Neva, was a staff member at Bethany Home in the early years, serving as a nurse in the Skilled Nursing Facility.  “Mom relieved the head nurse at night,” recalls Joyce. “Mom volunteered her services, worked for free, until the government stepped in and insisted she earn a paycheck so the payroll taxes could be collected.”

In the early ‘70s, Joyce worked a brief stint in Bethany Home as a nursing aid.  Several years later, in 1991, she served on the Board of Directors.  Joyce commented, “We are proud to say that women have always been an important part of the governing Board at Bethany Home; after all, women have a more nurturing spirit.”

It was in 1999 that her baby brother, John Vrieling, Jr. also served on the Board of Directors.  “Because of term limits, none of us served on the Board at the same time,” said Joyce.  Even Joyce’s son, Bob Van Nieuwenhuyzen, served a three-year term on the Board, beginning in 2005.

Joyce Wong … the epitome of connecting Bethany Home’s past to its present! 

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