Vinecroft Celebrates Centenarians

Vinecroft recently spoke with a very special set of residents who have all celebrated their 100th birthday, with some even nearing birthday number 103!

Lisa Haglund, Heritage President and CEO of Heritage Ministries, shared how important living a vibrant life is for seniors who call Vinecroft home. Even amidst the unprecedented events and regulations of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents and staff have found creative and unique ways to remain engaged and a part of their community. She shared, “We are blessed to be able to help our residents maintain their independent lifestyle. The seniors that we serve deserve the very best from us during this difficult time, and our Heritage teams, from chaplaincy to activities and everyone in between, are committed to using love, imagination, innovation, and faith to find ways to encourage and provide hope in the midst of this pandemic.”
When asked how they felt about reaching such a significant milestone, each of them had thoughts in this month of Thanksgiving about how they have lived such long and healthy lives that allow them to remain independent, and what they are especially thankful for this year.

Emily Pratt, who turned 102 in July, attributes her longevity to her faith. “I am thankful that I have been a Christian all my life. I am thankful for our staff. There are great/good “kids” that work here at Vinecroft. They are very nice people.”

Ethel Schleifer, age 101, agreed with Emily, that while what originally drew her to Vinecroft was the fantastic chef-prepared meals, her faith is a major part of her daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is something she remains thankful for, sharing, “Every day, I am thankful for something. Today, I am thankful for Vinecroft. Thankful for what it is, and what it means. I am always glad that it has a strong religious connection. I have friends in all denominations. We have the same God. We have to help him to help us.”

Betty Gillooly, the self-proclaimed “youngster” of the centenarian trio at Vinecroft, will turn 101 on November 10, 2020. Betty agreed with Emily Pratt, and reflected that, “I have been blessed with a loving family, good health, and have a good life. Who could ever ask for more? I moved here because my family wanted me to live closer to them in Clarence. I came here for a tour and loved it, and decided right then that I wanted to live here.”

Heritage Ministries, the parent company of Vinecroft, was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations in the states of Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, memory care, and assisted living. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit