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Highgate Senior Living surprises resident with classic car parade for 90th birthday

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Birthday Boy: Roys and his family. PHOTO COURTESY OF HIGHGATE BOZEMAN

By Amanda Cass HIGHGATE SENIOR LIVING

BOZEMAN – On Sunday, May 3, Highgate Senior Living hosted a classic car parade in celebration of a resident’s 90th birthday. 

Rod “Lightning” Roys, a resident at Highgate Senior Living in Bozeman and avid car enthusiast, kicked off his milestone birthday in style. In partnership with Rod’s family and various community partners, Rod was surprised with a parade of over 20 classic cars lined up in the Highgate community parking lot. Rod’s family, friends and Highgate residents came out to enjoy the show and wish Rod a Happy Birthday.

“[There was] only one bad thing about it; I couldn’t get my own car in [the parade],” said Roys. “Those old timers are still running. It was nice. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do next year.”

Daughter Deb Gertiser was thrilled with the turnout. “He (and we, his family) have been extremely pleased with his care at Highgate.  The biggest transition for Dad has been letting go of being able to drive; cruising Bozeman in his ‘65 Ford T-Bird was his favorite pastime. Dad drove in stock car races for many decades, along with spending the past 20 years finding and restoring various old vintage cars. As one guy said, he’s a “gear head” turning 90! [Highgate] went above and beyond organizing the custom car show birthday celebration in honor of Dad’s 90th birthday this past weekend.”

“It was great to see the community come together to celebrate a milestone birthday for our resident. Rod is part of our Highgate family and we are happy we could help facilitate a meaningful and memorable moment for him,” said Stephen Beaudoin, Executive Director of Highgate Bozeman.

Together with the Highgate Life Enhancement team and Care Partners, community partners that made this possible include Cancer Support Community, Dennis Franks, Bridger Mountain Ford Club, Western Plumbing, Blake Jennings, and Owen Rhodes.

During the global health crisis, Highgate Bozeman has been innovative with providing purposeful living to their residents while exercising appropriate precautions to keep residents safe. Highgate has set up a video call schedule for residents to keep in contact with their loved ones. Other activities – all of which maintain appropriate physical distancing – include outdoor concerts, a Cinco de Mayo party, daily exercise programs, mobile door-to-door ice cream sundaes, and a variety of arts and crafts.

Highgate is a privately-owned company with nine assisted living and memory care communities in four western states. It is known for its holistic approach and delivery of full care for all, even for those with complex medical issues or severe cognitive impairment.

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