Danielle Durant could probably get elected president of McFadden Place tomorrow if she wanted.
The new resident-services coordinator for the 30-apartment senior-living complex nestled amid Pembroke’s pine trees, has done something residences say no one has done for them before.
She got them out of the house.
It happened Friday, when about a dozen residents gathered under a gazebo with family in friends at an Easter social. The social included ham, green beans and macaroni and cheese, iced tea, music and talk — even spoken-word poetry.
It was a hit.
“We want her to stay, we want her as future manager of McFadden Place,” said resident Charlotte Barnwell, who said that in her five years of living in the apartments, this is the first time residents have had an outdoor activity.
Durant said she’s just doing her job.
“I just wanted to get them outside and do something for them,” she said. “It’s just something to get them outside, get them moving around. There’s nice food, there’s music, nothing special.”
Catherine Bailey would disagree. She’s lived in McFadden Place for six months. The Easter social was a first.
“It’s very nice,” she said.
The social is the first in what Durant intends to be a number of events geared toward giving McFadden Place residents something to do.
She enlisted her parents, Dave and Deloris Williams, to help set up the social. An uncle, John Williams, provided the music, playing on a keyboard while leading folks in a number of up-tempo gospel songs. Williams is from Pembroke but lives in Savannah now because his wife works there, but he would like to move back to the small town in which he was born and raised.
In the meantime, Williams was there to have fun.
“I’m here to play a little music and play a few songs, and I’m here to enjoy myself because I love Pembroke,” he said.
Also pitching in to provide a message was another Pembroke native, Regina Polite. She serves in the Air National Guard and attends Strayer University, where she is pursuing a degree in health administration.
Polite recited a poem she called “I Am a Soldier in God’s Army” for those at the social.
“It’s something I had in my heart,” she said afterward, adding that she hopes to work with seniors one day.
Polite and Williams drew applause and hugs from McFadden residents, who spent more than an hour under the gazebo on a breezy afternoon.
But it was Durant who carried the day.
“I want people to see that McFadden doesn’t have to be a boring place to live. It can be fun,” Durant said. “I don’t want them to think this is a nursing home or a senior home. This is actually an apartment for seniors that can do a lot for themselves.”
She paused briefly.
“I just want them to know there are things to do around here,” Durant said. “And even though the community is small, it doesn’t take much to just bring people together.”