PONTIAC -- Donovan Gardner had a long association with Evenglow. He served as Administrator for almost 15 years beginning in 1965. He later returned to Evenglow service as a member of the Board of Trustees, and in 2002 for two years as Interim President and CEO.
One of the accomplishments during his tenure was the creation of the Evenglow Inn for memory care. He later made a gift to establish the Music and Memory program there after having witnessed a non-responsive woman at another nursing home stand up from her wheelchair and dance when she heard music playing.
He was also the one who encouraged the Evenglow Guild to start holding an annual sale, to raise funds and to attract area women to become acquainted with Evenglow. That sale continues to happen as a silent auction. Some funds from that sale are being used to pay for reupholstering the chairs as a part of this room renovation. (Point to some of the finished chairs.)
Beyond Evenglow, Donovan furthered his career as a United Methodist Senior Living Consultant across the United States and internationally. He was active in Pontiac First UMC, the Vermilion River District, and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
An existing plaque honoring his service to Evenglow reads, "Donovan Gardner, Administrator 1965-1980. In recognition of his devoted service as the administrator of Evenglow Lodge, we dedicate this plaque to our friend. He has enriched and assisted in the welfare of many people at Evenglow and those in the Central Illinois Conference area. -- The Board of Trustees."
A new plaque is now added, reading, "Donovan Gardner Room. Renovation of this room was Donovan's vision. The project was generously funded by Donovan's family and friends in tribute to him. July 2, 2018."
Renovations totally transform the room, including a dropped ceiling with sound-absorbing tiles, enhanced lighting, modern colors of grey on the newly painted walls, a new countertop, and reupholstered chairs.
Guests of honor at the ceremony were Donovan Gardner’s family members, who thoughtfully suggested tribute gifts be made to Evenglow in honor of Donovan, and have generously provided funds of their own to renovate this room.