HOMETOWN LIFE — FARMINGTON HILLS — The Christmas season brings a tremendous amount of joy for Farmington Hills resident Jeannine Gundle. In addition to spending time with her five daughters and their families, it’s the time of year when Gundle makes an annual trip to join several other women who volunteer to put up the holiday decorations at Rose Hill Center in Northern Oakland County.
This year, her visit will be even more meaningful thanks in part to her late husband, Don.
The center is a residential treatment and rehabilitation facility for adults with serious mental illness that sits on more than 400 acres in Holly. A few months ago, The Gundle Center, an education and therapy facility that includes a full-sized gym, computer lab, classroom and a fitness room for residents at Rose Hill, was formally dedicated in memory of Don Gundle.
Jeannine Gundle’s late husband, Don, had a lasting friendship with Rose Hill Co-Founder Dan Kelly and proudly served as founding board member and advocate for the organization, devoting much of his time and financial resources until passing away nearly a decade ago.
“When I initially told Don my ideas for Rose Hill Center, we didn’t realize it would grow into something so big, but he was supportive from the moment I asked him to be involved,” said Kelly. “He never said no, having a genuine concern for the well-being of others and for community.”
From helping neighbors with stalled cars to mentoring employees into their promotions, Don Gundle was a man who cared about other people’s needs, according to Jeannine Gundle.
“He was involved with several nonprofit groups, but was most proud of his work to help those who were suffering with mental illness,” she said. “Since the very beginning, Rose Hill Center was an important cause for Don and our family.”
Rose Hill’s comprehensive and effective program is based on the belief that recovery can take place when people receive professional psychiatric care and participate in meaningful daily activity in a consistent, compassionate and dignified environment. From daily therapeutic skills teams to the recreational leisure activities, each patient has the opportunity to achieve an improved level of mental and physical health while pursuing full and productive lives.
“He was very proud that he had the opportunity to play his part with the formation of such a wonderful organization,” said Jeannine. “I’m sure Don would have been honored to have received this dedication.”
The ceremony was part of the successful conclusion of the organization’s $3 million capital campaign that will address several critically important campus enhancements to improve the patient experience, reduce lengths of stay and encourage patient participation in individualized treatment programs.
The improvements include: a new 5,000 square foot visitors center that serves as the gateway to Rose Hill while also providing administrative office space; two new and more energy efficient greenhouses with an adjoining work room that offers spacious accommodations for the horticulture team to grow flowers and plants; and a new fitness trail that encircles the campus perimeter, available for year-round use.
There are several projects remaining that will begin during the final phase of construction and are slated for spring 2015. In the meantime, Rose Hill’s work to return very ill people to their families and society as more productive, self-motivated and independent people will continue to bring a sense of pride for Jeannine and her family.
“(Don) loved Rose Hill Center,” said Jeannine. “Even now since his passing, our family still meets people whom Don helped. Rose Hill was very important to him because there was such a need for a facility like this in the area.”