The executive director at Friendship Village of Columbus on Forest Hills Boulevard said his daughters like visiting their father at work.

The executive director at Friendship Village of Columbus on Forest Hills Boulevard said his daughters like visiting their father at work.

"They see the residents as several groups of grandparents," Greg Lonsway said last week of Amy, 14, and Meagan, 10.

He is now in his second month at the not-for-profit community, which was established in 1978 and is managed by Life Care Services LLC. Lonsway came to Friendship Village following a four-year stint in consulting that was preceded by 25 years of experience with nonprofit continuing care facilities such as the one he now leads.

Lonsway indicated he sees his work as more of a calling than a career.

"I view this work with seniors as a ministry and I have always found it to be rewarding to have a positive impact on their well-being, the quality of life and how I can make a meaningful difference in their lives on a day to day basis," he said.

Lonsway added that his wife of 25 years, Kay, a registered nurse, helped influence him in his choice of professions.

But the real turning point for a young Greg Lonsway, he said, took place at the St. Francis Home in Tiffin, where he got to know the administrators and the caregivers who looked after his grandfather. This experience, he said, made him aware of the "challenges and the opportunities" available in the field of continuing care.

Lonsway, who was born in the small town of Carey in Wyandot County, said he was drawn to seeking his current post for a variety of reasons.

"Really, what hooked me with Friendship Village is that I really have been energized by their mission statement," he said.

That mission statement is: "To promote independence, wellness and community for older adults in an active and friendly continuing-care environment."

The facility's statement of values also resonated with him, he indicated.

Those values, according to the Friendship Village website, are: caring for each other; personal choice and common effort; mutual respect and diversity; shared ideas; honesty and personal responsibility; fiscal responsibility and strategic planning.

"It was a good alignment with my values and my personal journey of service," Lonsway said. "There are a lot of good things happening here at Friendship Village that make a difference on a day-to-day basis.

"We tell seniors, 'It's your community, it's your lifestyle.'"

To that end, he said, Friendship Village has 53 committees dealing with virtually all aspects of operation, and the residents are represented on all of them.

"We have really excellent satisfaction surveys that are conducted and looked at on annual basis from the residents and the staff members," Lonsway said.

In addition, inspections by the Ohio Department of Health have consistently given Friendship Village of Columbus four stars on a five-star rating scale, he added.

"We have community support," Lonsway said. "We have a lot of philanthropic efforts that have helped as a nonprofit planning for the future."

Some people in new jobs arrive with a long list of changes they wish to make, but Lonsway said he has taken the approach of building on existing success and keeping both the staff and residents involved in day-to-day decisions.

"A lot of it has to do with what the residents and families want to see happen," he said.