About Vernon Homes
Since 1920, Vernon Homes has been guided by our mission to serve and honor seniors by providing secure, comfortable and affordable retirement living. Our campus is home to a full spectrum of care and services that span independent living, assisted living, nursing care, Alzheimer’s care and physical rehabilitation services – all delivered with compassion and grace. Vernon Homes, is a member of Advent Christian Retirement Communities, which includes Meetinghouse Village, an independent senior living complex in Kittery, Maine.
- An affordable, non-denominational community offering fees that are remarkably lower than senior communities in neighboring New England states
- Modestly sized, ensuring personal attention and a real sense of belonging
- Medicare- and Medicaid-certified
- Located in beautiful southern Vermont in a secure, peaceful natural setting on the banks of the Connecticut River
- Near two towns that provide a multitude of services (including recreational, dining and lodging possibilities) for residents and their family and friends
Residents need have no particular creedal stance or background to live here. Vernon Homes is a non-profit, 501(3c) organization that maintains and furthers its mission through rental income, government programs and private donations.
We will foster communities whose relationships and services are:
- Exceptional (Exceeding customary practices)
- Creative (Transforming commonplace thinking)
- Generous (Surpassing measured exchanges)
Communities of caring. Seasoned with grace. Our tagline underscores our commitment to serving seniors and how we serve them.
If you would like to explore a range of Vernon Homes giving options, click here.
Meet Our Leadership
M. Bradford Ellis, Executive Director
I first became involved at Vernon Homes in 1996 when I completed an administrator-in-training program under Larry Knowles’ leadership. I accepted an assistant administrator position in 1998, and then, with the leadership transitions that coincided with the establishment of Advent Christian Retirement Communities, I took on the executive director role in 2002.
For me, serving elders is a passion. I enjoy being surrounded by seniors every day. There is so much wisdom, experience, and wit among these seasoned individuals that you can’t help but be blessed by being in their presence.
I also greatly appreciate working alongside people who daily fulfill the Vernon Homes mission. I’m privileged to have working with me individuals who go the extra mile. Because of their commitment I know that those we serve are well cared for.
I hope you will read the rest of the manager bios on this page so that you can appreciate what our leadership team brings to Vernon Homes. Of course, they only scratch the surface showing what each of these individuals contributes. You should know too that many other staff members fulfill their roles every day with excellence, and that they have their own stories to tell. It’s important to recognize the people who contribute to our success at providing quality care to residents.
I’ll close with an anecdote. No one is really sure why, but without fail, one nursing home resident consistently calls me “Richard.” I am happy to respond to this name, because whether I’m Brad, Richard, Tom, Dick or Harry, my purpose in being here does not change as I seek to bring the best direction and leadership to Vernon Homes.
Wanda Scully, RNC, Director Of Nursing
Wanda has been Vernon Green’s Director of Nursing since 2007. Her leadership path started when she joined the nursing staff in 2001 as an LPN. Wanda also worked toward her Registered Nurse degree during this time. She was promoted and worked as a Charge Nurse for a few years before attaining the Assistant Director of Nursing position. With her experience and education, she was a natural when a retirement created a vacancy for the director position.
Responsible for planning and directing our nursing operation, she says, “I promote the mission and values of Vernon Green and its nursing department. The many hats I wear can include writing policies and procedures, staff scheduling, educating, attending/holding meetings, budgeting and supervising. All with the goal of assuring the best resident care.”
Wanda recognizes that changes brought on by long-term care or even short-term rehab are difficult. She says, “My job is challenging and requires critical thinking as different situations arise. If you take time to listen to elders’ wisdom, it can make a huge difference in their day. Nothing puts a smile on my face more than being able to make them smile or making them feel part of our family.”
Holly Nicholas, Food Service Director
Last year, we promoted Holly Nicholas to Food Service Director. Holly oversees all aspects of the Dietary Department and is charged with responsibilities that span providing superb service to our residents, planning menus, recruiting and training team members, and more. Holly began as a housekeeper in 2005 and was promoted to Director of Housekeeping and Laundry in 2010 before becoming Food Service Director. Her thoughtful and diligent approach to her work keeps residents and staff alike happy and well-fed.
Debbie VanNess, RNC, Service Coordinator
Debbie VanNess is Vernon Hall’s Service Coordinator. She moved to Vernon Hall in 2007 after serving, since 1985, as a charge nurse at Vernon Green where she was responsible for patient care, assessments, care plans, doctor calls, family meetings and resident education.
In her Service Coordinator position, Debbie oversees resident assessments, health plans, education and staff training. The personal relationship part of her work is what she finds most fulfilling. Debbie says, “Interacting with residents is the favorite part of my job. Seeing them smile and laugh makes me happy.”
In her view, “Elders are often forgotten. I want them to be remembered. Encouraging them to share their experiences and stories is one way to do that.”
And bringing out a little Yogi Berra-style wit does not hurt. Debbie relates, “One day I routinely asked a resident if he was alright. With a twinkle in his eye, he told me he was half left. It’s the little, fun interactions like this that I find so valuable and enriching.”
Carrie Desmaris, Director Of Social Services
Carrie Desmarais joined Vernon Green in 1996 as a Licensed Nurse Assistant (LNA) and in time was promoted to LNA Manager. Her next role as Transportation Manager entailed driving residents to and from appointments and, as she reveals in hushed tones, “sneaking off to the local Dunkin’ Donuts or Burger King for a treat.”
Next, Carrie was promoted to Assistant to the Social Services Director, a position that involved transportation and multiple additional duties. She succeeded her boss to become Director of Social Services where she focuses on “developing and executing policies and routines that enable residents to maximize their individuality, independence and dignity. I also educate staff about residents’ rights. The goal is to foster a climate that provides residents with the highest practical level of physical, mental and psycho-social well-being and quality of life.”
She is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in human services.
One of the best things about her job is having “the honor to build close relationships with our elders and their families. I can still remember names of folks I took care of as an LNA 25 years ago and have built friendships with some of their family members.”
One story in 25 years stands out. “I knocked on a resident’s door. He asked “Who is it?” “Carrie, I came to assist you.” He asked, “Carrie Pratt?” I answered, “No, Carrie Desmarais. Who is Carrie Pratt”? The gentleman grumbled, “She owned a house of ill repute in Springfield Mass a long time ago.” “Did you frequent her establishment,” I asked. He shot back, “Hell no. But my grandfather used to tell me stories about her!”
The body gets old; the heart and mind stay young. Carrie says, “I have so many funny stories to share, but they are not fit for family audiences!”
Jeremy Corey, Maintenance Supervisor
Jeremy had been on the maintenance team since 2006 before his recent promotion to Maintenance Supervisor. He is now responsible for the team that maintains the inner workings and integrity of the facility’s systems such as electrical and water systems.
He enjoys the variety of the work of keeping a busy community’s physical plant at peak performance. Jeremy relates, “Our single mission is to provide our residents with the care and respect they deserve. My job is to ensure that they have a safe and comfortable environment, and that all systems work and needs are met without any disruption.”
Serving at Vernon Homes for any length of time gives our team a wonderful opportunity to interact with those who have lived long and learned much. Jeremy says, “My favorite memories involve the conversations I have had with residents over the years. It’s like being in a history class every day!”
Rick Morton, Chaplain
Rev. Richard Morton recently expanded his chaplaincy service at VH to include the entire campus. Since 2008, he had been chaplain for Vernon Hall residents only.
Now, Rick serves everyone on campus and is available to advise, comfort, guide and visit all residents, employees and their families.
As a chaplain serving an elderly population, he naturally is called upon for end-of-life spiritual support. He says, “End-of-life concerns weigh upon many. I assist families in caring for their loved ones approaching this time of transition and work to connect people spiritually as requested. I see this as a worthy goal that our Lord would approve of.”
This work of helping people at a level they may not have experienced before can be very rewarding. As Rick relates, “One resident was so happy to be encouraged in her walk with Jesus that she requested to be baptized, which we did discretely at a service one Sunday.”
Corby Mousseau, Director of Finance
Corby started here in July of 2022.
Most of his professional life was spent at Saint-Gobain North America. He says, “I held positions at Saint-Gobain from 2006 through 2022. I started as a Financial Specialist III and worked my way up through Financial Specialist V. I then moved up to Accounts Receivable Team Lead, Staff Accountant and finally Senior Accountant where I led the accounting for five business units.”
As Director of Finance, he is responsible for the supervision and monitoring of Vernon Homes’ fiscal operations and viability, including the supervision of staff accountants and bookkeepers.
Vernon Homes has a unique mission of care for elders, and the financial pros contribute to this mission, too. As Corby puts it, “I take all of the financial pressure off of the Executive Director and Assistant Executive so they can focus on patient care.”
He has a particular interest in “lowering Vernon Homes’ expenses through a combination of research and efficiencies in procedures.”
The advice he gives anyone seeking a financial career reveals his meticulous nature. He says, “Be willing to learn every aspect of the finances of the organization for which you are going to be working… no matter how insignificant they may seem. If you are not willing to dig into everything, then you will be doing a disservice to yourself and your organization.”
He put that attitude into practice at Saint-Gobain. As he relates, “In my first year there, having no prior knowledge of accounts receivable, I pared the accounts receivable department from 12 employees who were consistently two weeks behind in the application of payments down to six employees who stayed up to date on payments.”
“Off the job,” he says, “I am on the board of the local little league. I coach my kid’s little league baseball and softball teams. I relax on the lake, boating and spending time with the kids. I like competition and have played in numerous sports tournaments over the years in softball, volleyball, disc golf, cornhole, pool, and golf, to name a few.”
Ferrah Patterson, Human Resources Manager
Sabrina Krafchuk, Assistant Administrator
Sabrina Krafchuk joined Vernon Homes in April of 2022.
Her career path prepared her well for her assistant administrator role here. As Sabrina explains, “My most recent experience was through a memory care director role providing oversight in the day-to-day functions including behavioral intervention, resident care, dining, and activities. When I discovered the assistant administrator opportunity at Vernon Homes, I was ecstatic to enhance my career working in long-term care administration under Bradford Ellis’ leadership.”
As an assistant administrator, her main responsibilities are to provide ongoing support to the administrator while providing advocacy for residents and staff.
Especially considering her early attraction to the field, Sabrina says that Vernon Home’s mission of care for elders comes naturally to her. As she puts it, “I have the residents’ best interest at heart as well as the staff I work with. If I can continue to inspire others to do the same, then our mission of care will be carried out for many years.”
If someone were asking her advice to gain a management position in elder care, Sabrina recalls her own path. “I once asked someone for this very advice, years before I started working in management in elder care, and I found that making meaningful connections to others who share the same passion as you goes a long way.”
As for a favorite anecdote, “I had a resident living in our memory care who one day grabbed a fork off the kitchen table and started walking towards a staff member. Everyone stepped back quickly! I rushed over and said, ‘Hello Bob!’ (Not his real name). Panicked staff members were crying out, ‘He has a fork, he has a fork!’ I asked him if he would take a walk with me. Understanding his non-verbal permission, I inched closer and we joined hands. He was not quick to give up the fork — and my team was not quick to let me out of their sight. We continued walking down the hall and as I turned around, I saw three fearful heads poking out around a corner, thinking that the fork was going to end up in me. By the time we got back, Bob slowly let go of the fork.
“The lesson isn’t about the ability to obtain the fork or de-escalate a situation, rather, it’s about knowing your resident so well to know that he was just hungry.”
Off the job, Sabrina relates, “I’m a hermit in the winter months, but the rest of the year you can find me enjoying time with my family and friends, camping, and going out boating on the lake.”