Saying goodbye is never easy, and for Harrogate residents, saying goodbye to Executive Director Don Johansen, who’s retiring after 25 years at the community, will be especially tough when he officially hangs up his suit and tie in May. As Don says his goodbyes, however, residents also have reason to smile, as a man they’ve gotten to know well over the past year prepares to step into the executive leadership role. Associate Executive Director Charles Benjamin, who joined Harrogate last spring, has already assumed the executive director role, in a co-leadership role with Don until his final day at the community.
Don joined Harrogate in 1990, just two years after the community opened its doors, and has been as much a part of daily life here as anyone.
“I’m not just retiring,” he said. “I’m leaving behind a group of residents and team members who I truly consider to be my family. If you can feel this way at the end of your career, you’ve truly been part of something special.”
For Charles, that leaves plenty to look forward to.
“I’ve spent my career working here in New Jersey, and when the opportunity came along to join a place like Harrogate, I couldn’t resist,” he said. “I’m truly one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to try and fill Don’s shoes.”
As they say on television, “But wait, there’s more!”
Martin Mee, who brings over 20 years of experience to Harrogate, has assumed the associate executive director role.
“I’m really fortunate to be in this position,” said Mee. “The positive culture that’s been fostered here under Don and Charles is truly a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
It’s definitely a Harrogatunity he and Charles are looking forward to being part of.