The founders of Senior Compassion Foundation, Mur and Charity DeJonge, have a history built around serving the elderly. Beginning with their nearly 35 years of combined experience in skilled nursing facilities, retirement centers, and community service, they’ve forged a solid background in taking care of the elderly. They both continue to seek additional and creative ways to serve the elderly.
Charity has a long history of serving the elderly stemming from her family working in Christian ministry her entire life. Her father was a pastor of small churches throughout his career and she and her siblings performed musical ministry to many churches and senior care facilities. Charity later graduated high school from Carolina Christian Academy, becoming a certified nurse aid in 1984 and worked in hospitals, private homes and later in skilled nursing facilities. In 2012, she left private duty nursing care when she was selected to become the Resident Services Coordinator at a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Thomasville, NC. Her duties there include developing, planning, and implementing programs of activities which provide entertainment, communication, exercise, relaxation, opportunity to express creative talent and to fulfill basic psychological, physical, intellectual, social and spiritual needs to resident seniors. Charity says she feels inspired by the selfless acts and commitment to others that the residents still show in their sunset years, some in their late nineties.
Mur traces his passion for the elderly back to the 1970’s when other kids were mowing lawns and delivering newspapers, he was helping out on Saturdays doing odd jobs for his elderly neighbors. Tasks like taking out the trash, doing yard work, and running errands built his healthy respect for the elderly. Fast forward to his later teen years, Mur joined the U.S. Army and served nearly 20 years in both active duty and reserves. Unfortunately, during a deployment to Iraq in 2004 Mur was injured by a roadside bomb which ended his military career. His service included years in the Cavalry, Infantry as a Drill Sergeant, Civil Affairs, and as an Arabic Translator. He earned several commendations including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
After retiring from the military, he returned stateside and his aging mother took ill. She unfortunately had a fall which ended her independence by her condition requiring a stay in a rehabilitation center, then subsequently a skilled nursing facility. Mur would find his next few years busy with weekly visits to the facility to spend quality time with his mother.
A friend that heard Mur liked spending time with his mom and other elderly at her facility asked if he’d like to come to where she worked and get a job as a companion. So started the path into long term care as his new career. His post-military life was indeed committed to serving the senior population. Starting as a home care companion in a retirement center, Mur soon realized there was a need for more. While working at the retirement center, he met Charity as she was working as the Resident Services Coordinator in one of the independent living buildings on campus. Not only was it love at first sight, but he soon found that his soul mate held the same passion for the elderly. After getting married to Charity, he went on to run the Transportation department and help out in other departments while simultaneously completing a Bachelors Degree specializing in healthcare management and a Masters Degree in healthcare administration. Soon after graduation, he completed a lengthy internship and subsequent licensure as a Nursing Home Administrator.
After just a short year of administration work, most recently as the Executive Director of a local skilled nursing facility, Mur felt he was getting further from the reason he got into the field of senior care. That’s when the idea was born to change direction and create a nonprofit ministry to serve seniors in a different way. Senior Compassion Foundation is that calling!