American Traditions: How One Concordia Staff Member Celebrates Independence Day

Testimonial Barb Clements 1

From the Concordia Family, Happy Independence Day! With the Fourth of July only a few days away, we have a unique story to share with you featuring an employee at Concordia at Ridgewood Place who received one of the best gifts on the Fourth of July and used her talent for quilting to give back to the residents and staff members on campus.

Barbara Clements, a Nursing Assistant and Medical Technician at Concordia at Ridgewood Place, had no idea that the best Fourth of July memory she would ever have would involve a hospital room and missing annual July 4th celebrations with her friends completely that year.  

“My youngest son Jason was born on the Fourth of July,” Barb explained. “I missed the whole picnic that day, but it certainly gave me the best July 4th memory.”

A Pittsburgh native, Barb grew up in the Plum Borough area. She began working at Concordia at Ridgewood Place in February 1999 as a Medical Technician.

“On a normal day I’m responsible for administering the first floor residents’ medication on the afternoon shift,” she said. “I’ve worked the afternoon shift my entire career here. I make sure medication is ordered and available for daily med pass.”

While her job and family keep her busy, Barb also finds time to work on one of her favorite hobbies: quilting. That hobby initially began after she saw her great-grandmother make quilts by hand as a child.

“When I watched my great-grandmother, who we called little grandma (because she was so short), sew her quilts by hand, I was amazed by how pretty they were,” she explained. “It fascinated me that someone could cut material in little pieces and sew something so nice to look at. Now when I’m making a quilt I lay it down and stand back to look at it for some time because I love the look and feel of the quilts.”

Over the years, Barb has sewn quilts for friends and family members and she’s donated many of her quilts to different charities and causes.

“I started making quilts on my own in the 1980s after reading magazines on the topic and had a friend who guided me,” Barb said. “I have a quilt that my great-grandmother made and I have a bag of pieces that she cut out as well as the cardboard template she used. I’m so lucky that my grandmother and mother saved them.”

One of her most recent quilts – a rag quilt [which is a quilt sewn together with different pieces of fabrics] of an American Flag – was donated to the Activities Department at Ridgewood.

“I saw a flag rag quilt online and wanted to make it,” she explained. “I kept it a secret until it was done and I had the maintenance team help me hang it [on campus]. It was exciting when I showed it to Carol [Facility Administrator] and Cheryl [Activities Director].”

The American flag quilt is only one of the many quilts she’s donated to the Activities Department during her time at Concordia. Even though many events and big activities have been cancelled this spring and summer due to COVID-19, her patriotic donation will add a fun, homemade touch to this year’s Fourth of July celebrations at Concordia at Ridgewood place.

In addition to her quilt donations, Barb has also given her expertise to many staff members over the course of her 20 years of service.  

“It’s a good place to work and the staff try to help each other,” she said. “It is hard work and it takes time to learn everything, so just don’t give up.”   

Barb’s diligence, dedication to her family and spirit of generosity are invaluable at Concordia and truly make a difference to those she serves. Her American flag quilt is just a small way to brighten her residents’ day, whether on the Fourth of July or any other day of the year.

Be sure to have a SAFE and Happy Independence Day, and don’t forget to check in on your senior loved ones!

To learn more about Concordia of Ridgewood place or our senior care and health services at our facilities in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio or Tampa, Florida visit the care levels and services page of our website or call us at: 724-352-1571. For information about joining our team, visit

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