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Cherry Village resident sings in local church choir, volunteers
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Bradley Bussen, Cherry Village resident, participates in a fine-motor-skill activity, with the support of Rhonda Marley, the long-term-care facilitys restorative aide. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

          Bradley Bussen may have a little difficulty expressing what he wants to say in conversation but he has found another voice in the church choir.

            Bussen, 41, has been a resident of Cherry Village, a short- and long-term-care facility at 1401 Cherry Lane for about five years.

            He suffered a stroke in 2012 and has right-side paralysis. He said he is “high-functioning” and while he sometimes hesitates with verbal responses, he understands what people are saying.

            But when it comes to singing in the Trinity United Methodist Church choir, he is in his element.

            “I love to sing,” he said. “My favorite song is Amazing Grace.”

            He joins the choir on Wednesdays and Sundays but his community participation doesn’t stop there. He also volunteers at the Golden Belt Humane Society a couple of days a week.

            Bussen uses General Public Transportation, Sunflower Diversified Services’ transportation system.

            Brianna Saryerwinnie, Cherry Village’s speech/language pathologist, strongly encourages Bussen to keep on singing.

            “Singing can help some people who have had strokes that affected their speech,” Saryerwinnie explained. “This activity uses different areas of the brain than language uses.

            “Singing in the choir is a wonderful idea,” she continued. “I would encourage Bradley to do this as long as possible. It helps with his speech and the socialization is so important.”

            Cherry Village Administrator Pam Lewis couldn’t agree more.

            “Bradley is very social and this community participation is a vital part of his weekly activities,” Lewis said. “The church choir is important to his spiritual life too. We are grateful to the church, which has been very supportive.”

            Lewis noted that Cherry Village encourages participation in a variety of activities and socialization, both on-site and out in the community whenever possible.

            “We want our residents to be active and truly feel at home here, even though they need nursing support,” she commented. “This is their home. We are not an institution; we are an extended family.”