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Celebrating Courtney Chatterton -Bringing Weekend Joy to the Health Center One Resident at a Time!

Written by Marikate Lynch & Susan Carpenter

““Kindness. Courtney is amazing with the residents. She takes time out to read to residents who can’t communicate. Great personality and always so friendly and kind. Thank you for all you do for our residents Courtney.”

– Francis Vicchitto

Courtney Chatterton is one of those amazing human beings who bring a smile to your face and leaves joy in her wake. Since coming to Essex Meadows in November of 2022, Courtney has fulfilled many roles and impacted many lives. Courtney is a licensed massage therapist who gave up a lucrative private practice to care for her mother in her final years battling dementia. It was through caring for her mother that Courtney learned she had a passion for older individuals and could bring her healing arts to a new audience. Courtney was working at Masonicare at Chester Village West at the reception desk but really wanted to transition to recreation and activities. She stopped by one morning to interview to lead weekly Qigong classes, but as they say, the rest was history. Susan immediately knew that this young woman had tremendous potential.

Courtney spent her first few months coordinating Sunday programming in Hamilton Hall and learning more about some of the activities in independent living. From Bootcamp to Backgammon and Art Bar to Bingo, Courtney mastered every new program. It didn’t take long to figure out that Courtney’s dedication to Essex Meadows and high energy brand of enthusiasm would be a welcome addition to weekend programming in the Health Center.

In the Health Center, Courtney plans and leads the weekend programs and activities in addition to spending time during the week as Recreation Assistant. She engages the residents with high energy and a genuine caring spirit. Courtney is patient and kind and is a perfect fit for her recreation role in the Health Center.

Courtney and her husband Dennis live locally with their beloved Australian shepherd Herkimer. A love of the water and antique/historic properties brought them from Wethersfield to Chester to look at a house in need of some serious TLC. They purchased a historic home on Cedar Lake in 2016. Can you guess which house? In 2016, Chester Land Trust acquired a seven-acre preserve at 100 Cedar Lake Road and the neighboring house which was formerly Judge Constance Baker Motley’s Chester retreat.

The former property of Judge Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005) had been selected as an historic site for the CT Freedom Trail, a state designation that places it among a select few sites that celebrate extraordinary individuals whose lives expanded the circle of freedom and opportunity for all Americans. Judge Motley was known as Chester’s best kept secret, whose work as a civil rights lawyer brought rulings that ended segregation in restaurants and at whites-only lunch counters in the Deep South. As the first black woman to serve on the federal judiciary, she made groundbreaking decisions on everything from women’s rights to Wall Street insider trading. Constance Baker Motley’s Chester property, where she quietly retreated with her husband and son for over four decades, was dedicated as an historic site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail 2019.

The home was a secondary residence, purchased in 1965 to allow her to be closer to her family in New Haven, where she was born in 1921. On weekends, holidays, and vacations, Motley and her husband, Joel Motley II, and son Joel III, traveled to Chester from their primary residence in New York. The house has been a labor of love for Courtney and Dennis who have been painstakingly restoring much of the living space themselves.

Not only do they share a love of home renovations, Courtney and Dennis are both musicians and have rounded up a few neighbors to create a band! Courtney provides the vocals and some smooth dance moves. “The Neighbors” are coming to an open mic night near you! This is a couple who work and play well together. When Courtney is not working on the house, singing in the band or enjoying her new position in the Health Center, she is taking classes and doing homework. As a dedicated professional, Courtney wanted to learn more about therapeutic recreation and how best to serve her residents, so she recently enrolled in the Therapeutic Recreation program at Middlesex Community College. Straight A’s so far and loving every minute of the online curriculum.