Born and raised in a small town south of Augusta, Don Bray is a proud Georgia native. Possessing a strong desire to help folks from his home state, Bray spent his career in hospital settings on administrative teams, including as President and CEO of University Health, Inc, also known as University Hospital. He was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the hospital and oversaw the planning of facilities in the local area. He also helped establish clinics, urgent care centers, and private practice offices across Augusta.
While working as the Associate Administrator for University Hospital, Bray had the opportunity to attend planning meetings for a senior community the hospital was planning to build. This community would later be named Brandon Wilde. As time passed, he became interested in Brandon Wilde as a possibility for where he and his wife would spend their retirement. As his interest peaked, it pushed him to serve on their Board of Directors for two terms. “I remember thinking to myself while serving on the Board, this would not be a bad place to retire,” says Bray.
It was four years ago that Bray and his wife, Stephanie, decided to move to Brandon Wilde. “As the time came to make the decision, there was no discussion that Brandon Wilde would be our new home,” he explains.
Of the many living options that Brandon Wilde offers residents, the Brays decided on one of the community’s cottages. The cottage homes of Brandon Wilde give them independence but also access to community amenities like educational programs, an indoor pool, landscaped walking paths, and entry to the health and wellness center. One of the other perks their cottage affords the Brays is the ability to host their large family. Don and Stephanie have a blended family, with seven married children and fifteen grandchildren. “Being able to have our family visit us and stay at our home has been an amazing feature of the cottages,” he says.
The Brays now spend their days enjoying hobbies and volunteering in the Brandon Wilde Gift Shop and on committees. Don is an active member of the endowment committee of Brandon Wilde, which allocates funding to support things like resident entertainment opportunities, scholarship opportunities for the staff, and much more. “These endowments were given by former residents who felt so connected to the mission of Brandon Wilde that they wanted to see the community thrive for years on,” he says.
Don Bray has felt so connected to the vision of Brandon Wilde that since its conception, he has been a dedicated member of the community. After spending his career helping others, Brandon Wilde is enabling Bray to spend his retirement focusing on things he is passionate about.
“Don has been an integral part of Brandon Wilde’s history,” says Jacob Elliot, Executive Director of Brandon Wilde. “We are honored to be the place the Brays chose for their retirement.”