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Veterans honored with memorial wall at Felicita Vida

ESCONDIDO — Across the country, the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, was commemorated in countless ways. Here in North County, a special event took place that not only payed homage to those who lost their lives on that day but also celebrated a special group of about two dozen veterans at Felicita Vida Senior Living community.

“Apreva Hospice was generous enough to donate a special memorial wall to honor our past and current residents who have served our country,” Kellie Pacheco Smith, executive director at Felicita Vida, said. “Apreva is a hospice agency that provides services for some of our residents. They mentioned they wanted to honor our veteran residents through our partnership. They saw the previous memorial wall we had and that we had outgrown it, and said they would love to do this for us!”

Apreva had professional pictures taken of the current veteran residents, had the new prominent memorial wall painted and they donated an “incredible beautiful plaque that talks about the veterans,” Pacheco Smith said.

When it came time to plan the dedication ceremony, the timing coincided with the anniversary of Sept. 11, which everyone involved felt was appropriate. “The event went exceptionally well,” Pacheco said. “About 50 residents, Apreva Hospice and branches of the military showed up for the event,” she said. “Each of the branches’ ‘fight songs’ were played and at the end of the event we all sang God Bless America. Lots of tears and huge amounts of gratitude for our men and women of valor were expressed. Such a wonderful event on such a somber day.”

Felicita Vida is an assisted living and memory care facility that has the ability to serve 123 residents. It is owned by Bayshire LLC, a smaller boutique assisted living community company. “We are family here,” Pacheco Smith said. “The owners know all the residents and their families. We are all really close, and it doesn’t have a corporate feel.”

Pacheco said it isn’t unusual to have the owners directly contact residents’ family members. “We are an extension of the home they had,” she said. “We foster family.” To that end, she sites how family members of hospice residents are cared for. “You take care of family,” she said. “We had a family of seven stay here for five days while they were going through the process. We had catered meals delivered to them and put them up. Because that’s what you do for family.”

The activities department is one of the highlights of living at Felicita Vida. “We have six people in our activities department, which is basically unheard of. We are the Disneyland of assisted living,” Pacheco Smith said. “We also have an incredible courtyard, it’s such a fabulous place. It is the centerpiece of the community, we have hummingbirds, squirrels and more all over our beautiful grounds.”

Felicita Vida is located at 930 Monticello Drive in Escondido. For more information, or to schedule a free tour of the community call (760) 383-9545 or visit