John Kopetzky, The Legacy Retirement Communities

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The Legacy Retirement Communities offers Independent and Assisted Living at three campuses in Lincoln: The Legacy at 56th and Pioneers; Legacy Terrace and The Arbors Memory Care Community at 5700 Fremont; and Legacy Estates, 7200 Van Dorn.   John Kopetzky has been the Executive Director at Legacy Terrace/The Arbors since February of 2005.

How did you get started in the business? – I was contacted by Jerry Joyce, founder of the Legacy Retirement Communities.  I had leased some office space in one of his office buildings and he thought I might be a good fit for the Legacy family.  I am so grateful that he contacted me as I have one of the best jobs in Lincoln.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Making the transition between broadcasting (my first career) to non-profit human services (second career), and then to senior living (current and hopefully final career).  Learning the ins and outs of each new profession has been challenging, but has also been very rewarding.

Tell us a little about your family. – My wonderful wife Patty and I have been married for 25 years and have been blessed with six children.  Megan and Kathryn are students at UNL, both pursuing education degrees.  Ellen is a senior at Pius X High School and Emily is a 7th grader at St. Teresa School.  Our other two children died in miscarriage.  I feel very lucky to be surrounded by five terrific ladies who put up with me (six, if you count Lizzy the Wonder Dog)!

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – When I made the career switch from broadcasting (the only thing I had ever thought about doing) to human services (something I had never considered doing).  This taught me the value of thinking outside the box and trying new things, and being open to new opportunities and challenges.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I love to get out on my bike and ride the incredible trail system in and around Lincoln.  My goal this summer is to ride the Homestead Trail to Beatrice. (Hopefully somebody will give me a ride back to Lincoln!) I also read historical non-fiction books.  Patty and I love to walk as well.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I grew up in Columbus and was part of a dance group called the “Columbus Polka Dots” for a couple of years.  I still listen to polka music occasionally as a way to connect with my heritage.  Na zdrowie! (That’s Polish for “To your health.”)

What are you the most proud of? – My daughters.  They are really good kids, far better than I deserve.  I am so proud of the young women they are turning out to be.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – The late Bishop Glennon P. Flavin used to say that we should pray like everything depends on God and work like everything depends on us.

What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – My encyclopedic knowledge of sports trivia.  If the hard drive of my mind weren’t so cluttered with useless trivia, I could be so much more productive!

What is your favorite local restaurant? – LaPaz.  I would eat there seven days a week if I could get away with it.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – Call me at Legacy Terrace, 5700 Fremont Street, at (402) 464-5700 or through our website, legacyretirement.com.

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