Tom Hopkins“Plymouth Harbor is an important Sarasota gem that I am proud to serve.  Its distinguishing quality is its interesting and active residents who continue doing significant things.  I have been enriched by knowing them.”

Tom Hopkins
Trustee, Plymouth Harbor Foundation
Chair, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees

In addition to being a Trustee of the Foundation, Tom is also Chair of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees, and has served in that role for four years.  A shareholder and former President of the Icard Merrill law firm, Tom has practiced with the firm since 1977 and has concentrated in real estate, probate, estate planning, and business law. His professional affiliations and positions have included serving as President of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. Tom also has served as President and board member of the Sarasota County Civic League and President of the Ivy League Club. A graduate with an AB from Dartmouth College, Tom also earned an MS from the University of Southern California and his law degree from the University of Florida. He and his wife Wendy live in Sarasota and have three children and three grandchildren.

Amanda Kirk_Employee of the Month AugustCongratulations to Amanda Kirk, the Plymouth Harbor Employee of the Month for August 2014.  She joined the Plymouth Harbor team in April 2013 and has truly made her mark as the Wellness Program Assistant working closely with Wellness Director Chris Valuck during a period of tremendous productivity. She has progressively taken on additional responsibilities as Wellness programming as expanded during the past year.

Originally from Aliquippa, PA., an old steel mill town in the metropolitan area of Pittsburgh, where her sister and parents still live. While studying at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, SC, a pleasant change of locale, Amanda was a member of the Exercise & Sport Science Club and a Student Tutor to students in the Exercise Sport and Science majors. After graduation she worked as a Life Enrichment Leader/Wellness Associate with The Lakes at Litchfield Senior Living Community in Pawleys Island, SC.

Now that she is in Florida she can enjoy her favorite beach and water sports and now has her own kayak in which to explore Sarasota Bay. She loves animals, too, and currently cares for a Siamese cat named Thai and two turtles named Sprinkles and Duke.  She has had the turtles since she was a little girl and they still go anywhere she goes; from Pennsylvania to South Carolina, to Florida.

In her spare time, Amanda enjoys entertaining and cooking for friends, and is a big fan of amusement and water parks. She knows Busch Gardens well.

Vivacious and energetic, Amanda has brought a fresh, fun approach to group fitness at Plymouth Harbor.  The residents enjoy her classes very much; her enthusiasm is contagious.

She has a natural, positive attitude and comes to work willing to put her best foot forward each day, even in challenging situations.  Speaking of challenges, Amanda has been an inspiration to many staff members by encouraging their participation in the recent Stairwell and Walk/Jog/ Bike Challenges.

Her tenure has just begun at Plymouth Harbor and we all look forward to many years of expanding wellness encouraged by Amanda’s ready smile and growing expertise.

By Lee Yousri

Ann BrandtAnn Brandt was born in East Meadow, NY, and lived on Long Island for most of her formative years.  For those of us from the New York City area who consider the string of towns that make up Long Island as commuter “bedroom communities,” it is hard to imagine that Ann lived on a commercial vegetable farm that supplied the markets of the Big Apple.  The present eight-lane highways grew from the two-lane dirt roads of yesteryear!

After attending high school in Hempstead, she went to St. Lawrence University further north; she laughingly calls this “the party school.”  Her mother died in a car accident so she transferred to Allegheny College and graduated with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in economics.  She then found it was still necessary to go to secretarial school in order to find a job.

She worked in the personnel department at Republic Aircraft and in a bank clearing house before marriage.  Later she moved to several states with her husband and became a stay-at-home mom with two children.  While at home, she managed a triple-net shopping plaza for 50 years until she recently sold it.

It was when, sadly, her husband died that Ann returned to school at Bryant College, earning a Masters degree in taxation.

She also passed a two-day exam to become an agent enrolled to practice before the IRS in every state.  She then opened her own tax practice, which she ran for 30 years.  A second marriage added two step-children, ultimately producing five grandchildren.

Ann also developed a healthy zest for traveling, her son being a missionary and teacher in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  On several visits, she strayed beyond this country to many other interesting and diverse places on the “dark continent.”

Visits to her parents and sister, who wintered in Florida, introduced her to Sarasota, and she opted to retire and lived here for ten years before coming to Plymouth Harbor.

Ann’s many volunteer activities have focused on the First Methodist Church.  She was president of the New England Conference Board of Pensions for eight years, a conference equalization member and board member of the New England Federal Credit Union.  She has been treasurer of the Sarasota unit of United Methodist Women for the past five years and also volunteers each year as a tax aide for AARP during the tax season.

We are delighted to have her in the fold.

On behalf of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, we are delighted to award scholarships this 2014-2015 academic year to four worthy individuals.

Carol Bello and MotherCarol Bello has been awarded the Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship.  Carol is the daughter of Martha Chavez, a member of our housekeeping department.  She is enrolled at Florida State University this fall, working toward her bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Criminology and Political Science.  Her longer term plans are to attend law school.  While her eligibility for the scholarship was due to her mother’s employment at Plymouth Harbor, Carol herself is employed as a dietary aide in the Smith Care Center for a few more weeks, as she prepares to return to school in Tallahassee this month.

Bea Davis was a 38-year employee of Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Her Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a housekeeping employee or their immediate family member.


Tara MitchellTara Mitchell has been awarded the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship.  Enrolled at State College of Florida, Tara is working toward her RN degree.  She is currently a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and has been an employee for over eight years.  She is completing her final pre-requisites to the RN program and will be able to begin that program this 2014-2015 academic year.  She plans to go on to earn her BSN after obtaining her RN certification.

Jane Smiley is a beloved resident of Plymouth Harbor who established this scholarship in support of our employees who wish to increase their education. 



Lucy Guzman

Amy RiceAmy Rice has been awarded the Evelin Corsey Scholarship. Amy is a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).  She will use her scholarship to obtain a special certification in wound care that is available to LPNs.  Amy has been an employee of Plymouth Harbor for over one year.

The Evelin Corsey Scholarship was established through a bequest from Evelin Corsey, a resident at Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Ms. Corsey loved the employees of Plymouth Harbor.

Lucy Guzman has been awarded a General Education Scholarship.  Lucy has been employed at Plymouth Harbor as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the Smith Care Center for nearly four years.  She is enrolled in and currently attending classes at the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy to obtain her license as a Massage Therapist.  Lucy is also a Certified Phlebotomy Technician.

General Education Scholarships are funded through the Plymouth Harbor Foundation by generous donors who wish to show their support for the employees of Plymouth Harbor.  

Mary AllynMary Allyn is the type of confident person who takes action when she sees a need; she makes things happen and will guide a situation to a successful resolution.  The depth and breadth of her wide-ranging knowledge and leadership skills is remarkable.  Today she has been answering “thank you” notes.  To someone who believes that civilization was practically built on the now quaint notion of the “thank you” note, the fact that the current president of the Plymouth Harbor Residents Association has been answering notes from college students is jaw-dropping in its significance:  there’s hope!

Mary Allyn grew up in Brunswick, Maine, across the street from the campus of Bowdoin College, where her father, Dr. Samuel Edward Kamerling, became a chemistry professor in 1934.  As it turns out, today Mary has been answering “thank you” notes written by grateful student recipients of two different scholarships endowed in honor of Mary’s father and her family.

After graduating from Brunswick High in 1959, Mary attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.  It was obvious upon arrival that Mary had found her milieu, immersing herself happily in Mount Holyoke’s active theatre life, and it was there that Mary met Professor of Theatre Arts Oliver Allyn — the two were wed after her graduation.  Mary then earned a Master of Arts degree and joined the college administration, ending her 26-year career there as Associate Dean of Students.

Mary and Oliver would stay in South Hadley and raise their children — daughter Emily and son Jeremy — until Oliver’s retirement from Mount Holyoke in 1989.

It was through their friendship with former Mount Holyoke president and Plymouth Harbor residents David Truman and his wife Ellie that the Allyns found Sarasota.  “Sarasota’s arts scene attracted the Trumans,” says Mary, “and they urged us to visit and then move here.”  She adds: “And I was ready for warm weather!”

Arriving in Sarasota, Mary lost no time becoming influential in arts-related activities, actively supporting Arts Day and editing the local Visual Artist newsletter.  Mary and Oliver lived in two homes in Sarasota and then decided to move into Plymouth Harbor.  A big factor in their decision, Mary says, was their vow that their children not worry about the couple’s safety and security in retirement.  Plymouth Harbor had a great reputation, and  Mary continued her volunteer work following their move, eventually working for more than 20 years for the Encore and More Consignment Shop of the Women’s Resource Center, whose estate liquidation services now benefit the YMCA’s programs for at-risk children.

Mary was presented with a huge challenge in 2000, when she was diagnosed with NTM disease, a non-communicable lung disease that affects between 50,000 and 90,000 Americans.  Determined to organize efforts towards proper diagnoses and treatment, Mary was an early organizer of NTM Info & Research, Inc., an internationally recognized nonprofit that assists the approximately 18,000 people who become infected annually.

Among her many and notable contributions to the organization, Mary was instrumental in setting up and running the more than 30 patient support groups all over the country, which serve more than 2,000 people.

Mary’s roots in the heavy-lifting end of the arts world — the place where people actually get their hands dirty — is evidenced in the quirky and fun “Mermaid Fountain” on Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota.  Not only did Mary help Bradenton artist Nancy Matthews construct the fountain, she probably thought deep thoughts while doing so:  Mary’s masters thesis, published in 1974, was titled The Uses and Effects of Negative Areas in Sculpture.

There is no doubt that Mary finds great joy living at Plymouth Harbor, and the decision to remain in the Plymouth Harbor community was an easy one following Oliver’s death.  She especially loves observing the shorebirds from her upper-floor windows, watching as they depart to all points of the compass in the morning and return in the evening, just as the sunset turns the downtown buildings into tall blazes of gold.  She finds peace as well as fitness when paddling one of her two kayaks; sometimes, though, things aren’t so peaceful, like the time Mary found herself smack dab in the middle of a mullet run near Big Pass, watching as hundreds, if not thousands, of mullet jumped and swam around her kayak.

Mary is enjoying her busy tenure as president of the Residents Association, especially because she is a big supporter of the proposed assisted living/memory support project at Plymouth Harbor, which she feels is necessary for the community.

Meanwhile, it is a sure thing that Mary will find herself closely tied to both Mount Holyoke and Bowdoin colleges in the future.  Daughter Emily is the Associate Dean of Admissions at Mount Holyoke.  Emily’s daughter Hannah Yee has followed in her grandmother’s footsteps: during her freshmen year at Mount Holyoke, Hannah lived next door to the dorm room where Mary lived nearly 50 years earlier.  Mary herself was awarded the Alumnae Medal of Honor from Mount Holyoke as a testimony to her hard work on behalf of the college and its students.  As far as Bowdoin goes, there are not one but two scholarships set up in the Kamerling family name.

With a creative, active future in front of her, with plans to travel the world and continue to learn new things, with her leadership position at Plymouth Harbor, Mary plainly loves to be in contact with young people and will listen  with commendable patience to their thoughts and plans.  Asked if she enjoyed watching modern young people follow the practice of handwritten “thank you” notes, she laughs.  “Oh,” she says cheerfully, “all ‘thank yous’ nowadays are emailed!”  With two sets of college-mandated “thank you” notes being sent each year, Mary will continue to receive words of appreciation from grateful students for a long, long time.

Granddaughter Hannah Yee, scheduled to graduate from Mount Holyoke in 2015, has said that she wants to be a teacher, so it may be that the educational genes of the Kamerlings and the Allyns will run true in the next generation.  If that happens, there’s no doubt that someday soon Hannah will begin to answer “thank you” notes of her own.

William_JohnstonWilliam (Bill) Johnston, member of The Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees and Chairperson of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, was recognized as LeadingAge Florida’s 2014 Trustee of the Year at their annual conference earlier this month at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

This very distinguished honor is presented annually to an exceptional LeadingAge Florida member Trustee.  LeadingAge is a professional association composed of over 6,000 not-for-profit organizations (over 400 Florida communities) dedicated to making America a better place to grow old.  At both the national and state level, the organization advocates, educates, and serves its members admirably.

At the July 30th luncheon ceremony with several hundred in attendance, Johnston spoke passionately about Plymouth Harbor and its mission toward older adults.  He also thanked all of those in attendance for the efforts they put forth in their respective organizations. Bill Johnston Award Acceptance

Bill Johnston is Past President of the New York Stock Exchange and is currently retired. However, he has transitioned to a new calling as a community leader and volunteer. As a highly effective trustee he leads by example and is a founding member of The Plymouth Harbor Foundation.

His parents were residents at Plymouth Harbor, as were two aunts and an uncle. With hopes of someday moving with his wife Betsy to Plymouth Harbor, Johnston serves as a strong advocate of continuing care retirement communities (CCRC).

Summing up the reasons why Johnston deserved the award, Plymouth Harbor CEO Harry Hobson stated, “Plymouth Harbor is a better CCRC today than it was prior to Bill Johnston becoming a Trustee. His leadership and passion for services to older adults is obvious in all aspects of his life. He had a reputation for being an ideal son to his parents regardless of his busy schedule on Wall Street. He never forgot his parents. He looks at this aspect of his life as paying back.”

Bill Johnston and PH group 2

PHOTO CAPTION: Those pictured at the awards presentation are:  (l to r)  Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services, Harry Hobston, President and CEO, Liz Clark, Director of Assisted Living and Home Care, Karen Novak, Director of Health Services, Bill Johnston, Becky Pazkowski, Vice President of Philanthropy, and Gordon Okawa, Vice President of Marketing and Community Affairs.


Healthy Hydration

ahwaterWater is one of the most essential components of the human body. Water not only composes 75 percent of all muscle tissue and about 10 percent of fatty tissue, it also acts within each cell to transport nutrients and dispel waste. And, because water composes more than half of the human body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it.

Necessary to the healthy function of all internal organs, water must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic activities. It is recommended that women consume 91 oz. daily and men consume 125 oz. through various beverages (80%) or in food (20%).

Active individuals need even more, particularly if they’re exercising in hot weather.  Without an adequate supply of water the body will lack energy and muscles may develop cramps.  To prevent dehydration, exercisers must drink before, during, and after the workout.

For the complete Fit Fact, go to:

Sunscreen Sense

According to the latest study by the Environmental Working Group’s – 2014 Sunscreen Guide, all sunscreens are not created equal.  In fact, many contain potentially harmful ingredients.  The two chemicals that may put the user at risk are:  Oxybenzone, which penetrates the skin and may disrupt the hormonal system and cause allergic reactions.  40% of all sunscreens contain Oxybenzone.  The other is Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) which may promote the development of skin tumors in sun exposed skin.  20% of all sunscreens contain this Vitamin A.

Sunscreens that appear to be safer for the consumer include zinc and titanium-based products that do not penetrate the skin.  The zinc that originally came only in pure white is now available in “clear” formula.  Additionally, how you apply sunscreen matters.  The recommended application is every two hours.  For even more protection from dangerous rays, wear “physical sunscreens” such as a big hat, sunglasses, and a long-sleeved shirt.

For a list of recommended sunscreens and to find out more about the EWG and their Sun Safety Campaign, go to: