HarryHobson2Harry Hobson, Vice Chair Trustee

It is especially rewarding for me to serve on this Foundation Board, as I have had an opportunity to experience life at Plymouth Harbor for 10 years, and can now witness what philanthropy can do to make life here better and better!”

Harry Hobson has been president and CEO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay for 10 years.  During his career, he has worked in both hospital and retirement community administration. Prior to his arrival at Plymouth Harbor, he was the President and CEO of Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community of Irvington, Virginia, and First Community Village of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Hobson received Masters Degrees in both Business Management and Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University, and completed gerontological studies at George Washington University. He holds nursing home administrator licenses in Florida and Ohio.  Harry has been widely recognized throughout the industry, having received the 2013 Executive of the Year award from LeadingAge Florida, and while in Ohio, earned the Professional of the Year and Award of Honor from LeadingAge Ohio.  He has just completed his second term on the Florida Governor’s Continuing Care Advisory Board.  As a faculty member at The Ohio State University, he lectured on Long Term Care Policy and Executive Leadership.

He and his wife Nancy live in Sarasota, with their very special black lab Bridgett.  They have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.  Harry and Nancy plan to someday become residents of Plymouth Harbor.

By Chris Valuck

What is the Biodex Balance System?

BiodexIf you’ve never seen this type of equipment, it is because The Biodex Balance System™ SD is generally seen in a rehabilitation setting as opposed to a health club or wellness center.  In a senior rehab setting, Biodex might be used for fall risk screening and subsequent treatment; in a sports medicine setting it may be used as a tool to evaluate an athlete’s functional strengths and weaknesses to help develop a training program.

Biodex is suitable within a wellness center environment also, and Plymouth Harbor is fortunate to have this special piece of equipment in our new Wellness Center.  With minimal instruction, a user can independently and at their own pace, perform several different exercises, such as static and dynamic balance activities,  weight shifting, reaction time, and increasing limits of stability.  Exercises can vary in difficulty to accommodate different ability levels of the user, to improve strength, range of motion, gait and balance.  Since gait and balance disorders are high risk factors for falls, balance training is an important component to a regular fitness program at any age. (www.biodex.com)

One illustration as to the effectiveness of Biodex as a training protocol is a 2012 study conducted by Gusi et al. that incorporated the use of a Biodex in their study involving an older population.  Fear of falling was the primary outcome of the study and dynamic balance & isometric strength was secondary.  After a 12-week program of 30 minutes of balance training per week using the Biodex Balance System, the main findings concluded that the Biodex training protocols reduced the fear of falling and improved dynamic balance and knee strength.  (Gusi et al., 2012)

While not intended to replace physical therapy, Biodex may improve strength, range of motion, gait, and balance among regular users.  If you have not had a demonstration of the Biodex by a member of the Wellness staff, join us for our Equipment Orientation weekly at 11:00 a.m.


Gusi, N., Adsuar, J.C., Corzo, H., Pozo-Cruz, B., Olivares, P., & Parraca, J. (2012). Balance training reduces fear of falling and improves dynamic balance and isometric strength in institutionalized older people: a randomized trial. Journal of Physiotherapy, Vol. 58, 97-104.

Garry_JacksonGarry Jackson, Treasurer,  Vice Chair

“Serving on the Foundation Board gives me great pleasure.  Having been the CFO at Plymouth Harbor for 17 years, I have seen gifts come into Plymouth Harbor, some very significant.  Now with the Foundation in place, we are able to build and expand our support from philanthropy in new and greater ways.”

Garry Jackson is the Senior Vice President and CFO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.  He has worked at Plymouth Harbor since March of 1997. Prior to his career in healthcare, Garry lived and worked in New York City where he was the Controller & Director of Financial Planning at New York Law School for nine years and at the investment-banking firm of Rothschild, Inc. as the Assistant Vice President of Finance & Administration for six years. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from California Southern University at Irvine, CA.

By Celia Catlett

DombrowskiIn the elevator on my way to interview the Dombrowskis, a resident of their colony told me, “You will really like them.  They’re the nicest people.”  After spending time with them, I certainly agreed.

Both Kathryn and Hal (as he likes to be called) were born in Detroit, Michigan.  During World War II, Hal enlisted in the Marines and served in the First Armored Amphibian Battalion from 1942 to 1945 in the Pacific.  He participated in the invasions of the Marshall Islands, Guam and Okinawa.  He says he realizes how lucky he was that he was never wounded during these crucial battles.

Returning to Michigan after the war, he worked for ten years with the Chrysler Corporation as a purchasing agent.  The knowledge he gained led him to a successful career with Douglas & Lomason Company (now Lomason Division of Magna International), which makes the type of automobile products he had been purchasing.  During his twenty-six-year tenure he became Vice President and Sales Manager.  Kathryn used her dual skills in language and math as a secretary for a credit manager, salary payroll manager, and finally for the director of the military division of a trailer company.

Kathryn and Hal met on a blind date arranged by her future brother-in-law who was dating her sister.  The Dombrowskis were married a year later, followed by the other two.  Each couple has been married for more than sixty years!

Michigan has been Kathryn and Hal’s home for the majority of their lives, but in 1970 they bought a condo on Longboat Key where they lived first part-time and then full-time before moving to Stoney Brook.  They still have a condo in Elk Rapids on Lake Michigan.  Hal was an avid fly fisherman and a charter member of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited.  Kathryn joined him in volunteering during Elk Rapids’ annual Harbor Days festival.  Her interests were golfing and cross-stitch embroidery.  Both have been members of the Birmingham (Michigan) and later the Stoney Brook country clubs.

When they first came to Sarasota in 1964 to visit Kathryn’s father, they saw Plymouth Harbor being built.  Little did they know then that someday they would live here, but are delighted that this is where they have landed – a perfect place for a couple who always loved being on the water.  Extend them a warm welcome.

Flower-Arrangements-Ideas-648We continue to celebrate National Philanthropy Day with acknowledgments for the many gifts that have come our way thanks to the generosity of our caring community.

Flowers for Mayflower

Flowers continue to bloom in the Mayflower Dining Room as resident Jean Lions adds $2000 to the support of the orchids.  Mrs. Lions’ gift will support the maintenance of the orchids that were initially supported by Addie Hurst and her daughter.  Many thanks, Mrs. Lions and Mrs. Hurst!

Carmichael Collection

We received over $4000 this year from the Ruth Carmichael Fund (a permanently restricted endowment established by Mrs. Carmichael) to benefit Plymouth Harbor.  With this year’s gift, we will add a piece of art to the Wellness Center to continue the Carmichael Collection.  The Carmichael Collection was established in 2013 to honor Mrs. Carmichael’s memory, and her life work Art for Industry, whose mission was to bring modern art to the lobbies and halls of big business in Boston and New York City.  The Carmichael gift supported art in the Mayflower Dining Room in 2013.

Residents Support Scholarships

We are very grateful to the Residents Association, Walter and Gerry Mattson, Kay Bosse, Cynthia Conway, and Jane Smiley who each recently gave to the Employee Assistance-Education Fund to support scholarships.  These and several other gifts to this fund total over $14,000 this year in support of our employees who wish to pursue educational opportunities!

mead2Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

This month on November 15 we celebrate National Philanthropy Day across the country.  National Philanthropy Day is a special time set aside to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy, and those people active in the philanthropic community, to the enrichment of our world.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers and donors whose contributions have made so many things possible, and have quite literally changed Plymouth Harbor.  From flowers in the dining room to a brand new Wellness Center, there is much that has been accomplished, and still more that can be done.  Thank you for enriching our world!