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. (

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!



We must be clear, Plymouth Harbor will not be hosting the official PBS Antiques Roadshow on our campus, but we have had the next best thing here for three years in a row!  Bruce Crissy of Crissy Galleries is an antiques expert on par with the ones we watch on TV and we are proud that he has agreed to return to assess our treasures on Friday, November 14 from 2pm to 4:30 pm in Pilgrim Hall.

aroadshow-providence-ri2_t614We know you must have something you have always wondered about. Perhaps its a painting, an old watch,or  a piece of jewelry.  Our  astute Bruce Crissy will examine it and give you his opinion on its origin, its history, its worth. Who knows? You might have the next million dollar discovery!  Or you might find you could get an extra buck or two for that old thing…  Either way, we’ll have lots of fun.

This is always a popular event so please only One item per person. We want everyone to have a chance to uncover a hidden treasure!

IMG_0430Ever since he was a young child in Colombia, Luis Revalo remembers loving his bike and the sensation of wind and freedom. When he was 14 years old he fantasized about being a professional cyclist. Then at age 16, he started his professional career racing all over South America. The career ended only three years later when an accident broke his legs and arms. Soon he had to find other work. When Luis moved to the U.S., his new home in New Jersey had both bad traffic and weather, two disincentives for getting back on his bike.

Twenty years passed before he rode again, and that was when he moved to Sarasota in 1999. With favorable weather nearly year round, biking is now a love from which Luis will never again stray.

He indulges mostly in distance biking, riding a carbon fiber Specialized light-weight road bike, just like the professionals use.

This past year when he turned 60, his wife suggested they’d throw a party to celebrate. Instead, Luis said he’d prefer to spend to money for a trip to France during the most famous bike race in the world, the Tour de France. And that’s what he did.

IMG_0522“It was like a dream,” Luis remembers, “It was so beautiful.” Not only was he there to observe the Tour, but he had his own bike with him and rode 70-80 miles every day for 2 ½ weeks.

“The views throughout the Pyrenees Mountains and in these little towns were unbelievable. The people are nice in the south of France,” continues Luis as he shared his impressions. “I met other bikers, and even met a sports broadcaster.  He was old like me, too!”

And he still rides.  In October he participated for the 5th time in a cancer foundation ride 230 miles across the state from Daytona to Sarasota. But this year, he and some friends decided to make it a 460 mile round-trip riding from Sarasota to Daytona while others took a bus, and riding back with the others.

Luis still rides every weekend with people from all walks of life. What’s most important?  That he’s still riding!


Towler LyonNancy Lyon and Tom Towler live in a light-filled, sixteenth-floor residence decorated with charming paintings which, upon inquiry, Nancy gracefully acknowledges as her own work. Nancy and Tom—as individuals and as a couple—are as busy and as pleasant as their home is full of light and far-reaching views.

Tom Towler visited Siesta Key for the first time in 1931. Tom will tell the story—1931, Siesta Key, 4 years old—and then, with a twinkle in his eye, admit that he doesn’t really remember much about that trip. Still, his visit would be the beginning of a life journey that would lead back to Sarasota, with just a stop—or two—along the way. Nancy Lyon’s path towards Sarasota and Plymouth Harbor was more circuitous, but Tom and Nancy have arrived together at the same place, at the same time: busy, happy, and engaged in the community, both inside and outside Plymouth Harbor.

Nancy grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, on a farm, with mother and father and two brothers and a retired Ringling Brothers circus pony—black with white front socks and a white blaze—named Princess. Tom was raised in West Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of Julliard graduate Lucile and Dartmouth graduate Eugene, an ad salesman for the Curtis Publishing Company, publishers of County Gentleman, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Tom followed his father and his uncle to Dartmouth, where he played varsity lacrosse. Tom continues to support Dartmouth’s lacrosse program—which has expanded to include women’s teams—and is immortalized as a member of the College’s all-time lacrosse roster. Tom is also a regular contributor to the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine’s Class of ’49 Class Note, which chronicles the activities of his classmates.

Nancy graduated from Vermont College in 1964, with a degree in Home Economics. She met her husband-to-be, Bob Lyon, an MIT graduate, at a church picnic. Bob and Nancy were married in 1967 and had two children: Amy and Andrew. Bob went on to work at Grumman Aerospace for 35 years as an electronics engineer; Nancy enjoyed a 10-year position as a social secretary after her children were grown.

Tom’s college education was interrupted by three years spent in the Army infantry.

After his military service, Tom married Sue, and returned to Dartmouth to complete his history degree. Sue and Tom would have a family of four children: Ned, Jill, Jon, and Bill. Tom’s professional career included positions at Standard Oil, Mobil Oil, and Baldwin-United, Inc., and stints as CEO of Top Value Enterprises and Peyton’s, Inc.

When Nancy and Bob retired to Sarasota, they initially lived in the north part of the county. Nancy recalls how much Bob loved Sarasota’s downtown, its cinema and the arts. Nancy and Bob embraced volunteer activities at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and Mote Marine Laboratory, where Bob helped to write the organization’s volunteer manual. Nancy continued to volunteer at both the hospital and Mote following Bob’s death in 2007 and recently saw the passing of two important milestones at each organization.  In 2013 Nancy was one of two Sarasota Memorial Hospital Auxiliary volunteers to give flowers to the very first patient at the new Courtyard Tower orthopedic unit on the Tower’s opening day, and in 2014 she was honored at Mote’s Volunteer Awards Ceremony with a 15-Year Award.

Nancy’s mother moved into Plymouth Harbor after, according to Nancy, “she looked at every retirement home in Sarasota.” Until her death at age 91, Nancy describes her mother as “still very much involved in the outside community” and remembers her as a world traveler, talented homemaker, and fabulous cook.

After Tom and Sue retired to Sarasota in 1985, Tom became a commercial real estate appraiser, a position he continued until 1997. Tom and Sue began to volunteer actively at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where Tom met Bob. In 2008, Tom won an at-large seat on the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, where he currently serves as Secretary. In addition to his commitment to the Hospital, Tom has also served as a trustee on the boards of the New College Foundation, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Siesta Key Utility Authority, and The Field Club.

Tom’s sister Jane Smiley, a Smith College graduate and the first woman vice president of Florida-based retailer Burdines, moved into Plymouth Harbor in 2003 and, according to Tom, loved it. Tom and Sue would follow Jane, moving into Plymouth Harbor in 2009. Shortly after they moved in, Sue died, following a brief illness.

Nancy and Tom have been together since 2010. Both have nothing but praise for Plymouth Harbor, its ambience, and its staff, which Nancy characterizes as kind and thoughtful. Tom, who serves on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation board, mentions Plymouth Harbor’s great leadership and tremendous employees, praise indeed from a man who has been at the helm of billion-dollar companies.

In August the couple visited Paris, enjoying a 28-day sea crossing, and in October Nancy travelled to China. Their Plymouth Harbor home, with its Sarasota sunlight and Nancy’s lovely paintings, is always welcoming when they return.