Plymouth Harbor resident Ann Brackett has spent a lifetime believing in the unlimited potential of girls when given the opportunity to grow.  Not so long ago, she was attending the annual Boys & Girls Club Luncheon, one of the largest and most inspiring fundraising events of Sarasota’s very busy “season.” She found herself sitting next to Sue Stewart, who was there representing Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Before long, they were sharing their mutual love for the tradition of scouting.

Ann Brackett Donates her Girl Scout uniform

Ann Brackett donates her vintage Girl Scout uniform to the Girl Scouts.

You see, being a Girl Scout when she was a child was so important to Ann that she had kept her uniform, proudly decorated with numerous badges to mark her achievements, in a keepsake box all these years.  An idea sprang out of her chance meeting with Sue: why not donate that uniform, now considered a rare vintage treasure, to the local Girl Scout council?  It was an easy decision to make and before she knew it she was visiting with current Scouts and sharing stories with them while they gazed at the proper dress uniform so different from the simple vests the girls wear today.When Ann was a child, there was a local Girl Scout troop meeting regularly at her church, which was right next to her school in Newton, MA. This made it very convenient for Ann to get involved.  Being an only child, belonging to her Girl Scout troop gave Ann the social interaction she craved. She enjoyed the opportunity it gave her to work with and become friends with girls beyond her circle from school or her neighborhood.

“In Girl Scouts it doesn’t matter what color you are or how you look. You are part of a family and everyone respects you,” adds Ann. “This outstanding organization has made our nation a much better place. Girl Scouts present positive role models, endless possibilities, and a clear path to making dreams come true. The positive influence of Girl Scouts has lasted a lifetime for me.”

Girl Scout uniforms

Over time transformations of the Girl Scout uniform.

Ann was an enthusiastic scout and some of her fondest memories were of summer camp. Each merit badge earned built her confidence and inspired her increased involvement over the years.  She feels it was Girls Scouts that prepared her for an unexpected challenge later in her life when she was called upon to care for her aunt diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Girls are strong when they help other people. Girls need to feel a responsibility to care for others and experience the joy that goes along with it,” she comments.

Ann was unexpectedly reunited with her Girl Scout leader, Edna Hockridge, 40 years after her scouting days. She was with her aunt at the doctor’s office, when Mrs. Hockridge, also in the waiting room, recognized Ann’s laugh. It was one of those unexpected, sweet moments to reminisce with her Girl Scout leader all those years later. “I guess I never lost my unique laugh!” exclaimed Ann.

“The staff and current Girl Scouts were thrilled when Ann offered to donate her beautiful, pristine, vintage Girl Scout uniform to Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Her gift serves as a reminder to all our girl members and Girl Scout alumnae that Girl Scouting is a lifelong circle of friendship, with shared ideals.

Girl Scout Vest

This junior vest is the Girl Scouts' uniform today.

“The powerful values – courage, confidence and character – are as relevant today as they were in Ann’s day. The insignia, badges and achievements proudly displayed on Ann’s uniform show girls today that what they do matters, and that they can take action to make the world a better place,” shares Sue Stewart, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

As a result of Ann’s recent connection with the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Plymouth Harbor is now partnering with a member of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida who is interested in fulfilling her Gold Award by rebuilding the Butterfly Garden, a special feature of Plymouth Harbor’s beautiful campus grounds.

Ann’s story is not unique.  In fact, many of the women living at Plymouth Harbor were Girl Scouts. It seems as if everywhere you turn, you meet women excited to share their memories as a Girl Scout. Whether it’s a fond reflection of their time at camp, a friendship formed fifty years ago that is as strong today as it was then, or the recent memory of a college student whose passion was ignited as a Girl Scout – the stories are everywhere.

We recently received an email from Plymouth Harbor resident Lou Newman with the following note:

I would like to introduce you to “Hootie” and “Hooter”, the two new resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.  Although frequently heard, the owls are rarely visible because they have taken up residence high in the large Banyan tree at the northeast corner of the building. They likely have a nest in this tree; however, it is completely obscured by the dense foliage.  Is Hootie “pregnant? ”Only time will tell!”

Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor.

Image by Lou Newman: Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor

This little note accompanied by a stunning photograph that looks like he was in the tree with the owls is just another run of the mill day for Dr. Lou Newman, retired large animal veterinarian, now professional nature photographer.

Loy Newman with bear

Lou Newman photographing bears in the wild

Lou developed a curiosity about photographic techniques as a teenager, which evolved into a lifelong calling.Photography was a significant activity throughout his years as a rancher and veterinarian in Montana, and became of major importance when he left practice to become a veterinary college faculty member and pursue an advanced degree.  Photography was important in his roles as professor, pathologist, diagnostician, research clinician, and administrator.

During the 1990’s Lou prepared for a photographic “career in retirement” and the change to digital imaging.  Large animal medicine/surgery and wildlife studies had always been major interests and reinforced the progression to wildlife photography.  Lou’s passion is photographing the wildlife and birds of the Florida coast.

Of course, with Plymouth Harbor being situated on Coon Key in the midst of a natural bird habitat, Lou has become the photographic chronicler of many of nature’s dramas in our midst.  Here he alerts us to a potential nest of baby owls in our future and not too long ago, he played an even more active role in protecting our wild fowled young ones.

A Heroic Rescue for Stranded Chicks

In May 2012, Lou was on hand to rescue and document an entire Black Skimmer colony on Longboat Key that was threatened by Tropical Storm Debby. The storm had pushed coastal waters two to three feet above normal and large waves carried the water over the colony of over 400 birds with more than 100 active nest scrapes. The adult birds were all standing facing the wind in the lee of the buildings at the top of the beach; none were with the stranded chicks.

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

In his own words, “My initial reaction was to hope the adult birds would seek out their chicks. When this did not occur I returned to my vehicle to call beach monitors and bird rehabilitators for advice. When I returned to the beach half of the chicks had disappeared. Chicks were being buried by wind driven sand; and Laughing Gulls, and even a few Royal Terns, were gorging on stranded chicks. I saw only four chicks that somehow made it up the beach to the adult birds (and I hope were reunited with their parents). There were perhaps 50 chicks remaining at this point.”

“The stress of the day-long storm, flooding, relentless wind gusting to 40mph, biting wind-driven sand and opportunistic raiding gulls took a toll as I watched. It made no sense to stand by and watch remaining chicks perish this way. With help from others who arrived, it made sense to try to rescue the surviving chicks. We were able to find and pick up 32 live chicks. Gail Straight from Wildlife, Inc. on Anna Maria Island came to help and took the chicks to her wildlife education and rehabilitation center.”

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Not surprisingly, Lou is active with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and has volunteered as a veterinary pathologist at Mote Marine Laboratory, as a veterinary surgeon at the former Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary, and as an Emergency Veterinary Medical Officer in Great Britain during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.

Lou is an active member of the North American Nature Photography Association, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Dimage, Digital Photo Artists, Sarasota Audubon Society, and Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Citizens Advisory Committee.  His work is held in several private collections and is on permanent display at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Pines of Sarasota, SMH Institute for Advanced Medicine, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, and Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay’s Smith Care Center.  He frequently participates in regional art gallery and photography exhibits. We’re proud he shares this wealth of photography with Plymouth Harbor on a regular basis.

Congratulations to Corey Schmitz for being chosen as the Plymouth Harbor “Employee of the Month” for February 2013.

Corey came to Plymouth Harbor as a part time Dietary Aide in November 2010 and was promoted to full time Relief Supervisor in February 2011.  Looking for new challenges, he accepted a full time server position in the Mayflower Dining Room in January 2012.

Corey Schmitz, Employee of the Month for February 2013Throughout his career at Plymouth Harbor, his supervisors have described Corey as an asset.  He is known as a great worker and team player, and has the determination to take on any task.  Corey has received “Exceeds Standard” remarks on his Quality of Work, Attendance, Personal Conduct, Efficiency, Attitude, and Responsiveness to Supervision.

Corey’s nominators wrote,  “He is so full of energy, takes charge, knows what to do.  You never have to ask him to do something and if you do, it gets taken care of quickly.  Corey has wonderful rapport with the residents and nothing is too much to ask of him.  He is pleasant and accommodating at all times.  Corey is a pleasure to have around and deserves to be recognized.”

Corey was born in Daytona Beach and graduated from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee.  He moved to the Sarasota area in 2007, and took a job with Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he worked as a Dietary Aide for 2 years.  He later took a position as a Sales Clerk at Sarasota Restaurant Equipment.  He and his wife Sarah married in 2011.

We appreciate all of Corey’s hard work and dedication and are honored to recognize Corey Schmitz as the Plymouth Harbor “Employee of the Month” for February 2013.

Tributes take charitable giving a step further, by making a gift in someone’s name, either in memory or in honor of an individual or group, or in celebration of an occasion, such as an anniversary, birthday, or event.  The Plymouth Harbor Foundation is delighted and grateful to accept these gifts.

On January 16, 2013 the Smith Care Center Staff was presented with a tribute gift that came from a past rehabilitation patient in their honor.  Mary Ann and Ted Simon said they were inspired to make the gift because, in their words, the support given by the staff during Mrs. Simon’s short-term stay was amazing, professional, and delivered with a human approach that was different and unique from their past experiences with other facilities.  The gift was a complete surprise and very generous.  Please join us in extending our heartfelt gratitude to the Simons for their support of our services.  The Therapy Room was lined with staff from all over the Smith Care Center to accept the gift.

“This gift underscores the excellence of our team!  It is clear that our committed staff find personal satisfaction in the physical, emotional, and spiritual successes of those we serve,” says Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services at Plymouth Harbor.

That spirit of caring is also the driving force behind philanthropy at Plymouth Harbor. Over the decades, members of our resident population, their families, employees, and philanthropists in the broader community have voluntarily donated more than $12,000,000 to perpetuate the Plymouth Harbor mission.  We celebrate contributions of time, talent, and financial resources, believing that service to and support of other people is a worthy lifelong value.

“When one takes the time to show their appreciation for the care our staff provides through a charitable gift, it is the ultimate compliment.  We are very grateful for the gift and the recognition that Mr. and Mrs. Simon have given to our staff,” adds Becky Pazkowski, Vice President of Philanthropy at Plymouth Harbor.

Congratulations to Patricia Martinez for being nominated by her peers and winning the “Employee of the Month” Award for January 2013.Patricia Martinez, Employee of the Month for January 2013

Patricia is originally from Cali, Colombia.  She moved to the Sarasota area in 2001. Patricia previously worked at The Springs and Bay Village in the housekeeping department.

In February of 2011 Patricia came to work at Plymouth Harbor as a full time Environmental Aide in the SCC.

Patricia received exceed standard remarks on her most recent appraisal in Job Knowledge, Quality of Work, Efficiency, Attitude, Relationship with People, Responsiveness to Supervisor, and Personal Conduct.  Her supervisor describes her as a very kind and conscientious worker, an asset to the Plymouth Harbor staff.

Her nomination form reads,  “Patricia is kind and considerate, friendly and helpful.  She always greets everyone with a smile and offers help and support to the residents.  She has an exceptionally positive attitude.  Patricia is very supportive of the Plymouth Harbor vision.”

In her spare time Patricia enjoys riding her bike and spoiling her cat, “Shadow.”  But what she enjoys the most are visits from her sons, Felipe and Pablo, who are engineers and work out of town.

It is our privilege to recognize Patricia as the “Employee of the Month” for January 2013.  As a tangible expression of our appreciation, she was given sole use of the Employee of the Month reserved parking space during the entire month of January.  She also received $100 in cash and eight hours of PTO.

 

Congress Approves 2-year Retroactive IRA Charitable Rollover Extension

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 has been approved by Congress and it includes a two-year retroactive extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision that lapsed on December 31, 2011. Specifically, the new law:

  • retroactively reinstates the Rollover from 2012 and allows any otherwise eligible gifts made after December 31, 2012 and before February 1, 2013 to be treated as a 2012 donation.
  • specifies that any portion of a distribution from an IRA to a taxpayer made after November 30, 2012 and before January 1, 2013 may be treated as a qualified charitable distribution for purposes of the IRA Charitable Rollover, and
  •  reinstates the IRA Charitable Rollover for all of 2013 and will now expire at the end of this year, on December 31, 2013.

What is an IRA Charitable Rollover?

The law uses the term “qualified charitable distribution” to describe an IRA charitable rollover. A qualified charitable distribution is money that individuals who are 70-1/2 or older may direct from their traditional IRA to eligible charitable organizations. The provision has a cap of $100,000 for charitable distributions from individual IRAs each year. Individuals may exclude the amount distributed directly to an eligible charity from their gross income.

In other words, if you wish to make a charitable contribution to The Plymouth Harbor Foundation, and/or another favorite charity, you may rollover up to $100,000 directly from your IRA to the charity and you won’t have to claim the amount you rollover as income.

Want to know more about this and other 2013 tax law changes?

Please Join Us: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 — 3:00 p.m. in the Card Room.

TOPIC: IRA Charitable Rollover Extension and 2013 Tax Law Changes

Presented by: Carla Plush Smith, CPA and Plymouth Harbor Foundation Trustee

Becky Pazkowski, Vice President of Philanthropy

Foundation Forum: Hosted by The Plymouth Harbor Foundation, Bill Johnston, Chair

Please call Sandy Taylor at ext 511 for more information and to register.

 

We commenced a national search in October for a new Vice President of Health Services that attracted many talented candidates.  After an extensive review process, we are pleased to announce that Mr. Joe. Devore has been hired as the new Vice President of Health Services, effective January 1, 2013.   Along with a broader scope, Mr. Devore will assume the responsibilities of Dorothy Barichak, Administrator of Health Services, who announced her retirement at the end 2012, after 35 years of service to Plymouth Harbor.New VP of Health Services

Mr. Devore has extensive experience in continuing care retirement community administration, with emphasis in healthcare administration, dating back to 1988.  More recently, from 1999-2007, he was with Otterbein Homes, Inc. as its Executive Director of Otterbein Portage Valley and Administrator of Otterbein North Shore, both located in Ohio. Mr. Devore moved to Naples, FL in 2007 to become the Executive Director of Health Services for the Chateau at Moorings Park, a premiere 106-bed skilled nursing facility, and Orchid Terrace, a 74-bed assisted living facility.

Mr. Devore graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Psychology and Miami of Ohio with a Master’s in Gerontology. He is a licensed nursing home administrator.

Mr. Devore possesses a strong background in program development, marketing and public relations, sound fiscal management, survey preparedness, quality improvement, and resident and staff satisfaction.

Mr. Devore’s responsibilities will encompass the Smith Care Center, Callahan Center, and Home Care Department. As a member of our Senior Staff, he will also be involved in strategic planning, policy development, and community engagement.

We at Plymouth Harbor have great respect for Mr. Joe Devore’s work and dedication to this profession and are excited to welcome him aboard the Plymouth Harbor family.   He and his wife Laura will be settling in Sarasota sometime in the near future.  Please join us in welcoming them both.

A “Zest for Life” Snapshot

This Fall the Asolo Repertory Theatre kicked off its American Character Project, which runs from 2012 – 2017.  The project  opened with  the Tony-award winning musical “1776,” which brings to life the Second Continental Congress, and its work in declaring American independence. It was must-see for any lover of American history.

One Saturday night, Brian Becker, a Riverview High School student and member of the local CAR (Children of the American Revolution), escorted Plymouth Harbor resident Joanne Hastings to the Asolo Rep to see the show.

When asked about his evening with Joanne, Brian enthusiastically answered, “I feel that there is still so much more to learn from Joanne. She is truly a fascinating person who has a lifetime of experiences to share.”

Joanne Hastings

A Zest for Life

Joanne was equally impressed with her new young friend.  “I felt an incredible rapport with Brian,” exclaimed Joanne, “We had great discussions – Brian’s interest in Germany, and mine in France. We share interest in European culture and languages.”

Joanne was a long time member of the Colonel David Hall Chapter of the DAR in Delaware and remains active with the local Sara De Soto DAR chapter, which arranged this intergenerational outing.   “As a Delawarian, I felt Caesar Rodney was portrayed beautifully in the play,” Joanne confirmed. “He rode 70 miles on horseback July 1, 1776 in a blinding thunderstorm in order to cast the breaking vote for the Declaration of Independence.”

One of the distinguishing qualities of the residents of Plymouth Harbor is their drive to remain active in the community and follow their passions.  It’s what they call their “zest for life!”   Joanne is no exception as she has always sought to explore and enjoy life and the company of friends.

Joanne moved here from Delaware 8 years ago, first to The Glenridge to join friends Dr. Russell and Fran Seibert.  Despite the many attractive assets of The Glenridge, she felt drawn to Plymouth Harbor and now enjoys what she calls the “million dollar view” from her home on the 16th floor.

Prior to moving to Sarasota, Joanne lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – where she and her husband retired after their careers. She had been an interior designer at DuPont  and he had been an engineer at Hercules, another of the chemical giants that make Delaware the capital of the world’s chemical industry.

An artist from her youth, Joanne studied at the Philadelphia College of Art and enjoyed a long career with DuPont as one of the pioneers in corporate interior design.  She says one of the highlights of her career was managing the restoration/redecoration of the Hotel DuPont using all the new DuPont nylon fibers and fabrics.

She and fellow resident Vera Kohn , both devoted Francophiles and members of the Alliance Francaise, have organized a monthly brunch where only French is spoken. Joanne has always enjoyed cultural interactions, a pastime she recalls fondly from her Delaware days where a group of couples met regularly for gourmet dinner and lively discussion about the arts. They called themselves “The Eclectics.”

No wonder Joanne feels so at home at Plymouth Harbor!  Would you care to guess how soon we’ll see a renaissance of The Eclectics at Plymouth Harbor? If Joanne has her wish, it’s right around the corner.

Riverview High School Chorus Thursday ~ December 13, 7:30 pm in Pilgrim Hall

Back at Plymouth Harbor’s Pilgrim Hall by popular demand, the Riverview High School Chorus will sing your favorite holiday songs!

Riverview High School Chorus

Riverview High School Chorus

Always a hit! We’re lucky to get them on our schedule again. One of Florida’s best choral groups will treat us again to a fabulous performance. This wonderful evening of marvelous music and merriment will send goose bumps down your arms!

Showing in the Mezzanine Gallery, Through the Eye of a Needle, by Jeanne Baum, December 4 – January 19, 2013

Through the Eye of a Needle, by Jeanne Baum

Through the Eye of a Needle, by Jeanne Baum

Needlework is the ornamentation of fabric with raised design and it encompasses a
wide range — embroidery, needlepoint, tapestry, quilting and applique.

You will marvel at the beauty and intricacy of the fabric art on display in the Through the Eye of a Needle
display featuring the work of Plymouth Harbor resident, Jeanne Baum.