“History has provided us with many examples of nurses’ contributions to mankind. But what sets us apart as a recognized profession?” asks Karen Novak, Director of Health Services. “Tradition! Florence Nightingale was a change agent and seemed to do it without compromise; leadership techniques and advocacy were many of her strong points. It is important to have these traits to
provide nursing students with the tools necessary to promote health.”

The tradition of nursing care is alive and passionate at Plymouth Harbor. Suncoast Technical College’s (STC) Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program partnered with Plymouth Harbor’s Smith Care Center (SCC) years ago, but somehow that tradition fell through the cracks. Dedicated leadership at Plymouth Harbor decided to get things back on track, and the revival of the tradition resumed in November 2016.

STC’s LPN program is a one-year program where students gain both classroom and real-world experience — completing six months in a “freshman” course and their second six months in an advanced course. As a result, half of their time is spent honing skills in the classroom, while the other half is spent completing student clinicals at numerous healthcare sites, including Plymouth Harbor.

According to Clinical Instructor Michelle Boudreaux, there are three clinical instructors. Students rotate between healthcare facilities, allowing them to work in different environments with different instructors. Boudreaux notes that while the maximum number of students allowed by law in a class is 12, STC limits theirs to seven, ultimately providing a much more in-depth, hands-on experience.

By working in environments such as Plymouth Harbor, students are able to learn delegation, management, and can witness first-hand how facilities function as a team. At the end of each clinical rotation, students are asked to provide a “head-to-toe” assessment to their instructor, along with a Medicare note and patient history. Additionally, the students conduct a daily “post-conference” in which they discuss items that came up and how they solved them. Under supervision, students are able to perform general patient care and some skills such as IVs, dressing changes, vital signs, and patient assessments.

To succeed in nursing, a strong and broad foundation must be laid to build upon. SCC’s tenured nurses are all too happy to contribute to building this foundation, seeing these novice nursing students bloom right before their eyes. For some SCC nurses, it is a completion of the circle they started many years ago, as they, too, were in the shoes of the students not so long ago. SCC LPN, and STC graduate, Manny Flores remembers it well, and now facilitates the growth of many students as they learn.

“To touch the life of a student and give them wings to grow is our goal here at Plymouth Harbor,” Karen says. “Who knows, you might find them one day in our healthcare center taking care of you!”

During the last 37 years Myron Robinson has served as President/CEO of various Urban League affiliates around the country and is a consultant to the National Urban League in New York City. He was also a Marketing & Senior Sales Executive for AT&T. Before moving to paradise in the Sarasota area in 2009, he was an Executive-in-Residence at the School of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

Myron has had a multi-faceted volunteer career. He served on numerous boards in Cleveland including John Carroll University, Key Bank and University Hospitals. He is past Chair of the Board of Directors of Doctors Hospital here in Sarasota and is serving on the Manatee County Library Board and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Myron has been a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ for seven years. He has served as a Deacon, Vice Moderator, Moderator, and Past Moderator of the Church Council. He is married to Brenda K. Robinson, a mixed-media artist. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.

“I have a passionate interest in continuing the long, productive relationship with First Congregational United Church of Christ and to further developing strategies to diversify Plymouth Harbor.”

On Friday, December 16th, Plymouth Harbor held a surprise celebration for the retirement of our longest-serving employee, housekeeper Lanette Davis. She spent her last day at Plymouth Harbor on December 30, 2016, after more than 42 years of service.

In December 1973, at 22 years old, Lanette filled out an application for a housekeeping position at the suggestion of a friend. One interview was all it took and she was on the floor the next day. Lanette credits her length of service to an outstanding work environment and exceptional leadership. Most of all, however, she credits the sense of family she feels with both her co-workers and the residents she has cared for over the years.

Residents and employees alike gathered on the Mezzanine to celebrate Lanette, honoring her decades of service with laughs, cake, memory books filled with photos, a special plaque recognizing her dedication to Plymouth Harbor, and, of course, her favorite flowers (yellow roses). Special guests in attendance included Lanette’s son and husband.

“In this type of environment, it’s not often that you see this kind of cross-culture with residents and staff,” resident Dr. Paul Groen remarked. Residents and coworkers went on to share stories of their years spent with Lanette, consistently noting her unwavering positive attitude, work ethic, and contagious smile. “In my 13 years, she’s never not had a smile on her face,” says resident Ish Pedersen with a smile. “She will be missed.”

Ozan Gökdemir is a student at New College of Florida (New College). Originally from Ankara, Turkey, he is the first recipient of a scholarship established by Plymouth Harbor resident Akgun Temizer.

In the summer of 2015, Akgun established a $1.3 million scholarship program specifically for students from his high school in Ankara to attend New College. His desire was to bring Turkish honor students to the United States to study and gain experience so they could graduate, return to Turkey, and apply what they learned here. A few months ago, Akgun generously decided to enlarge his contribution to the scholarship fund with a $1.2 million gift. His reason for doing so?

“I am a changed man from this experience,” Akgun says, referring to his relationship with Ozan. Since his arrival in September 2015, Ozan and Akgun have spent much time together, visiting and discussing his studies, their hometown of Ankara, and more.

Because New College is only able to use the income derived from the scholarship fund, the number of students awarded the scholarship varies year by year. Ozan is the only recipient to date, as the scholarship not only covers out-of-state tuition costs ($30,000 per year), but living expenses and transportation to and from Turkey for breaks and holidays. As a result of Akgun’s recent gift, more students will be given the same opportunity as Ozan.

“Originally, I set up this scholarship in my will, to begin after my passing,” Akgun explains. “I am so glad to have begun it now and be able to see the students grow.”

Akgun has received much recognition for his gifts, both locally and in Turkey. In fact, the foundation in Ankara that works with New College to identify students for the scholarship recently published a 30-year anniversary book that highlights Akgun’s scholarship as the largest contribution in their history.

In a note to Akgun in the anniversary book, Ozan wrote, “I’m blessed to be the first seed to blossom in the shade of this honorable and generous man. Can’t thank you enough, Uncle Akgun.”

This scholarship has undoubtedly changed the lives of both Akgun and Ozan. In 2018, two more students are expected to arrive at New College.

Akgun says he is most pleased to work with New College, adding, “I received the most thoughtful and beautiful holiday gift from MaryAnne Young, president of the New College Foundation. She was so busy at the college and preparing for a trip to Boston for the holidays, but she found time to bring this beautiful gift to me. I am so grateful.”

On Thursday, December 22, 2016, Plymouth Harbor held a wonderful “red carpet” Grand Opening event for our newly rejuvenated Pilgrim Hall. All in all, the event celebrations included a donor appreciation, red carpet photos, self-guided tours, a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony, and a celebratory reception.

The first Project Design Team meeting for the rejuvenation of Pilgrim Hall was held on December 22, 2015, exactly one year before the Grand Opening, and official renovations began in July 2015. Today, only seven months later, the new hall features exciting upgrades, including acoustics, seating, lighting, state-of-the-art technology, and more.

As a part of Pilgrim Hall’s Grand Opening, we have prepared a special program lineup beginning this month that will run through the end of February. These programs specifically showcase the variety of amenities that are now offered in Pilgrim Hall.

We are so very grateful to all those who helped this dream become a reality and to those who celebrated the opening of Pilgrim Hall with us. As the New Year begins, we look forward to offering many new and exciting programs here at Plymouth Harbor.

Companies That Match Employee Donations
Listed below are companies that match employee donations to non-profit organizations. Some companies even continue to match former employees’ contributions after retirement. If your company is not listed, you can find out from the human resources office if your employer offers a matching gift program. Matching gifts often double and sometimes even triple your donation.

National Companies:
3M Foundation
Abbott Laboratories
AIG (American Intl Group)
Air Products and Chemicals
Alliance Capital Management
Altria/Phillip Morris
AMD/Adv. Micro Devices
Ameren Corporation
*American Express
American Electric Power
American International Group, Inc
American Standard Foundation
AON Corporation
*Arizona Republic/Gannett
Argonaut Group
Automatic Data Processing Inc.
Auto Nation
Auto Owners Insurance
Avon Products
AXA Financial
Bank of America
Bank One
Bard Medical
Barnes Group
BAX Global
Baxter Healthcare
Best Foods
BF Goodrich Aerospace
Black & Decker Corporation
The Boeing Company
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Cable One
Cendant Corp
Charles Schwab Corp.
Circuit City
Citgo Petroleum
CAN (Insurance & Financial)
Coca-Cola Company
Compaq Computer
Countrywide Financial
Delta Air Lines
Dial Corp
Duetsche Bank/Alex Brown
Dunn & Bradstreet
Eli Lily & Company
Enterprise Rent Car
Fannie Mae
Farmers Group (Insurance)
First Data
Follett Corporation
Ford Foundation
Fortune Brands
Frito Lay Corporation
Gap Stores
General Dynamics
General Electric
*General Mills
General Motors
Gillett company
Glaxo SmithKline
Harris Trust
Hewlett Packard
Home Depot
Honeywell Hometown Solutions
Household International
IKON Office Solutions
In-N-Out Burger
International Paper Company
ITW/Illinois Tool Works
John Hancock Life Ins. Co.
Johnson & Johnson
JP Morgan Chase (Tempe)
Kaplan Educational Centers
Lehman Brothers Investments
Lockheed Martin
Lowes Home Improvements
Macy’s West
March & McLennan
MassMutual Financial Insurance
MasterCard International
May Company
Mazda North America
McKesson (Phoenix)
Merrill Lynch
Met Life
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi International
Mobil Retiree Program
Morgan Stanley
National Computer Systems
Neiman Marcus Group
Northern Trust
Northrup/General Signal
Northwest Airlines
Northwestern Mutual
OCE Digital Document Service
Oracle Corporation
*Pacific Life
Pearson NCS
Phelps Dodge
Piper Jaffray
Pitney Bowes
Procter & Gamble
Radio Shack
Rain for Rent
Ralston Purina
Robinson’s May
SAFECO Insurance
Sallie Mae
Salomon Smith Barney
Sara Lee Corporation
Shell Oil Company
Siemens Energy & Automation
Simplex Grinnell Fire System
Sony Music Entertainment, Inc
Southwest Gas
Square D
Starwood Foundation
State Farm
Subaru of America
Sun Micro Systems
Texas Instruments
Time Warner
Toys R Us/ Babies R Us
Traveler’s Express
T. Rowe Price
Tyco International
UPS – United Parcel Service
United Space alliance
United Technologies
US Airways
US Bancorp
Vanguard Group
Vulcan Materials Company
Washington Group
Washington Mutual
Wells Fargo
Weyerhaeuser Company
Wrigley Mg. Co.
Wyeth Corporation
Yum Brands

Every year every skilled nursing facility across the country is surveyed by its state licensing agency as directed by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The purpose of this survey is to determine the level of compliance each facility has with the approximately 200 rules and regulations that apply to skilled nursing facilities. These annual surveys are unannounced and usually involve four to six surveyors who spend an entire week reviewing the facility.

Smith Care Center’s (SCC) annual survey began on Monday, November 14, bright and early. The survey team began by touring SCC, including the kitchen, as well as conducting resident visits to
determine their and family members’ level of satisfaction. Questions, comments, and concerns expressed by residents, family, and visitors typically drive the next phase of the survey. In addition, staff are queried on an array of topics; delivery of services and care are observed.

We had an idea that something special was about to happen when the lead surveyor told us that they would be leaving early Wednesday afternoon (instead of Thursday or Friday). At the surveyors’ exit conference with SCC administrative staff we were informed that we had a deficiency-free survey for resident care! For comparison, the State and National average is about seven deficiencies. A deficiency-free survey is very rare.

It is a pleasure to work with such a great team of professionals in SCC. There is a dedication to doing things right and performing at a high level. We are fortunate to have the talent and support of so many staff members throughout every department of Plymouth Harbor. There is a common theme I have found with our staff. We truly care about the people who reside in Plymouth Harbor and we enjoy assisting you to live life to the fullest.

Many elementary students struggle when it comes to reading skills and comprehension. To help address this problem, Sarasota resident Ruthie Maass, a longtime kindergarten teacher who retired more than 15 years ago, began volunteering as a reading tutor.

After some time, she realized that while some schools had a plethora of volunteers, others were lacking. As a result, she began “Rockin’ Readers,” a reading program at Emma E. Booker Elementary (Booker Elementary) that pairs an adult volunteer with a small number of students ranging from kindergarten to second grade. Volunteers work with these students throughout the school year on an individual basis — building vocabulary, comprehension, and creating a positive experience when it comes to reading. The program consists of more than 120 volunteers, including Plymouth Harbor residents Barbara Bock, Celia Catlett, and the late Fran Rehl.

Celia Catlett began working as a volunteer three years ago at Fran Rehl’s suggestion. “I’ve always loved working with children, and before I became involved with Rockin’ Readers, I worked with a local literacy program,” she says. On a weekly basis, Celia works with two students at Booker Elementary. “People there are tremendously enthusiastic,” she adds. “Not only is it a lot of fun, you universally hear stories of how the children’s eyes light up.”

Barbara Bock also began her involvement at the suggestion of Fran Rehl. Seven years later, she feels just as passionate about the program as the day she started. “I was originally drawn to the program because I am a retired teacher, having taught first, second, and third grade,” Barbara says. “And I also really enjoy working with the children.” Barbara uses her talents as a former teacher to help tutor first grade students once each week at Booker Elementary.

It comes as no surprise that Fran Rehl’s number one passion before her passing (outside of her own family) was working with students at Booker Elementary. In fact, she was so passionate about tutoring that she worked with the Plymouth Harbor Foundation to ensure that her memorial gifts would be applied to a reading program that somehow benefited the families of Plymouth Harbor
employees. The Foundation is currently in the process of identifying the need and establishing a program that will fulfill Fran’s generous wish.

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about Rockin’ Readers, contact your neighbors Celia Catlett or Barbara Bock.

gh6By: Judy Sarnowski

“Smith’s Best” is a recognition that began in 2013 to honor Smith Care Center’s (SCC) staff role models. We consider these honorees to be our “Hall of Fame” — staff who have performed at a very high level over a long period of time. This is not a monthly recognition; in fact, since 2013, only 11 people have received the Smith’s Best honor.

On November 3rd, SCC staff, along with residents and Plymouth Harbor administration, recognized the 10th and 11th Smith’s Best recipients and first resident honorees. It should be no surprise that this tribute went to George and Florence Heitler!

George is Plymouth Harbor’s very own “Music Man.” His love of theater and music prompted him to share his talents and become a volunteer in SCC in the year 2000. After a decade-and-a-half and almost 200 performances leading sing-alongs at monthly birthday parties and holiday programs, George and his contingent of talented vocalists and musicians are now the longest-running entertainment production in Plymouth Harbor history.

George was no stranger to volunteer work prior to his move to Plymouth Harbor. He had served on the boards of the Chicago Public Library, the Henry Booth Settlement House, and the Longboat Key Democratic Club, and donated countless hours working with Meals on Wheels. Even at a young age, he wanted to be a man of the people and follow in the footsteps of his idol Abraham Lincoln. To that end, he received his law degree from Columbia Law School and served as legal counsel for the Army during World War II, and for National Blue Cross and Blue Shield, setting up health benefits for federal employees until he retired in 1981. Florence can also be proud of her volunteer work, which includes serving with the League of Women Voters and the Citizen Information Service, providing voter assistance to Smith Care Center residents, working with Meals on Wheels, and recording books for the blind.

SCC residents and staff consider themselves lucky to reap the benefits of such a multi-talented couple who had the determination and fortitude to make a positive difference in the lives of others. It is with great humbleness and gratitude that we bestow the honor of being the first non-staff members to receive the Smith Care Center’s “Smith’s Best” Award.


picture3There is no doubt that Plymouth Harbor’s residents and employees are dedicated to helping many charities in the Sarasota community. In an effort to organize and combine our efforts, we are installing a brand new, custom collection bin “cabinet” on the Ground Floor of the Tower, located on the open wall across from the doors to the Wellness Center. The cabinet holds openings for four separate bins, which will each be dedicated to a different organization (a rendering is pictured right).

Information on the organizations and their items for donation will be placed above each bin. This information is also listed below. The bin is expected to be installed by mid-December. We hope this will help bring Plymouth Harbor’s donation efforts together and make it easier for those who give!

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to persons in need in the Sarasota community who are unable to provide or prepare a meal for themselves in their home. Serving between 160,000 and 180,000 meals yearly, Meals on Wheels largely operates with the help of its more than 300 volunteers. Plymouth Harbor’s new collection bin will be dedicated to collecting the plastic bags needed to package meals for this organization.

All Faiths Food Bank

All Faiths Food Bank is the local food bank that provides healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. In addition to monthly sorting days with our employees, many of us donate our time and resources to this organization. All Faiths Food Bank’s bin will be dedicated to collecting the following items: packaged or canned fruit or fruit drinks (100% juice and pull-tab tops); cereal; pasta; soup; stew; kid-friendly snacks; peanut butter & jelly; canned tuna, chicken, or salmon; rice; beans of any kind; and powdered milk.

Resurrection House

Resurrection House is a day resource center for the homeless of Sarasota County, where many Plymouth Harbor residents and employees volunteer their time. The organization is always in need of donations, and Plymouth Harbor’s bin will largely collect the following items: clothing — new or gently used, especially jackets and sweatshirts at this time of year, and women’s and men’s jeans (popular waist sizes for men: 30, 32, and 34); sneakers; blankets; and travel-size toiletries.

Sarasota County Animal Services (SCAS)

Plymouth Harbor employee, and longtime SCAS volunteer, Lisa Siroky introduced us to SCAS — a local, volunteer-based shelter in need of donated items for its adoptable dogs and cats. The shelter accepts the following items for dogs: dog toys; tennis balls; wet dog food; Milk Bone treats; dog beds (soft padded kind); old towels, sheets, and blankets; and Martingale dog collars. The following items are accepted for cats: cat toys; Temptations cat treats; cat litter (any brand); wet kitten/cat food (any brand); and cat carriers (gently used or new).