Spirit of Philanthropy

By Becky Pazkowski

I am happy to say that I have met with a total of 130 residents at Plymouth Harbor since last June (just about half of our total population).  Meeting all of you continues to be my favorite part of my job . . . learning about you, your family, your career, your travels, your hobbies and passions, and what led you to Plymouth Harbor. 

I always ask if I can update you on the Foundation, and you always say yes.  Comments that I frequently hear are, “I don’t have much money to give away.”  “I know you are looking for large gifts.”  “I have a big family.”  “The poor market has eaten away at my nest egg.”

My answer is always the same . . . not everyone can make a $1,000,000 gift, but every single gift is significant.  Gift giving is very personal, and should be self-fulfilling.  When you make a gift to a cause, you should feel a sense of satisfaction and warmth having given it. 

My husband and I give to several different causes, and probably the most fulfilling for me is what we give to the music series we helped to establish in Michigan.  It’s personal and it’s emotional, and it should be for you, too.  We have received gifts from many of you recently for various causes; three in particular that I have listed below.  Individual gifts toward these three items alone range from $5 to $500.  Adding them all together, more than 70 individuals made gifts that total over $6,200.David Houle at Plymouth Harbor

Support for the David Houle book “Entering the Shift Age” where $5.00 of each sale benefited the beginnings of a library in the Smith Care Center.  This amounted to $120 total and will go a long way toward the purchase of books and audio books for our nursing and rehab residents.

dance floor at Plymouth Harbor senior living community

Support for the purchase of a portable dance floor at Plymouth Harbor, which will be used  throughout the campus.  The total amount needed is approximately $6,700 and we have support for $5,575 so far.  Only $1,125 is needed until we can purchase the portable dance floor. 

Pianist at Plymouth Harbor senior community

Support for the CD made by Ted and Fran Rehl of Ted’s most recent concert “A Romantic Piano” which featured selections by Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Grainger, Gershwin, and a group of pieces by Chopin.  The Rehl’s very generously offered this CD for a donation of any amount to benefit the improvement of the arts in Pilgrim Hall, including repair and maintenance of the Steinway piano that they donated.  As of this writing, $580 has been donated toward this cause. 

Now I ask that you consider the number of people that will be touched by the gifts in just these three examples. That would include every single resident now and into the future here at Plymouth Harbor. 

Think what would have happened if each of those 70 people decided not to donate because they thought their gift might be insignificant.  Well, we are very glad that didn’t happen.  We are grateful for every gift that is given, and we hope you will continue to feel the warmth that your gifts have generated.  Thank you for your continued support.

P.S.  If you are interested in support for the improvement of the arts or the portable dance floor, we welcome your gift of any amount.   

monarch butterfly at Plymouth Harbor When the sun and the weather are just right, it’s easy to imagine the peace to be found in a well-appointed butterfly garden.  Sarasota abounds with these delightful creations filled largely with native plants and the 170 species of butterflies that find their homes here at one time of the year or other (that’s nearly a quarter of 740 species found world-wide!)

Tillie Bessemer appreciated the delicate natural beauty of butterflies and the restorative powers of a garden in which to appreciate them. For this reason she designated a gift from her estate to provide for a butterfly garden to be maintained on the grounds of Plymouth Harbor after her passing.

Resident Fran Rehl became a member of the Grounds Committee very shortly after arriving at Plymouth Harbor in 2006. Fran never knew Tillie personally; however, she and her fellow committee members have kept her wishes in the years since.  But the labor of planting every spring, not to mention weekly weeding and pruning, can be difficult to maintain.  Butterfly gardens take loving care and attention. This is where Girl Scout Nichole Peal steps in.

Nichole, a junior at the Sarasota Military academy, is a hardworking and high-achieving young lady. She’s been in Girl Scouts for 11 years and is now an Ambassador Scout working on the coveted Gold Award, which is the highest ranking Girl Scout award one can achieve.  She got the idea to develop her service project around the Plymouth Harbor butterfly garden last autumn when she met resident Ann Brackett and VP of Philanthropy Becky Pazkowski on a visit to the Girl Scout Headquarters.

“I had just finished my Harvest Award where I had learned about butterfly gardens on a visit to the Florida Native Plant Nursery in Myakka,” says Nichole referring to another prestigious Girl Scout Senior award.  “There are so many elaborate rules for butterfly gardens like the number of plants and which ones are for the butterflies to eat and which are for laying their eggs.”

Nichole was no stranger to Plymouth Harbor having visited several times for Christmas caroling and the idea of creating a project that would have a lasting impact on this community was appealing. In fact, in her words, “It sounded cool.”

With the support of the Gulfcoast Girl Scout Council and executive director Sue Stewart, Nichole was ready to go to work.  And it’s a lot of work required to earn the Gold Award; work that she has to fit in between classes at her high school as well as at State College of Florida where she has started early, and her part-time job!

First she had to conduct serious research and prepare her plan following the first five of seven required steps – identify an issue, investigate it thoroughly, get help and build your team, create a plan, and then present the plan and gather feedback.  She’ll be purchasing the plants and getting ready for planting in mid-May. 

Be on the lookout for updates on Nichole’s progress and the rejuvenation of a beautiful butterfly garden for all to enjoy.


By Sallie van Arsdale

A cormorant splashes down beside my kayak.  It swims alongside and is so close I could touch the wet, black feathers.  Its eyes are blue-green, its beak orange tipped with a hook.  Quickly it dives under the boat.  Surfacing on the other side, it is again within reach. 

Only recently have we been favored with this friendly behavior.  There is, of course, an explanation; the cormorant is fishing.  We are in shallow water on a sunny day.  Our kayaks cast shadows which seem to help the birds see their small darting prey.  Apparently, too, cormorants have learned that kayaks are harmless.  They see them nearly every day in the bay off Plymouth Harbor so familiarity has overcome fear, at least for the local, winged divers. 

Although cormorants are experts at fishing, a successful catch can take many tries.  Once it occurs, to see a bird with a beak full carefully maneuver its captured prize into swallowing position and gulp it down is fascinating.  One is tempted to call out, “Congratulations!” despite the fate of the fish. 

Cormorants have to be accomplished underwater swimmers to survive.  Wide, webbed feel propel their streamlined bodies through speedy twists and turns in pursuit of their agile food source.  As a good example of double use, the same feet serve as flying brakes.  When a cormorant on the wing comes in for a water landing, each wide-spread foot is thrust out in front to hit the water first and slow forward motion.  The technique works perfectly and is fun to watch, especially when the splashdown is next to you. 

Our cormorant encounters are a continuing pleasure—even a privilege.  After all, how often does one share, if just for seconds, a degree of closeness with a wild creature?

Photos courtesy of Lou Newman

Participating in exercise benefits all components of health and is important for all ages.  Aerobic exercising and strength training creates a strong immune system by improving cardiovascular and lymphatic circulation.  Keeping fit also helps increase blood flow, which benefits all parts of the body.  Increased blood flow helps the liver detoxify waste more resourcefully, the heart to perform its many functions efficiently, and the brain to think better and quicker. The likelihood to develop dementia, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancers are decreased with regular exercise. 

A study about living longer by exercising was conducted by a team of researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute (Halvorson, 2013) The researchers took findings from six different studies and looked at a total of 650,000 people between the ages of 21-90 over a 10 year period (Halvorson, 2013)

Their results show that participating in 75 minutes of low activity per week, such as walking, added 1.8 years onto the life expectancy, compared with no exercise (Halvorson, 2013).  Participating in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week added an average of 3.4-4.5 years onto the life expectancy, compared with no exercise (Halvorson, 2013). Inactivity results in 3.1 fewer years than the life expectancy.

All of these factors and research indicates that exercise and physical activity is required to live a long, healthy life!


Halvorson, R. (2013). Leisure-time physical activity adds years to your life. IDEAfit, 10(2), Retrieved from http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/leisure-time-physical-activity-adds-years-to-your-life

In 1972, Beaulah Gaither and her husband Bob were proud to be working at Plymouth Harbor. It was the glamorous retirement community built in 1967 whose striking tower, the city’s tallest building, sat right on the shore of Sarasota Bay.  “It was a real nice place and we enjoyed the residents,” says Beualah who celebrated her own retirement at the end of March 2013 after 39 years of service. 

She and her husband Bob worked in housekeeping together until Bob retired after 37 years. During that time their work at Plymouth Harbor had become a family affair.  All three of their daughters as well as their son worked there when they came of age.  The entire family pulled together and all four children graduated from college and are enjoying successful careers. The daughters manage medical practices and the son owns his own mechanic shop. Beaulah and Bob can be proud of these many accomplishments.

Jim Myers, their supervisor for 25 of those years, knew the entire family well. According to his stories, they were an important thread in the fabric of life for their co-workers and the residents they served. From all reports, Beaulah always has a smile, rarely a complaint, and is quick to help out someone who needed a boost.

Resident Joan Runge knew Beaulah not as a housekeeper, but as one of her best customers at the Fund Shop.  “She was always stopping in to buy something pretty for one of her ‘babies’,” says Joan. One might ask if she meant one of her five children, grandchildren, or even one of her co-workers who seemed to call Beaulah “Mama.” 

At her retirement celebration on April 1, friends, co-workers, and residents gathered to honor “Mama” and speak to the many ways in which Beaulah enriched the lives of everyone at Plymouth Harbor for nearly four decades. Many friends who had already retired or that were not scheduled to work that day came in just to say good-bye. That is how special a lady she was to so many.  

Harry Hobson, Plymouth Harbor’s CEO, surely appreciated her service but was concerned, he said, with a projected decline in income from the Fund Shop after Beaulah’s retirement.  Of course this was all in jest, but Harry did point out that her husband Bob had told him that at the end of every day as he waited outside in his car to drive her home he asked himself, “What WILL she bring home today from the Fund Shop?”  According to Bob, they used to have a garage that echoed. Now he can barely park the car in it. LOL!

At this farewell party Beaulah was showered with well wishes, a basket of goodies, a big bouquet of roses and a certificate for a special weekend retreat at the Lido Beach Resort. She also was able to go home with a large photo of Plymouth Harbor filled with loving messages from her many admirers.

Thank you, Beaulah Gaither, for your many years of hard work, generous service, and loving kindness.

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Phil Starr was introduced to dancing when he was 16 years old, by his wise mother. He suspects that her motivation was to ensure she always had a dance partner. However, in her infinite wisdom she raised a young man who would make his dancing-inclined wife very happy one day.

Phil and Barry Starr

Phil and Barry Starr

That day came 55 years ago in 1958 when Phil was asked to teach his younger brother and his fiancé how to cha cha before their wedding in 1959. Friends–and their girlfriends–also wanted to learn, which left Phil the only person in the group without a partner. A friend’s younger sister, Barry, was asked to be Phil’s blind date. Even though Barry brought to the dance lesson her college roommates, she was the one who had the dance talent who caught Phil’s eye, and his heart.

Phil’s father was active in insuring the Ringling Brothers’ Circus, which required frequent trips to Sarasota and on one trip he acquired several homes on Longboat Key as an investment.

Phil and Barry danced their way through the courtship and Phil popped the question while attending a chaperoned house party at his parent’s home on Longboat Key.

After their marriage in 1960 Phil and Barry lived an active life in their Kansas City community, participating in their childrens’ school, their church, and the Boy Scouts. Phil was awarded the Silver Antelope, the highest volunteer award given by the Regional Board of the Boy Scouts of America. As an Eagle Scout Phil enrolled his sons in the Boy Scouts when they reached the proper age, and both sons and three grandsons also became Eagle Scouts.

Life happened, their children grew, and they began to find other ways to share their love of dancing. They started teaching foxtrot, waltz, tango, rhumba, and swing to a group of 10 friends in their basement. What started as a small group ended up as a group of 30. They added sizzle to the experience by capping off a 10-week course with a black tie dance party with live music at their country club.

Phil and Barry Starr ready for a dance competition.

Phil and Barry Starr ready for a dance competition.

In 1982, after a severe bout of pneumonia, Phil and Barry followed doctor’s orders of sunshine and relaxation by spending a month at the beachfront home of his parents on Longboat Key. After their return to Kansas City they enrolled in serious dance classes with a professional dance teacher couple John and Diana Berry. Lessons three times a week gave them plenty of exercise and eventually they entered dance competitions around the United States including the Sam Sodano’s Ohio Star Ball made famous by the annual PBS TV show. At one point they were coached by an English ballroom champion when he visited the Berry Dance Studio in Kansas City.

Phil retired in 1991 and he and Barry changed their legal residence to Longboat Key Florida in 2000. When friends moved into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in 2011, they were urged to do the same. Although they didn’t think they were ready for such a place, their minds changed when they met current residents and sampled the many programs at Plymouth Harbor. They took the plunge. And “we haven’t looked back” says Phil. There is more to do, but freedom to do nothing, and the food is like eating on a cruise ship–all you need and then even more.

Of course their activity is not confined to within the campus of Plymouth Harbor. The Starrs enjoy dining at Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key, the Salty Dog on New Pass, and Andrea’s on Siesta Road. They make it a point to visit Mote Marine Aquarium as well as to attend the ballet, the opera, and the symphony–all very close to Plymouth Harbor.

Art is a particular interest of theirs as they are avid collectors of glass sculptures–and we don’t mean just nice paperweights. They have become acquainted with and have collected work by some of the most renowned glass artists of our time. Their apartment is beautifully designed to show off each work of art and they enthusiastically share the story behind each treasure with joy.

Two of the Starr's beloved glass sculptures.

Two of the Starr's beloved glass sculptures.

The Starrs say they couldn’t be happier with their lives at Plymouth Harbor. They are looking forward to more dancing opportunities in the near future as a new dance floor is planned for the updated Wellness Center and funds are being donated to buy a portable dance floor for various locations, including the dining room and the outside pool area. All this dancing must be modified as Barry had two back surgeries, which have disturbed her sense of balance. But dancing skills, like riding a bicycle, aren’t easily forgotten. Phil and Barry believe dancing is a good exercise activity and they hope to participate fully.

by Harry Hobson

We are very happy to announce our new legacy society at Plymouth Harbor, The MacNeil Society.  The MacNeil Society recognizes people who have thoughtfully included a gift to The Plymouth Harbor Foundation in their estate through a bequest, gift annuity agreement, trust arrangements, life insurance, or retirement plan.  When you name The Plymouth Harbor Foundation in your estate plans you have, in essence, declared to your family and friends that you truly believe in Plymouth Harbor’s mission and commit to the vision for its future.

Founder of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, Rev Dr. John Whitney MacNeil

The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil

It is only fitting that this esteemed legacy be named for the person in our history whose vision and persistence was his lasting statement of faith in Plymouth Harbor, The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil.  Through the astute vision of Dr. MacNeil, Plymouth Harbor was founded in 1966.  From the first organizational meeting in 1961 to welcoming the first resident in 1966, Dr. MacNeil was committed

committed to establishing a retirement community in Sarasota.  Today, our campus is filled with vibrant, active residents to whom we have promised to provide care as long as they are with us.

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When you make a gift in any amount to The Plymouth Harbor Foundation from your will, trust, retirement plan, or other estate plan, you become a member of The MacNeil Society.

We ask that you inform us of your plans and complete a Declaration of Gift Intent, which is available through the Foundation Office. The Plymouth Harbor Foundation records your membership into The MacNeil Society, which means you will be recognized in the Honor Roll of Generosity as part of an exclusive group of people who share Dr. MacNeil’s commitment to Plymouth Harbor’s mission and vision.

If you would like more information about membership in The MacNeil Society, and the many ways you can make a planned gift benefitting the mission of Plymouth Harbor, contact Becky Pazkowski at The Plymouth Harbor Foundation at 941.361.7398 or via e-mail at beckyp@pharbor.org.

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Annotated Website Bibliography Homework essay with homework essay writers know for me to the best academic writing. An ielts essay writer will need to buy essays are the why should be. Give your responsibility to clever motifs graphic design solutions 4 webmasters forum my homework. Supporting Employee Education by Becky Pazkowski

Building a strong sense of community and creating an outstanding older adult living community depends, in no small part, upon the quality of the work force. In the spirit of a deep culture of fellowship, and an equal emphasis on recruiting, hiring, retaining, and developing the best work force possible, Plymouth Harbor offers education assistance to its cherished employees. Educational assistance is funded through the Mildred and Bernard Doyle Trust, administered by Northern Trust, and through charitable gifts to the Employee Assistance Fund, administered by The Plymouth Harbor Foundation. It is our goal to continue to award these scholarships annually.

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Through the generosity of the Doyle’s, former Plymouth Harbor residents, the Doyle Scholarships provide educational assistance to a worthy and needy employee or high school senior child of an employee seeking to increase their skills or to obtain a higher education. Up to two scholarships are awarded annually.

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We are very happy to announce that this year, through past generous donations, several new scholarships will be available for employees, and in some cases their immediate family members, through The Plymouth Harbor Foundation. Applicants must be employed for at least 12 months by Plymouth Harbor. The following describes the new scholarship offerings.

Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship

Supports educational opportunities for housekeeping employees and their immediate family members. One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded annually.

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Supports educational endeavors of current Plymouth Harbor employees who are seeking post-secondary degrees, certifications, or specialty training in any field. One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded annually.

Nursing Education Scholarship

Supports educational endeavors in pursuit of post-secondary degrees in nursing from an accredited college or university. Up to five $2,000 scholarships will be awarded annually.

We are grateful to the donors whose gifts to the Employee Assistance Fund have made possible these scholarships currently and in the past. Continued offering of these opportunities annually depends upon charitable support.