It’s that time again…to vote for the Herald-Tribune’s Readers’ Choice Award. There is a lot to celebrate at the beautiful Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay!

Vote Plymouth Harbor for 2012/2013 Reader's Choice Award!

Vote Plymouth Harbor for 2012/2013 Readers' Choice Award!

Whichever business gets the most votes will be named the Readers’ Choice winner. Cast your vote by the deadline, 12/12/12, and you may win $1,000 cash! Pick up your official ballot at the Herald-Tribune Media Group or go online at to submit your ballot.

You could also complete your official ballot at Plymouth Harbor. Voting assistance tables will be located in the business center and in the lobby to assist you in completing the official ballot. Voting times are Monday – Friday from 11am-1pm and 3-4pm. We need your vote in order for Plymouth Harbor to win the Honor of Readers’ Choice!

For the Ballot to be valid, you must fill out the following:

  1. Name and Date of Birth
  2. Address and Phone Number
  3. Your Signature
  4. You MUST fill out at least 25 categories

Please include Plymouth Harbor as your choice for:

  • Best Retirement Community
  • Best Non-Profit Organization
  • Best Assisted Living Facility
  • Best Waterfront Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant with a View

Margaret is originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica. She moved to the United States in 1999 and has lived in Employee of the Month for December 2012the Sarasota area since 2003. Her mother, brother, and sister live in the area as well.

Margaret graduated from the Continental Academy in Coral Gables, FL in 2002 and received her LPN license from Manatee Technical Institute in 2007. Previously working at Bradenton Health Care, and Riviera Palms as an LPN, Margaret came to Plymouth Harbor in October of 2009 as a full time, morning nurse.

Margaret has received “exceeds standards” remarks on her most recent appraisal in her Job Knowledge, Efficiency, and Attitude. Her supervisor describes her as very competent and proficient. She is quiet and goes about her work with a smile.

Notes from her nomination forms read:

Margaret deserves to be Employee of the Month because of her dedication to Plymouth Harbor. She is a wonderful, caring, compassionate nurse. Margaret comes to the rescue when needed to fill in for call-offs or in the 3-11 shift. Margaret is very cheerful and always has a positive attitude, she never complains.

On a personal note, Margaret is mom to son Damarian (9) who plays basketball and keeps her very busy. She enjoys evenings out with friends when not busy with her son.

It is our privilege to recognize Margaret today as the “Employee of the Month” for December 2012. As a tangible expression of our appreciation, you will have sole use of the Employee of the Month reserved parking space during the entire month of December. You will also receive $100 in cash and eight hours of PTO. This honor will also be noted in an upcoming issue of the resident publication, The Harbor Light.

Employee of the month November 2012Jorge is originally from Montevideo, Uruguay. He lived in New York where he worked at Value Restaurant Corp. for almost 20 years. He held several positions including Server and Kitchen Steward. His previous employer described him as very responsible, reliable, dedicated, and very easy to work with. He was their best worker and an excellent all-around employee.

Jorge relocated to Sarasota in 2011 and came to Plymouth Harbor as a full time Steward that August. He has only been with Plymouth Harbor for a year, and has already received “Exceed Standard” remarks on his appraisals for Job Knowledge, Quality of Work, Efficiency, Attitude, Responsiveness to Supervisor, Attendance, Personal Conduct, and Relationship with People.

His supervisors describe him as thorough and clean, neat and tidy; always finishing his duties quickly and with quality in mind helping others reach the same quality. “Jorge is a team player and always upbeat, which makes others feel more positive. Jorge is one of our best employees who sets the bar high.”

His colleagues say: “Jorge definitely has the requirements to be nominated for Employee of the Month. He is always smiling and a pleasure to work with. His job is always done with pride and efficiency. Jorge can often be found on his down time doing additional projects without needing to be asked.”

Jorge says that he loves working at Plymouth Harbor, because he is part of a wonderful team.

Friday, November 23 at 3pm in Pilgrim Hall

David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans of TWO OF A KIND

David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans of TWO OF A KIND

TWO OF A KIND delights audiences of all ages with their music, good humor, and audience participation. David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans of TWO OF A KIND love bringing people together and building community through music. Their beautiful harmonies accompanied by David’s powerful, rhythmic guitar playing and Jenny’s multi-ethnic percussion instruments create magic on stage.
An award-winning husband-wife duo, TWO OF A KIND presents concerts for families and children of all ages, including songs, puppets, movement, and stories – all with an emphasis on interaction and participation. Themes of songs and stories range from reading and books, friendship and animals, to social issues such as the environment, conflict resolution, and diversity. TWO OF A KIND helps audiences of all ages feel that they can create music and that they can make a difference in the world.
“Our songs are written out of great respect for children – their experiences, their sophistication and their desire to explore big issues. Our goal is to provide quality music that speaks to children and adults, and helps them to become people who make a positive contribution to the world – and to have fun at the same time!”

By Becky Pazkowski, Vice President of Philanthropy

Last weekend, I was walking across the John Ringling Bridge on my morning walk when I noticed a women – of more years than I – walking along slowly, holding on to the railing. She wore a cotton house dress and carried a water bottle around her waist and a tote over her shoulder. Lots of people walk and run that bridge, as you are aware, but, this was the first time I had seen a women of this many years taking the journey.

Plymouth Harbor next to Ringling bridge in Sarasota

Many Sarasotans walk the bridge for fitness and peace of mind.woman – of more years than I- walking along slowly, holding on to the railing. She wore a cotton house dress and carried a water bottle around her waist and a tote over her shoulder. Lost of people walk and run that bridge, as you are aware, but, this was the first time I had seen a woman of this many years making the journey.

When I reached her I said hello and asked how she was doing. She was fine, she said. I asked if she made this walk often. No, this was the first time. I commented that it was a tough walk. She said it wasn’t tough, just long. She assured me that she was going to go slow, and was hoping there would be a bench at the other end where she could sit and rest while waiting for the #4 bus. Satisfied that she was safe, I moved on.

What happened next was wonderful. A young man (when I say young I mean in his 40s) was jogging behind me. When he reached me, he asked me if the woman was okay. I told him what she told me. He said his car was on the other side, and if she needed a ride he would be happy to give it to her. Why was this wonderful? This young man saw something out of the ordinary, and he stopped to see if there was anything he could do. He was probably busy, deep in thought, and could have passed by without another thought. But he didn’t.

After a few more steps, I stopped and looked back. The young man had waited for the woman and was talking with her. I waited a little longer until she caught up with me again, and asked if she was sure I couldn’t walk with her. She said she was a nurse, 90 years old, going to be fine, and very grateful for our concern. Then she said, “I am going to write to my daughters and let them know I found a couple more.” I didn’t ask what she’d found, but I assume she meant friends.

When I reached Bird Key Park, I looked back until I saw her making her way down to the Park. She had indeed made the journey, and I was glad to see that she had done it without our help, but certainly with a few caring hearts embracing her journey. It made my heart a little lighter that day, just letting her know that I cared.

That is what life is like here at Plymouth Harbor….caring hearts embracing each others’ journey. Many gentle acts of kindness happen every day at Plymouth Harbor, and we don’t always hear about them. We wouldn’t be surprised to know they happen, but it warms our hearts to know when it does.

Just last week, I learned of an employee who was on a family medical leave, and had reached the end of her own “paid time off” and would not be paid for the rest of her leave time. As is the case with most of us, that would have been devastating financially. Quietly, other staff member and management rallied around her and donated their own “paid off time” so that she would continue to receive a paycheck. She was touched and very grateful. But those who were able to help her felt even better than she did!

Another employee’s child was in need of a surgery, which would be covered through health insurance. However, the surgery had to take place across the state, entailing travel and lodging costs, something they were not planning on or prepared to pay for. The Plymouth Harbor Employee Assistance Fund, funded through donations, was able to cover those costs for the family.

Employees at Plymouth Harbor, organized under the caring leadership of Bert Adams (who you all know, I’m sure) have formed a group called Plymouth Harbor Volunteers Who Care. This group regularly gathers together to help All Faiths Food Bank distribute donated food to the needy. The group also has adopted John Ringling Boulevard in an effort to Keep Sarasota Beautiful, helped build Habitat for Humanity homes for our Sarasota neighbors, and came to the aid of those in Arcadia who needed relief during hurricane Charlie. When I spoke with Bert, her face lit up when she started talking about everything the PH Volunteers Who Care had done.

Together, we are a community of caring hearts, embracing the journey of others, performing gentle acts of kindness along the way. Stay alert, observe, and let me know of other gentle acts that you encounter. They are happening all around us, because it is how we behave here at Plymouth Harbor. I am proud to be among you.

Congratulations, Patricia, who has been nominated by her peers to receive the Employee of the Month Award and is the winner of the “Employee of the Month” for January 2013.

Patricia Martinez, Employee of the Month 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 and previously worked at The Springs and at 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, and  an asset to the Plymouth Harbor staff.

Her nomination form reads, “Patricia is kind and considerate, friendly and helpful.  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 today as the “Employee of the Month” for January 2013.  As a tangible expression of our appreciation, she will have sole use of the Employee of the Month reserved parking space during the entire month of January.  She will also receive $100 in cash and eight hours of PTO.  This honor will also be noted in an upcoming issue of the resident publication, The Harbor Light.

Move-In Date: September 22, 2011

John was in the gold business. It is tempting to visualize young John, pick axe in hand, but it was his grandfather who was in the Klondike gold rush, struck gold, and later started the Williams Gold Refining company in Buffalo, NY, in 1912. John was CEO of the business, which involved precious metals for the dental business, and highly sophisticated metals for the semiconductor industry, from 1958 until the business was sold in 1986. John got his flying license at the age of 17, butflew his father’s Waco biplane on floats when he was eight on their way up to their summer home on Kawagama Lake in Ontario. He needed three cushions to be able to see out of the cockpit. He continued flying all his life, and owned a series of planes. The last one was a pressurized Cessna P-210 which he and Ann, who is also a pilot, flew all over the US and Canada, and even flew to Alaska on a five-week odyssey.

John met Ann on Kawagama Lake where her father, a professor of geology at Colgate, also had a summer home. John was 20 and Ann was 17 when they met. For three years they were an item until John became an Air Intelligence Officer during the Korean War. By that time, John had earned his BS degree from Yale in Business Administration, having been elected as a junior to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. John married, returned to Buffalo, and was the father of three children.

Meanwhile, Ann, who had grown up at Colgate University as a faculty kid, graduated from Skidmore College in 1953. She soon married, and supported about-to-be doctor husband. When they adopted two sons and a daughter, she became a full time house mother. With the exception of three stints around Washington, she lived in Columbia, MO, where her husband was Dean of the Medical School of the University of Missouri.

With the end of John’s marriage, he went looking for Ann. It seemed not to have taken much persuading to convince her to move to snowy Buffalo where they stayed until 1986 when they sold the business and moved to Bird Key. The Bird Key canal was home to a series of boats rigged for fishing and traveling, they cruised in the Bahamas for as much as six weeks at a time. With the larger boats gone, they had an electric powered boat for quiet cocktail trips around the Bird Key canals. Both boats and planes are now behind them, but their passion for bridge remains. Cooking for both of them, and for Ann, Mah Jongg, continue to be equally absorbing. Volunteer work has always been important in their lives. Ann’s chief commitment is to All Angels by the Sea. Her long term devotion to health care and to Hospice culminated two years ago as she was given the 20 year award by Hospice.

Can this busy pair work Plymouth Harbor activities into their schedule? They have many, many friends here already. John and Ann say they have simplified their lives so they will be real Plymouth Harbor residents.

Harry HobsonIt is hard to believe that the Holiday Season is just around the corner.  Thanksgiving is the official day that ushers in this festive time of the year. Thanksgiving also causes us to pause long enough to express appreciation to those who have given of themselves in so many ways, including philanthropically, by making a positive difference in the lives of others. This month I would like to highlight a special act of philanthropy.

Former president of the Residents Association and present member of the Philanthropic Advisory Committee, Jack Denison, recently visited with me to share his desire to sponsor one or more staff members in a career advancement opportunity. The spirit of this gift is to grant someone an opportunity to learn more about his or her profession in a forum off the Plymouth Harbor campus. The immediate goal is to bring new ideas back to Plymouth Harbor. The longer term goal is to produce a “win-win” scenario for both the staff member who grows professionally, coupled with enhanced resident care practices that will ultimately benefit the residents of Plymouth Harbor. I am pleased to announce that because of this gift, Liz Clark, LPN in the Smith Care Center who has been with Plymouth Harbor for 24 years, will be attending the LeadingAge Florida Leadership Academy this fall/winter. The Academy is a collaboration between our state long-term care trade association, LeadingAge Florida, and the University of Florida. It is designed to provide a challenging and engaging three-month learning experience to help aging services professionals at any level in their organization accelerate their leadership development so they are better equipped to serve our field. In essence, the mission of the Leadership Academy is to develop the next generation of leaders who will transform the aging services field and fulfill the leadership needs of our members. As a member of the Advisory Board of the Leadership Academy, I am also pleased to share with you that Brandi Burgess, Smith Care Center admissions coordinator, and Rob Kelly, director of accounting, are both graduates of the Academy. This “Spirit of Philanthropy” by Jack Denison is an illustration of the synergy that exists so often between residents and staff to produce this thing we often refer to at Plymouth Harbor as “The Sense of Community.”

We’ve made a few significant changes to the group exercise class schedule:

Starting November 1st

ALL group fitness classes are FREE of charge (This includes Tai Chi and Yoga)

A Great BALANCE Class! A significant number of residents have requested “balance” classes. Did you know that Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise for balance and coordination? Are you not sure what Tai Chi is? Come by to observe, come by to try it out. These classes are held on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m., and starting November 12th (no class November 5th) they’re FREE, so why not try it?

A NEW yoga class format! By request from several residents, I have asked Ami French (our yoga instructor) to change the current class to incorporate a more traditional class format, one that would appeal to the majority of yoga participants. She feels that she will also be able to tailor the new class to accommodate those who have been doing chair-yoga. So, all can now participate! Please come, starting Wednesday, November 2nd at 9:00 a.m. to try out the NEW yoga class and receive the numerous benefits of this type of exercise.

We hope that this NO-FEE policy for the Tai Chi and Yoga classes will entice more residents to participate in these excellent classes.