Picture1 (3)Marty (Martha) Buenneke moved into Plymouth Harbor 11 years ago, in October 2004. Prior to her move here, she always considered herself an active person. Not only was she an active member of the Des Moines, Iowa, community as a volunteer, she served as President of United Way and was a member of a number of other not-for-profit boards. Marty also stayed active by reading, writing, gardening, and exercising.

“I always had to be doing something,” she says of herself. So naturally, when the Wellness Center opened in September 2014, Marty became one of the “regulars.” And even though she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease some 22 years ago, Marty hasn’t let it hold her back. “I believe that you have to keep moving,” she says. “Exercise is one of the most important things anyone can do.”

When Marty first moved into Plymouth Harbor, she didn’t know a soul. She’s made countless friends since then, but she says the Wellness Center has provided a great way for her to meet new people. “I’m not shy, as you can tell,” she laughs. “It’s nice to see different people down there.”

You can find her in the Wellness Center almost every day, whether she’s doing her daily 45 minutes on the NuStep or attending the Body Moves fitness class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On top of that, Marty also works with a personal trainer each week to improve her swimming.

In addition to the physical aspect of wellness, Marty also embraces her artistic side, with her own station in the Art Studio. While she’s not always in the studio, she stresses the importance of staying active in many different ways. Marty is truly is an inspiration for overall wellness, and encourages others to keep wellness top of mind.

“The Wellness Center is heavily used by a lot of people, but I wish there were more,” she says. “We’re lucky to have it.”

 

11220073_10203851021984159_73092776949619558_nIn October, we shared that OnBoard, Plymouth Harbor’s new employee wellness program, received LeadingAge Florida’s Best Practice Award. This month, we’d like to provide a closer look into OnBoard and why it was formed.

OnBoard incorporates comprehensive wellness programs within each of the seven dimensions of wellness — Environmental/Community, Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Professional/Vocational, Social, and Spiritual. Our inspiration for building this program came not only from our employees, but also from our residents. Building a strong sense of community and creating an outstanding living environment depends, in no small part, upon our success in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and developing the highest quality workforce. It is the combination of residents, employees, and services that makes Plymouth Harbor one of the nation’s top Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

OnBoard was implemented as a formal program in September 2014. Throughout the planning process, it was evident that many current benefits (like scholarships, complimentary flu vaccinations, volunteer programs, etc.) fell within the framework of a defined employee wellness program. But we also recognized a great opportunity for growth. Therefore, we formed a small planning group and set to work developing a program that would build asdfhkajsDF KAsdfstronger, healthier employees; encourage mentoring relationships with residents and employees; and contribute to overall employee happiness.

To do this, OnBoard focuses on achieving whole-person wellness, rather than on one specific area, such as fitness or exercise. For that reason, we offer numerous programs within each wellness dimension. Pictured right are just a few of the many programs and events that OnBoard is responsible for. We’re excited to offer this program to our employees and will strive to improve it with each passing year.

 

Steve Hiking 1He doesn’t say so, but one can easily imagine why the Sarasota born and bred Steve Matosky found the Appalachian Trail alluring when he first read an article about it long ago. Winding through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range, the Appalachian Trail was a world away from the flat sands of Siesta Key.  The third oldest of nine children, Steve has six brothers and two sisters. Yet, he was the only one who dreamed of hiking the Trail.

The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length from the southern point at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern tip at Katahdin, Maine.

Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike”, meaning they try to hike the entire trail in one season.

Steve Hiking 2The majority of hikers on the trail are day hikers who only hike a couple sections in their lifetime.

Steve Hiking 5“I am a section hiker who does 1 or 2 sections on the AT a year,” says Steve. “I have hiked at least one section a year since 1992. The only year I missed hiking was 1995.” For an exact number, Steve has set out on the Appalachian Trail 27 different times in the past 23 years.  His goal is to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

“My shortest hike was a 14 miler where I filled in a gap,” he adds. “My longest hike was in 2014. It was 137 miles long in Pennsylvania. I have hiked a little over 1700 miles of the Trail, and have just a little over 400 miles left to do.”

Steve started this quest with three years of hiking with the Riverview-Booker Junior ROTC units as a chaperone. During those three years of hiking with thirty high school boys and girls, they covered the segments from Springer Mountain, Georgia north to the entrance to the Smoky Mountains.  He and up to four other chaperones enjoyed the company of “an interesting mix” of young people.  We can guess they had their hands full!

For most of the other years of hiking Steve was accompanied by his buddies from the Sarasota Sheriff’s office where they all worked until retirement. Together with Rob Crane, Doug Glaser, Pete Berkery, Steve tells of being spooked by the occasional bear and almost stepping on a sizable rattlesnake…twice.

Steve Hiking 3Steve admits to the classic falling off stepping stones into the stream at least twice and hard hiking days when he doubted he could do it again the next day. But the most memorable experiences were short meetings with hikers he would never meet again who had their own stories of why they were on the Trail and the long talks with his friends.

Steve retired from the Sheriff’s Department after 33 years of service and joined the security team at Plymouth Harbor four years ago where he enjoys helping the residents.  He and his buddies still hike the Appalachian Trail. Steve only have four more segments to hike, approximately 452 miles, to have completed the entire A.T.

Steve Hiking 4Here is his list: Lehigh Gap, PA to Culvers Gap, NJ (66 miles), Lee, MA to VT 11/30 (48 miles), Rutland VT to Hanover, NH (98 miles), and Gorham, NH to midpoint of 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine on AT (240 miles).

Short on words, Steve admits that the unforgettable vistas, sunrises, and sunsets in the mountains are something that the majority of people will never experience. Even then, he says, that “feeling of the Trail” is different for everyone.

“As the guidebooks say, ‘hike your own hike,’ and that is what I have done!”

 

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!

 

Louise PhillipsEach month, Plymouth Harbor staff are encouraged to nominate and vote on one of their peers to be honored as Plymouth Harbor’s “Employee of the Month.”

The hard-working individual to receive this honor for October 2014 is Certified Nurse Assistant (CAN) Louise Phillips.  Prior to joining the Smith Care Center team in July 2005 as a full time CAN, Louise had served residents of Plymouth Harbor in her capacity as a CAN on contract with the independent home nursing agency, Take Care of Sarasota.

Obviously, Louise made a good impression on Plymouth Harbor, or maybe it was the other way around!

Throughout her years at Plymouth Harbor Louise has received exemplary ratings on her appraisals for Job Knowledge and Quality of Work.

Here are some of the words used to describe her work ethic and professionalism:

Louise tends to her duties thoroughly and with great dedication.

  • Her ‘can do’ attitude is a strong influence on her team.
  • She is well liked by her peers and the residents, and has earned respect in her field.
  • Her vast experience helps her model the younger and newer staff into strong team players.
  • Her heart is good and she provides great care for the residents.
  • She is one of the pillars for the night shift and we are thankful that she is part of the night team.

Louise’s Employee of the Month nomination reads:  “Louise is a great C.N.A. She doesn’t mind going the extra mile and she is willing to help her co-workers in any way she can.  It is a pleasure to work with her.”

Congratulations, Louise. It’s an honor to have you on our team! 

On behalf of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, we are delighted to award scholarships this 2014-2015 academic year to four worthy individuals.

Carol Bello and MotherCarol Bello has been awarded the Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship.  Carol is the daughter of Martha Chavez, a member of our housekeeping department.  She is enrolled at Florida State University this fall, working toward her bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Criminology and Political Science.  Her longer term plans are to attend law school.  While her eligibility for the scholarship was due to her mother’s employment at Plymouth Harbor, Carol herself is employed as a dietary aide in the Smith Care Center for a few more weeks, as she prepares to return to school in Tallahassee this month.

Bea Davis was a 38-year employee of Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Her Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a housekeeping employee or their immediate family member.

 

Tara MitchellTara Mitchell has been awarded the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship.  Enrolled at State College of Florida, Tara is working toward her RN degree.  She is currently a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and has been an employee for over eight years.  She is completing her final pre-requisites to the RN program and will be able to begin that program this 2014-2015 academic year.  She plans to go on to earn her BSN after obtaining her RN certification.

Jane Smiley is a beloved resident of Plymouth Harbor who established this scholarship in support of our employees who wish to increase their education. 

 

 

Lucy Guzman

Amy RiceAmy Rice has been awarded the Evelin Corsey Scholarship. Amy is a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).  She will use her scholarship to obtain a special certification in wound care that is available to LPNs.  Amy has been an employee of Plymouth Harbor for over one year.

The Evelin Corsey Scholarship was established through a bequest from Evelin Corsey, a resident at Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Ms. Corsey loved the employees of Plymouth Harbor.

Lucy Guzman has been awarded a General Education Scholarship.  Lucy has been employed at Plymouth Harbor as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the Smith Care Center for nearly four years.  She is enrolled in and currently attending classes at the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy to obtain her license as a Massage Therapist.  Lucy is also a Certified Phlebotomy Technician.

General Education Scholarships are funded through the Plymouth Harbor Foundation by generous donors who wish to show their support for the employees of Plymouth Harbor.  

Scholarship recipients Yaima Comas, the eldest of four siblings who moved to Sarasota from Cuba with their father in 2005, advises her younger brother and sisters to “take things seriously and pay attention to  your studies.”  Having escaped Cuba’s political oppression, and potential imprisonment for his beliefs, Yaima’s father values the freedom that education offers.  She is motivated to learn as much as she can, to achieve her goals and make her father proud.

Daphne Weeks also faced many obstacles in her younger years, but she is determined not let her past define who she is.  Her goals clearly developed and she has plotted her course to success.

Thanks to the foresight and generosity of former Plymouth Harbor residents Mildred and Bernard Doyle, both Yaima and Daphne will receive the financial support needed to help them achieve their educational goals.

The Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust was established as a means to provide ongoing educational assistance to “a worthy and needy child of an employee of Plymouth Harbor” or “a worthy and needy employee seeking to increase their skills or to obtain a higher education.”  This was the result of their great affection for the employees they had come to know so well during their residency at Plymouth Harbor.

Twenty-five scholarships have been awarded to Plymouth Harbor employees and their children since 1999.  Each year a scholarship committee at Northern Trust Bank, which includes former Plymouth Harbor executive director Jack Smith who knew the Doyle’s well, selects two recipients of the $5,000 scholarship.

The two recipients this year could not have been more surprised or elated.  Each had put considerable effort into the application, but they knew the competition for this honor is stiff.

When Daphne and Yaima were invited to join a gathering of Plymouth Harbor’s management team on May 30, Daphne may have suspected the reason.  Before President/CEO Harry Hobson could even announce this year’s Doyle scholarship winners, tears were spilling down her cheeks. “I was speechless and overwhelmed when I heard the news,” exclaimed Daphne.  Daphne’s heartfelt emotion was contagious and before Harry finished his congratulatory speech, there were few dry eyes in the room.

Yaima added, “I couldn’t believe it at first.  I thought I was dreaming.  It took me a few hours to realize it was really happening!”

Currently serving as a certified nursing assistant (C.N.A.) in the Smith Care Center, Daphne says she has always dreamed of pursuing a career in nursing.  She began early with dual enrollment at Sarasota High School and Sarasota County Technical Institute, earning her C.N.A. when she was just 17 years old.  She wanted to immediately earn an LPN, but there were hurdles and obstacles to conquer before this would be possible.

Daphne has served the residents of Plymouth Harbor for four years, first in the Callahan Center.  Now she feels her way is clear and she is laser-focused on attaining her end goal of earning a master’s in nursing.  The past is not something that Daphne wishes to dwell on.  Having paid attention to the devastating impact of human trafficking and domestic violence in the community around her, she hopes to eventually work with young women in these situations and help to set them on a positive path.

This past month Daphne completed her AA in Arts, a prerequisite for State College of Florida’s nursing program.  It will take four more years to complete her undergraduate degree and then, with the good grades she intends to earn, it will be on to the graduate nursing program at Florida State University. “I keep a positive attitude and just concentrate on my studies,” Daphne shares.  “I know it will be challenging, but I have prepared myself for this journey.”  In the end, who knows, she may well change the world, one confident young woman at a time.

“I’m a numbers person, not science,” divulges Yaima.  Although she is an excellent C.N.A. providing Home Care and Home Health Agency support, it is clear her rewards come from helping people in ways beyond the clinical aspects of nursing.  “I feel I can help more people in medical administration,” she adds explaining her choice to earn her bachelor’s degree in health care administration, which will take another two years of study at State College of Florida.

During her 3-1/2 years on staff at Plymouth Harbor, Yaima has thoroughly enjoyed working with her coworkers.  The fact that the team has kept the same members throughout this period is evidence of the dedication and commitment of Plymouth Harbor employee service.

In Home Care, Yaima appreciates the flexibility she has to serve and speak with residents on an individual basis.  Sharing their lives is a most rewarding aspect of her work and reminds her of the extended family she left back in Cuba.  Working full-time at Plymouth Harbor and attending classes part-time, she is motivated to succeed academically.  Where will Yaima be ten years from now?  She plans on being a manager in a public or private medical facility or hospital and continue to realize the dream of freedom that led her father to escape to the U.S. with his family.

While Yaima and Daphne are just beginning their educational journey, they would do well to look to another early Doyle Scholarship recipient for inspiration.

Dr. Crystal ChapmanCrystal Chapman, daughter of Home Care LPN Bridget Chapman, was first awarded the Doyle Scholarship in 2002 and received it for four subsequent years.  As a single mother raising two children at the time, Bridget recently shared with a Foundation Forum audience the impact the scholarship had on Crystal’s life and her ability to achieve her goals.

This was certainly money well spent, an investment in every sense of the word.  In 2006 Crystal received her bachelor’s degree in nursing, and in 2009, her master’s degree in nursing.  In 2013 Crystal earned a Ph.D.

Dr. Crystal Chapman Lambert is now an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

As Plymouth Harbor Foundation scholarship benefactor Jane Smiley so aptly stated recently, “The most important thing you can give a child, besides love, is an education.”

Mildred and Bernard Doyle were touched by the staff who made their lives at Plymouth Harbor abundantly better.  Their generous gift in return, expressed through the Doyle Scholarship, is truly changing lives. 

JackpotEveryone is happy when they “hit the jackpot,” right?  Can you imagine the thrill of hitting it twice?

Being selected “Employee of the Month” at Plymouth Harbor is considered a jackpot of sorts, but it has nothing to do with chance. It takes a strong work ethic and a special spark of added care and attention to your job to win this honor.

Manuel ‘Manny’ Flores has been received this recognition not once, but TWICE now with the announcement of our July 2014 Employee of the Month. He now  joins the small but proud list of second time Employees of the Month.

He was first elected in February of 2006 just about a year after having had joined Plymouth Harbor as a full time CNA.  Manny had completed his LPN training and had accepted a full time LPN position by that time as well.

Since then Manny has consistently been recognized his high quality of work and job knowledge. He’s a problem-solving leader with a positive attitude and strong relationships with residents and co-workers.

We hear things like:

  • “Manny is an excellent LPN.  He is meticulous and his focus is on details and outcomes.”
  • “Manny is not one to stray off task, in fact he can redirect many of his peers back on course with the utmost confidence. He is a good leader and is liked by all.”
  •  “Manny is the ultimate team player.  He is loyal, dedicated, and an inspiration to all.”
  • “Manny is the epitome of a professional.”

Those who nominated him for this honor said:

  • “I feel safe and confident that my residents’ medical needs will be taken care of in a timely manner when Manny is here.  He always displays a good attitude and has the nicest disposition.”
  • “Manny is always available to accommodate the needs of his department and is so good with the residents.  His residents love him.”
  • “Manny is a good guy all around.”

He’s been married to Maria Salazar for seven years and they enjoy their three dogs.  And yes, Manny does enjoy hitting the jackpot when he’s at the casino.

She calls herself a free spirit, but Lanette Davis has a remarkably stable and loyal streak in terms of her service to Plymouth Harbor. It was forty-two years ago that her friend, May Byrd, suggested she interview for a job at Plymouth Harbor.  May had been working in Housekeeping Services and thought that her young friend was just the person Plymouth Harbor needed.  She called and got an interview that day. The next day Lanette received the news “you’ve got a job!”  She was just 22 years old and it was December 1972.

Lanette is originally from Marianna, Florida and the oldest of 9 children (5 girls and 4 boys).  She had left Marianna a while before and came to stay with a cousin in Sarasota, which seemed like a fine place to be.  However, not long after she had landed this first job at Plymouth Harbor it was necessary for her to take a leave of absence for a family emergency back in Marianna.  With family as a top priority, she upheld her responsibilities, but as soon as she could she returned to Sarasota and the job at Plymouth Harbor.  Marking 1974 as the start of her long tenure, she, with the entire Plymouth Harbor community, celebrated her 40th anniversary on the 30th of April. Lanette Davis, with her 40 years, is the longest serving employee in the history of Plymouth Harbor.

When asked how she came to stay for so long, she noted the caring culture of the entire housekeeping staff. Lanette spoke of residents with whom she had long relationships, who became family to her.  John and Fran Aulhammer come to mind with many others now gone.  Ruth Entrekin is a notable friend as well.  And it was not just the residents that she came to love. Many children and grandchildren of residents brought joy to her life and she to theirs.

Her supervisors and co-workers have been quick to report, “Lanette is a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.  Her residents on the 16, 17, & 18th floors love her.”

In fact, when Lanette had her 30th employment anniversary, all of her residents signed a Shining Star that read:  “For thirty years Lanette Davis has been a Shining Star of Plymouth Harbor and the lives of the residents of Colony Sixteen have been blessed by her loving, caring ways, her sparkling care of our apartments and her unfailing good nature.  She has brought sunshine into our lives and made it a pleasure to look forward to the hours she spends with us.  We lovingly congratulate her on her attaining this outstanding record of dedication toPlymouthHarbor and wish her many more years of good health and happiness.”

Residents also gathered on her 40th anniversary to shower her with love and appreciation. On this occasion, and when she was first surprised by a visit from CEO Harry Hobson and the entire senior staff early in the morning on April 29, Lanette was handed a bouquet of yellow roses, her favorite flower.

During that party, Ish Pedersen said she and her husband Norman felt very lucky that Lanette had been taking care of their home for 10 years. Of course she added, “She smiles all the time and gives wonderful advice!”

Surprised and feeling “a bit overcome,” Lanette graciously accepted the adulation and returned the love by saying, “You all are a ray of sunshine in my life!”

Away from the bustle of the gatherings, Lanette recalled the many fun times with her “housekeeping family.”  These were the signs of her free spirit being expressed. She speaks of friendly pranks of teasing of her co-workers as she stirred up ways to have fun.  In her own way, Lanette laid down her own set of rules. If someone came to her singing a tale of woe she’d say, “We’ll have none of that!”

“I believe in having fun and keeping things bubbly,” she added. “I don’t want any of this depressing negativity.” Now, that’s the likely source of this ray of sunshine.

It was one of her friends and co-workers, Bea Davis who introduced her to her husband now of 28 years.  Thanks to Bea for arranging that meeting with her husband’s brother Bobby Davis, Sr.  Together that have parented their blended family of six: Tameka, Dewey Jr., Bobby Jr., Lisa, Yolanda, and Angela and has several grandchildren.

Her oldest daughter, who lives nearby in Sarasota, is her partner in crime as the enjoy many of the same leisure time activities.  Well, one in particular: shopping.

“We’re two peas in a pod,” Lanette says. They like to go anywhere as long as there is shopping involved.

In fact, Lanette has said that if she had all the money in the world she would buy a cruise ship and cruise from coast to coast with her entire extended family. What would they do in each port of call?  The world travelers would shop until they dropped!

Then she says she would return to her own island and write a book titled, “How Plymouth Harbor Turns”. We all know, that will be some story!!  Congratulations, Lanette!

Appreciation for a job well done is one of the greatest joys to almost any working person. While Plymouth Harbor appreciates all of the hard-working employees that make this community hum, a special recognition is reserved for that one special employee every month who stood out from the crowd. We are pleased to honor our FEBRUARY Employee of the Month, Brian Roach.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Brian Roach has lived in Florida since the age of one, and in the Sarasota/Bradenton area since 2000. A graduate of North Shore High in Mangonia Park, Brian trained to become a Journeyman Electrician and worked as an area foreman for Tri City Electrical before joining the Plymouth Harbor staff in April 2007.

Brian’s expertise is apparent in troubleshooting and diagnosing electrical issues across the campus. He has received several Shining Stars commending him for his professionalism, leadership and dedication to the residents and his co-workers.

On a personal note, Brian is married to Leeta who is from Trinidad. They have two sons, Brian, 9, and Ethon, 20. Brian likes kayak fishing and practices catch and release. He also enjoys car racing with his father. Please join us in congratulating Brian on this well-deserved honor.