Knitting Project in Pacific Northwest Serves Families Confronting Lebanon’s Winter

Bette Stanzel, an Auburn, Washington, native, produces tokens of warmth for those in need half a world away. Photo credit: MENAUM

The bright pink of little Nairouz’s knit cap bounces with her—an unexpected flash of color against icy puddles as she skips between the drab tents of a refugee camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. Many things are not ideal in her life, but life is better when a little girl’s head is warm.

Nairouz’s small blessing began months before and nearly 11,000 kilometers (approx. 6,800 miles) away, where Bette Stanzel and her friend Vickie Kansanback had turned a ball of donated yarn into the little pink cap. Bette and Vickie will never meet little Nairouz. There is not much chance Nairouz will ever visit the United States, where Bette lives at the Village Concepts assisted living center in Auburn, Washington. Nevertheless, their bond is real and personal.

The connection between the two took place through Pastor Rick McEdward, Bette’s son, who serves as president of the Middle East and North Africa Union (MENA) of Seventh-day Adventists. One day, he walked into the union office in Beirut, Lebanon, with two bulging plastic bags.

“I was shocked when he dumped out 100 knitted caps and a dozen or so scarves onto the conference table,” recalls Melanie Wixwat, assistant secretary of MENA. “They were quite a sight—a pile of colors and textures. He announced that his mom and her friends had hand-knitted every one of them and that he thought families in Lebanon needed them.” Pastor McEdward serves in a region of the world where the warmth, even from a small knit cap, is appreciated.

With the devastating economic environment of Lebanon, where three-quarters of the population live under the poverty level, thousands of refugees add to the need, and recent conflict has caused internal displacement, colorful winter caps and scarves are not a fashion statement; they are a necessity that Bette’s pastime is meeting.

Bette, Pastor McEdward’s 85-year-old mother, has always had abundant energy for volunteering. She has rocked babies in the local hospital nursery, helped in a hospital gift shop, been a library volunteer, driven seniors to medical appointments, and provided scores of caps for infants at the Pediatric Intensive Care Center in her community, all with the joy of being able to help others. However, the international reach of knit caps for Lebanon launched her on a project that has taken her service to the other side of the world.

Melanie, who distributed many of Pastor McEdward’s first delivery personally, shares, “We can always find families who will appreciate Bette’s caps; there are too many who need everything, and a little warmth and color is like delivering flowers to them.” In addition to her care group’s family list, scores of caps and scarves have been delivered to a village in the poorest mountainous region of Lebanon, a refugee camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, and families in the community around the MENA office. Some even made their way to the Syrian camps affected by the February 6, 2023, earthquake, and this winter, some will even reach displaced families coming from the villages on Lebanon’s southern border.

The knitting operation that is blessing so many is based in the sunny commons room of the residential center in Auburn, where a handful of cheerful senior citizens chat and knit. Bette and her friends haven’t always known from where the yarn will come, but their project has benefitted from discarded skeins, close-out sales, and donations. They’ve knitted whatever God has provided.

Bette is convinced the blessing is not just for Nairouz and her world, though. “Knitting keeps our hands busy. It provides something really useful for us to do. I feel lots of joy knowing we are making a difference to people who need so much.” Their mission has also been their blessing.

Of course, a knit cap doesn’t fill all of Nairouz’s needs, but the knitting group at Village Concepts trusts they are sending care messages that mean even more than do the knit caps they are making. The distance between a senior in Washington and a little girl in Lebanon is not too great for God’s love to span to give hope to a young person facing a harsh, cold world.

* Looming is a process where loops of yarn are slipped one at a time on spokes of a frame, producing a knitted cap or scarf.

Julie McDonald: Navy Seabee recalls work on island of Tinian during WWII

At left, Clarence Piper, 98, talks about his experiences in World War II during an interview with columnist Julie McDonald. In the photo at the right, Clarence Piper, far right, described Tinian as a muddy mess. Photo published by The Chronicle

When Japanese bombers attacked U.S. Navy ships at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Clarence Piper was a high school sophomore visiting his uncle in the hills of Oregon and read about the attack in the newspaper.

That sneak attack on the naval base at Hawaii, which killed 2,403 people and destroyed eight battleships and 11 other vessels, changed the lives of Piper and millions of other young men in the United States who served in the military to defeat the Axis powers of Germany, Japan and Italy.

“Everyone was involved in World War II,” said Piper, 98, who moved to Woodland Village in Chehalis a few years ago after living two decades in Tenino. “The country was just completely unified, and we all expected to serve one way or another.”

He didn’t enlist because he had no idea what he could do. But Uncle Sam sent a draft notice ordering him to join the military after graduating from Sumner High School in June 1943. When he reported, the Navy needed workers for its naval construction battalions, known as Seabees.

My thoughts flew immediately to John Wayne’s portrayal of civilian contractor “Wedge” Donovan in the 1944 film, The Fighting Seabees, but when I mentioned it, Piper chuckled, describing it as “a total exaggeration.”

“We weren’t much in combat,” he said of his time on Tinian, a small island about 50 miles north of Guam and 5 miles southwest of Saipan where he arrived in the fall of 1944. “I mean, there were a few spots.” 

He opened his copy of The 135th Review USNCB, where three men killed on the Marianas island of Tinian were memorialized on the first page of the book commemorating the work of the 135th Construction Battalion.

One night, Piper’s friend, Kenneth Ross, an excellent marksman, stood guard on the perimeter when Japanese tried to sneak into camp. Ross shot and wounded a man, who then pulled out a grenade, held it to his chest, and blew himself up rather than risk being taken prisoner. Piper said his friend had been plagued by guilt and remorse after shooting the soldier and watching him die. Then, on Nov. 7, 1944, Ross, a religiously devout man, died in an accident while cleaning his gun.

“The Marines had done a good job of clearing the island, but there were still holdouts,” Piper said. “You are kind of told to stay on base.” 

But on March 18, 1945, three men ventured outside looking for souvenirs and ran into a Japanese unit hiding in a cave. The enemy killed two men — Homer Cameron and Charles Schroeder — while the third escaped to report the losses. 

As a laborer in D Platoon, Piper worked with experienced equipment operators on construction crews on Tinian. He erected Quonset huts and served as what was called a “wagon driller.” They used pneumatic air drillers to dig 4-foot-deep holes that they stuffed with dynamite to blast the coral and make way for the runway. They stripped dirt from the coral to build the runway for B-29 pilots. At 18, he didn’t know anything and simply followed orders, he said.

“You could plan on doing kitchen duty about once a month for a week,” he said. 

He worked six days a week with Sundays off. They ate a lot of spam, fricassee chicken they called SOS, and powdered eggs, and received an allotment of two beers a month.

Piper, who was born in February 1925, grew up in the Puyallup Valley, the youngest of Francis “Frank” and Stella (Sausser) Piper’s seven children. His father worked as a logger, and his mother tended the children, a big garden and a few cows, chickens and pigs. The family also raised raspberries on their five acres. His mother canned a lot of meat, fruit, and vegetables.  

“It’s quite a nice place to grow up,” he said. “It was right in the heart of the Depression, and we were as poor as it can get.”

He was seven when the family first bought a car, a 1925 Willys Knight. 

After spending his first eight grades in a two-room school in McMillin in Pierce County, with eight students in his class, he studied at Sumner High School. He played basketball and enjoyed Christmas plays and singing programs.

In high school, Piper saved money to buy his first car, a 1929 Model A, but couldn’t travel far on his ration of four gallons of gas a month.

“We could drive it to school about three times,” he said.

A farmer friend a year younger than him had more gas ration stamps, so they could drive farther together, even once traveling to Eastern Washington. “He had to supply gasoline for the rest of us,” Piper said.

After he was drafted, Piper was sent to Camp Perry near historic Williamsburg, Virginia, for boot camp, where they did a lot of calisthenics, obstacle courses and marching to improve their physical condition. Assigned to a unit, he spent time in amphibious training at Newport naval base near Providence, Rhode Island, and then in Gulfport, Mississippi, where they did construction work for the Army. He traveled home by train for Christmas leave before sailing on May 18, 1944, aboard a converted French passenger liner. They stopped in Hawaii, where the construction battalion spent two months at Pearl Harbor building barracks. As a Seabee who drove nails and sawed boards, he didn’t expect to see much combat.

When they sailed the Pacific Ocean, Piper said, their converted passenger liner with its huge diesel engine traveled at more than twice the speed of the convoy’s Liberty ships, so periodically it pulled to the side and maintained a zigzag pattern to avoid Japanese submarines while revving the motor until the rest of the ships caught up.

On Oct. 24, 1944, the 135th Naval Construction Battalion arrived at Tinian, where average annual rainfall was 75 inches, twice the annual precipitation of the Puyallup Valley. 

“It was a muddy mess really,” Piper said.

Tinian, an island at most 10 miles long and less than 40 square miles altogether, was formed by a coral reef exposed as the ocean receded rather than by volcanic eruptions like many islands.

“It was flat,” Piper said, “so it was ideal for building a large airbase. The north end was very flat and didn’t have as much vegetation on it. That’s where the airfield was started.”

From Tinian, B-29 pilots to launch bombing raids on Tokyo, Japan, about 1,500 miles away, which took 12 hours round-trip. Piper recalled before he joined the military when, on Feb. 18, 1943, the prototype B-29 bomber crashed into the Frye Meat Packing Plant south of Seattle, exploded, and killed eight men on the plane and 20 workers in the building. That happened on his 18th birthday and kind of set back the program, he said, but by the time he served on Tinian, B-29s there flew round-the-clock bombing raids to Japan.

The Face of Retirement Living

From the 2023 issue of The Faces of Skagit County

Village Concepts of Sedro-Woolley: Country Meadow Village brings retirement to life every day for their residents. They offer a wide variety of events and activities to promote lifelong learning and enjoyment.

“We have an amazing group of employees dedicated to our residents,” said David Bricka, program director. “Many have been with Country Meadow Village for more than 10 years.”

The retirement community offers assisted and independent living for everyone in a peaceful, countryside setting.

Village Concepts was started by Bill Brown more than 50 years ago. The thirteen communities located in Washington are still managed by the Brown family.

Under the Brown family’s ownership, Country Meadow Village opened in 1993. As part of the three-generation family-owned business, Country Meadow Village treats their residents like family.

“We have no delineation between our assisted and independent residents,” said David. “Everyone can gather to celebrate all our events and activities together.”

David has been Country Meadow Village’s program director for over 14 years. He always makes sure the community, which is everyonoe’s home, is festively decorated for all seasons of the year. Last Christmas, more than 17,000 lights glowed inside and out. For Independence Day, the place is festooned with flags, bandanas and a custom-created “Welcome, Loggerodeo” banner over the entrance portico to celebrate Sedro-Woolley’s oldest continuous 4th of July celebration in Washington. There are so many other fun activities including the patriotic door-decorating contest for all residents. Sedro-Woolley’s mayor serves as guest judge for the event. Winners are announced at the annual root beer float social held in the courtyard.

Country Meadow Village is hosting the multi-chamber after-hours event in September 2023 to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

It’s obvious that David and all of the staff work hard to ensure all residents feel like they’re truly part of the Country Meadow Village family.

One thing many Skagit Valley residents don’t realize is that Country Meadow Village houses the satellite branch of the Sedro-Woolley Museum.

100 Years and Counting: Woodland Village in Chehalis Celebrates Lives of Eight Centenarians

Woodland Village’s eight centenarians. Back, from left to right: Louise Carpenter, 100; Agnes Wasson, 101; Dottie Docherty, 100; Eileen Wikokff, 101; Shirley Nelsen, 101 and Glenna Ralff, 100. Front: Jim Van Ackren (left), 100 and Pearl Miller, 103.

Woodland Village in Chehalis celebrated the lives of eight centenarians on Monday. Ahead of the celebration, The Chronicle was able to interview four of them as they reflected on their more than 100 years of life and shared their experiences.

Louise Carpenter, 100, was born on April 15, 1922, in Bellingham. She grew up on a “little” farm in Snohomish County. In Carpenter’s telling, her childhood was a simple one.

“I didn’t do very much,” she said.

Carpenter recalled what it was like when her family first got electricity on their farm when she was 7 years old.

“I can remember when we got electricity because I was in awe of the electric light,” Carpenter recalled.

When the Great Depression began in 1929, Carpenter said her family learned to deal with the new economic realities.

“Well, we just did without,” Carpenter said. “I don’t remember suffering much, but we didn’t need much.”

After World War II began in late 1941, Carpenter began working in the shipyards of Puget Sound as a sheet metal worker. As the war progressed, she was given the opportunity to learn how to fly.

“It was really exciting to me,” Carpenter said. “We had to go to Spokane because there was no flying on the West Coast because of the war.”

After the war ended in 1945, Carpenter got a job as an aircraft communicator at the airport in Toledo, where she lived for 50 years. Carpenter managed to live a remarkably independent life well into her later years, living on her own until she moved to Woodland Village last July at the age of 99.

Today, Carpenter, who had one daughter with her husband, is the grandmother of four grandchildren.

Centenarian Shirley Nelson smiles alongside Peggy Brooks during a celebration at Woodland Village in Chehalis on Monday.

Shirley Nelsen, 101, was born in Rochester 10 minutes after midnight on July 2, 1921. Like other people her age, Nelsen lived through the Great Depression, experiencing levels of poverty common to that era.

“At that time we were quite young, but I remember my mom telling people later on that she robbed our piggy bank to buy bread,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen’s father was a mechanic and often had to move his family around to find work during the Depression, eventually moving to logging camps in California where they had no electricity and had to use kerosene lamps for lighting. But in 1932, Nelsen’s family was dealt a blow when an earthquake struck the state.

“We moved back up after a week of aftershocks and so my dad said, ‘We’re going home,’ and so we moved back up to Washington again (even though he didn’t have a job),” Nelsen said.

As a young adult, Nelsen took a civil service exam at the Chehalis Post Office, after which she was hired as a secretary for the surgeon general’s office in Washington D.C., arriving in time for the beginning of World War II.

“I can remember vividly where I was when I heard the announcement that Pearl Harbor had been attacked,” Nelsen said. “I was in my room and had the radio on when they announced the attack.”

Nelsen remembered the difficulties of life during the war, when wartime restrictions meant major changes in people’s daily lives.

“We did what we had to do, like conserving gasoline, and we had stamps to buy sugar and meats so we prioritized things because you couldn’t go in the grocery store and buy anything you wanted,” Nelsen said. “We did whatever we could do to help.”

Around 1943, Nelsen moved home to be near her family again. She said she wanted to be closer to her loved ones since “you didn’t know what was going to happen” during the war.

Thinking about the world events she’s lived through, Nelsen said two of the most notable were the death of Thomas Edison and the moon landing, in part because of her longstanding interest in technology and the future. 

“I was always interested in what’s going to happen in the future. We used to go to movies that were about the future, which we’re living in now,” Nelsen said. “The moonwalk of course was very exciting for me.”

But Nelsen also found some aspects of advances in technology frightening. She called life during the Cold War “scary” because of the spread of nuclear weapons.
“Your imagination could kind of take off about what could happen,” Nelsen said.

When asked if she had any advice to share with young people, Nelsen stressed honesty.

“Work hard, travel, learn how other people live and tell the truth,” Nelsen said. “‘Tell the truth, pay your debts and learn to say no,’ my father used to say. That should about cover it.”

In her long life, Nelsen has been blessed with two daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Centenarian Eileen Wikoff poses for a photo alongside her daughter, Linda Fenske, during a celebration at Woodland Village in Chehalis on Monday.

Pearl Miller, 103, was born on Dec. 9, 1918 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The oldest resident at Woodland Village, Miller’s descriptions of the major events of her life were often direct and to the point. Describing her experiences during the Great Depression and World War II, she said both were “horrible, just horrible,” adding of the Great Depression, “We had nothing.”

Miller told The Chronicle her favorite memory was visiting the World’s Fair in 1936, but that was hardly the only exciting experience of her life.

“I’ve been to Europe and Asia, I think I’ve been to Africa,” Miller said.

She has three children and many grandchildren.

“Grandchildren?” Miller asked, “Now you’ve put me on the spot.”

Asked if she had any advice for young people, Miller had a couple of suggestions.

“Pay attention to your grandparents and don’t spend your money just because you have it. Save it,” Miller said. “My folks didn’t have any money. They didn’t have anything.”

Centenarian Glenna Raiffe smiles while talking to friends and family during a celebration at Woodland Village in Chehalis on Monday.

Glenna Ralff, 100, was born on March 31, 1922, in Hibbing, Minnesota. During World War II, Ralff served in the Navy, helping provide medical care before becoming a pharmacist mate while stationed in Brooklyn, New York, where she lived in barracks with other young women.

After the War ended, she attended Washington State University and studied business, eventually getting a job as a hostess for Trans World Airlines.

“I didn’t like the idea of getting out of school and working in an office,” Ralff said.

Ralff recalled events from her life, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

“I remember the Kennedy assassination. I saw him get shot (on the news),” Ralff said. “That was shocking. That’s all you can say is shocking.”

Another event Ralff remembered was the moon landing.

“It was an unusual experience, not many people went to the moon,” Ralff said.

But for the many world events she’s witnessed in her 100 years, she still continues to be surprised, pointing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as something that has shocked her.

“I think this war with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin has been the most shocking thing in the last few years,” Ralff said. “It’s been unbelievable.”

She’s also had memorable personal experiences, including driving a dogsled team while living in Alaska. She even recalled once driving her dog team through the snow with her 18 month old daughter.

“I was just an outdoor person,” Ralff said, giving a simple explanation for her outdoor ventures.

In her long life, Ralff has had the privilege of seeing her family grow. Through her two daughters, her family now spans several generations, including her two great-great granddaughters.

Agnes Wasson, who celebrated her 102nd birthday this week, talks with her grandchildren and great grandchildren during a birthday celebration at Woodland Village in Chehalis on Monday.

Carpenter, Nelsen, Miller and Ralph were joined by their fellow Woodland Village centenarians on Monday for a celebration of their long lives. The names of the other four centenarians, who were either unavailable or chose not to be interviewed by The Chronicle, are Eileen Wikoff, Jim Van Ackeren, Agnes Wasson and Dottie Docherty.

For 70 years, Skagit County man has answered the call to give blood

Larry Libby poses for a portrait on May 5 in Sedro-Woolley. Libby, a longtime blood donor, will be honored by Bloodworks Northwest with a virtual blood drive called Larry’s Legacy. Photo by Oliver Hamlin / Skagit Valley Herald

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Larry Libby donated blood for the first time in 1952.

In the past 70 years, he has donated about 725 units of blood, plasma and platelets.

“I don’t really know why I started or why I continued,” said the 88-year-old Libby, who with his wife of 59 years Joann lives at Village Concepts in Sedro-Woolley. “I guess you give it once, you just feel you need to give it and give it and give it.”

Blood banks are fortunate Libby has felt that way.

His AB-positive blood type is rare, with only 3% of the population having AB-positive or AB-negative blood. Those with the AB blood type are considered universal plasma donors, meaning their plasma — or liquid portion of their blood — can be given to all patients regardless of blood type.

Bloodworks Northwest’s Hannah McNutt said having Libby donate as regularly as possible “means the world to patients in need.”

In honor of Libby, Bloodworks Northwest is hosting what it is calling Larry’s Legacy from June 22 to June 29.

To participate, schedule an appointment at a local Bloodworks Northwest location and inform staff the donation is on behalf of Village Concepts in support of Larry’s Legacy, or simply provide the code of 7964.

Appointments can be made online at or by calling 1-800-398-7888. More information is available at

Libby has been more than happy to donate blood over the years.

“It has never been difficult,” he said. “If I can make it until December, it will be 71 years. I’m going to be calling it quits pretty soon.”

McNutt said frequent donations, especially among those with rare blood types, are important.

It all has to do with the shelf life of blood.

“When someone donates whole blood, they are ineligible to donate again for 56 days,” McNutt said. “Red cells have a shelf life of just 42 days and platelets have a shelf life of just five days.

“What this means is that by the time someone is eligible to donate again, their blood has already been used by a patient in need. I’m taking a guess here, but I would say within just a few weeks if not a month, their blood has already been transfused. Donors need to return frequently so we can avoid lows in our inventory.”

For Libby, answering the call to donate blood started while he was serving as a mess cook at the Navy’s Aviation Fundamental School in Jacksonville, Florida.

There, the 18-year-old Maine native heard about a blood drive and decided to participate.

While in the Navy, Libby served on four ships in the Pacific Fleet, spent time on Midway Island and witnessed atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.

“The best ship I was ever on was the Coral Sea,” he said.

Libby also worked as a weatherman while stationed in Alaska and even wintered over at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

The work Libby did often meant he and his wife didn’t see each other — or speak — for months on end.

“I didn’t talk to my wife for 13 months (while in Antarctica),” he said. “But that’s OK. She understood the situation.

“I ended up going (to Antarctica) twice. The second time was during the Antarctic summer and after I spent several months in Hawaii recovering from a bad shoulder.”

Rather than taking an assignment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Libby retired in 1972.

He received a master’s degree in business through a Central Michigan University extension program in Florida.

Libby said he didn’t donate blood regularly while the Navy, but that changed when he retired as a lieutenant at the age of 37.

And it was when he arrived in Mount Vernon in 1978 that his donation schedule ramped up.

“When I was living in Mount Vernon, I drove down to Bellevue 104 times to give 94 units of plasma,” Libby said. “Then I shifted back to platelets and I drove to Everett.

“Most of my giving has been in platelets and plasma, which tend to be more acceptable by people. The next time I go, I’m set up for platelets. I have done a lot of that.”

In his wallet, Libby carries reminders of his past.

In addition to a list of baseball umpires he was at one time responsible for assigning to games during his 20 years as an umpire and assigner, there is a small, faded photo of one of his early plasma donations.

Donating blood takes less than an hour from check-in to post-donation cookie, and having a specific blood type is not required to book an appointment.

Bloodworks urges donors to schedule appointments at one of its 12 donor centers and pop-up locations.

“It’s not hard,” Libby said. “It just takes time.”

Pygmy Goats Steal the Spotlight at Woodland Village in Chehalis During Visit With Seniors

Virginia Krausch smiles while holding Maria, a pygmy goat, at Woodland Village Concepts of Chehalis Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jared Wenzelburger

Cascade Pygmy Goat Association Brings Furry Friends to Village

Village Concepts Corporate Nurse Receives Legends Award

Kelli Carr, Consonus Nurse Consultant, presented the Consonus Legends Award to Laura Foster, Village Concepts Corporate Director of Wellness, at a recent Village Concepts leadership meeting

Village Concepts Corporate Director of Wellness, Laura Foster, was awarded the Consonus Healthcare Legends Award, in recognition for Laura’s dedication and tireless efforts to vaccinate seniors and staff. The award reads: “2,133 Shots, One Legend”.

More than 50,000 shots were given in Phase One of the Consonus Pharmacy Road to Recover vaccination campaign-and no one administered more of them than Laura Foster, Village Concepts Corporate Director of Wellness. Laura worked tirelessly alongside the Consonus pharmacy team, personally administering 2,133 vaccinations during our vaccine clinics.

Laura was the top vaccinator of anyone in all the states Consonus serves. “Her contribution is monumental, and her nomination celebrates the team effort that was required of pharmacy staff and facility partners.”

COVID and Flu Response

Moving Forward!!

At Village Concepts, our priority continues to be the health and safety of our residents and team members. We continue to work with our local health departments to move toward “normalcy” in our communities.

We remain vigilant in following all state health guidelines including daily screening and monitoring our residents and staff for symptoms of Covid-19 or the flu.

If you have any concerns or questions, please click here to contact us directly.


Village Concepts Communities are open for visitation from family members and/or loved ones of our residents. All visitors are required to be screened upon entry, wear masks while they are in the Community, and follow current infection control guidelines.

Dining, Activities, & Salon Services

Our Dining Rooms are open for our residents.

Activities and entertainment have resumed in our Communities.  Outside entertainers, clergy services, and other Village Concepts partners are required to be fully vaccinated and follow all infection control guidelines, including screening and proper use of masks. Group resident outings are allowed for all vaccinated residents with the requirement to adhere to masking and screening.

Our salon services are open. Our stylists are required to be fully vaccinated and follow all infection control guidelines.


We offer in-person tours as well as virtual tour options at all Village Concepts locations. Our staff have worked diligently to create a safe and relaxing moving experience, tailored to fit your needs. Click here to schedule a tour!


Vaccinations against COVID and the seasonal flu are a vital tool in maintaining the safety and health of our communities.

  • Village Concepts is proud to share that over 95% of our residents are fully vaccinated.
  • All staff members are required to be vaccinated.
  • As part of our on-going commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff, booster vaccines have been made available to our staff members and residents.
  • We have completed our flu vaccinations at all Communities.

Philanthropy at Country Meadow Village

Country Meadow Village donated more than 500 pounds of supplies to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley last month, then gathered to remember the effort. Clockwise from left: Resident Betsy; team members Lisa, Hannah, Stephanie: Exec Dir. Sandra Jensen; Laura; Program Dir. David Bricka; Caroline; and Emily

Last month the Country Meadow Village bus headed to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley with more than 500 pounds of supplies for the local organization.

Community Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Nichols took on the challenge from other retirement communities, then coordinated the logistics for residents and staff.

Country Meadow Village presented $1,500 to Hospice of the Northwest representatives Kaaren Flint and Jennifer Pitner, also in December. Back row from left: Program Dir. David Bricka, Flint, Pitner. Front row from left: Sandra, Dave W., Mabel, and Geri.

The next day, Executive Director Sandra Jensen and Program Director David Bricka presented $1,500 to Kaaren Flint and Jennifer Pitner, representatives from Hospice of the Northwest, at the retirement community’s Christmas Party. The funds were generated by proceeds from Kathy’s Kloset, a consignment shop set up by team member Kathy Richter for the residents and staff.

“With this donation, we will be able to provide a wide range of services for patients under hospice care, like music and massage therapy,” Flint told the crowd during the event. “We are so grateful for your generosity.”

During the past 13 years, Village Concepts Country Meadow Village has donated more than $24,000 to various nonprofit organizations as part of the greater philanthropy of their parent company. Some of the groups benefiting have been the Meals on Wheels program at the Sedro-Woolley Senior Center, the Oso Community for relief from the mudslide, and, most recently, the Helping Hands Food Bank and Solution Center.

Chehalis Resident and World War II Veteran, 97, Flies in 1940s Plane

Marge Foydl smiles and poses for a photo before her flight at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport Sunday morning.

Dream Flights: 97-Year-Old Marjorie Foydl Was Excited for Flight After Months of Isolation Due to Pandemic

Woodland Village in Chehalis is home to a few World War II veterans, but only one of them felt like heading to the Chehalis-Centralia Airport at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning for a joyride in a 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane — 97-year-old Marjorie Foydl.

The nonprofit organization “Dream Flights” is on a nationwide mission to put veterans in vintage planes.

Its quest has begun by flying members of the Greatest Generation.

“They are giving, across the country, all the World War II vets a chance to go up in these biplanes. They figured that it’s a pretty cool endeavor to give back a little bit to our war vets,” said Sharon Ripp, program coordinator at Woodland Village.

Foydl served in New York as a Yeoman in the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II recording interviews through shorthand notes.

Marge Foydl smiles while sitting in a plane before her flight flight at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport Sunday morning.

“We just went around to various places to take interviews. We could be in the hospital, we could be in prison,” Foydl said. “I had my original learning in Florida then I went up to New York.”

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, she followed in the footsteps of family who were also in the Coast Guard.

“I thought it would be kind of nice to get out of Duluth,” she said.

After the war, she and her husband of 43 years lived in Hawaii. She worked in Honolulu as an executive secretary and personnel director for an insurance company.

Once most of her friends there had died, her niece who lives in the area asked Foydl to move closer. She has been in Chehalis for eight years now.

Foydl recalled the hardships of being in a senior living facility throughout the pandemic, saying she felt disconnected from the outside world.

“I found it very lonely,” she said. “For fun I’d just get on the computer and play cards.”

So, the opportunity to get out of the house and up in a plane was a thrilling outing for her. And that’s exactly the feeling Dream Flights hopes to give to veterans.

After the flight, the pilot has lunch with the veteran and talks to them about their lives and experience in whichever branch of the military they served.

When asked about a standout memory from her time in the Coast Guard, Foydl told The Chronicle: “When the war was over New York went crazy. That was party time.”

To learn more about Dream Flights and how to schedule them for individual veterans or groups, go to