Country Meadow Village donates to Hospice of the Northwest Foundation

Country Meadow Village made a donation of $2,500 to Hospice of the Northwest Foundation. Pictured (from left): Wendy Rohrbacher, Erin Long, Dana Brothers, David Bricka, Kaaren Flint and Sandra Jensen.

Country Meadow Village Executive Director Sandra Jensen and program director David Bricka presented a check for $2,500 to Wendy Rohrbacher, executive director of Hospice of the Northwest Foundation, on behalf of Country Meadow residents and staff at their Christmas party last week, according to a news release.

Kaaren Flint, Erin Long and Dana Brothers, all members of the Hospice team, also attended the party.

The funds were raised from the summer barbecue, holiday bazaar and buffet, and proceeds from Kathy’s Kloset, a consignment shop set up by staffer Kathy Richter for the residents and staff of the local retirement community, the release stated.

“This donation will help so many people live each day to its fullest in comfort and dignity,” Rohrbacher said. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with you all.”

Hospice of the Northwest was recently selected “Best Place to Work in Healthcare” for the nation by Modern Healthcare Magazine, according to the release.

Over the past 10 years, Country Meadow Village has donated more than $20,000 to various nonprofit organizations as part of the greater philanthropy of its parent company, Village Concepts. Some of those groups include the Meals on Wheels program at the Sedro-Woolley Senior Center, Skagit Valley YMCA Capital Campaign and the Oso Community for relief from the mudslide.

Unforgettable Moments- Why I Walk

As the community relations director for an assisted living community, Jennifer Angell’s job is to create unique and enjoyable experiences for the residents living there. She often combines these activities with something purposeful, like raising money for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

For the last few years, Jennifer has been the Team Captain for the Spiritwood Unforgettables. They usually attend the Eastside Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Redmond, but Jennifer wanted to do something a little different this year. “Our organization makes a donation and attends the Walk, but I wanted to expand on that and find a way to get the residents more involved,” says Jennifer.

“The whole process took about four months,” says Jennifer. “I would do just one photo at a time, and when it was ready, I’d present it to the community at lunch time. People passed the photo around and the featured resident would dress up in costume and parade around the lunch room. It was so much fun for everyone.”

Launching each new photo this way encouraged other residents to get involved too.

From the Issaquah Reporter:

“When asked by Jennifer to be a part of the calendar, I didn’t want to be bothered,” said Jack Guptil, 83, who was in the “Blues Brothers” photo shoot. “But when I saw how much fun people were having being someone else, I said that’s me. Elwood from the Blues Bros.”

The plan was to sell the calendar as a way to raise money, but no one anticipated what an amazing success it would be: the first three boxes sold out in just four days. “Resident families just loved it and swooped them right up,” says Jennifer.

The popularity of the project garnered attention from the Issaquah Reporter. “After the article came out, we started receiving checks in the mail and orders from people in the community,” recalls Jennifer. “It just really took off from there.”

They’ve now used the images to create coffee mugs and tote bags, which they sold at a holiday bazaar. In total, they’ve raised over $4,000 for their Walk team — more than they’ve ever raised before. “Our goal was only $1,000, so we’re really happy to be able to donate this much to the Alzheimer’s Association,” says Jennifer. “I’m so thankful to my employer for sponsoring this project. It has been such a source of joy for all involved.”

Her employer, Spiritwood at Pine Lake, offers memory care as part of their community, so that is part of her motivation for leading a project like this. It’s also personally meaningful to her. Jennifer’s aunt was recently diagnosed with dementia and it has been rapidly progressing.

“For me, raising funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is really about the research and the hope of finding a cure,” says Jennifer. “It’s also about bettering the lives of people living with dementia and their caregivers. That’s what I try to do every day through my work, and I know the Alzheimer’s Association does that too.”

If you’re interested in ordering one of these items as a gift for the holiday season, you can reach Jennifer directly at: (425) 313-9100 or jennifera@villageconcepts.com.

Retirement community honors local vets, raise funds

Spiritwood at Pine Lake residents handmade 200 poppy flowers to honor Veteran’s Day.

Sgt. 1st Class Trevor Riesner, an active service member, visits with Spiritwood residents during Veterans Day to answer questions and meet with other veterans. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Angell

Spiritwood at Pine Lake honored its resident veterans Monday afternoon as seniors handed out 200 handmade poppies in recognition of Veterans Day at a local QFC.

Jennifer Angell, marketing director at Spiritwood, organized the holiday event after her successful themed calendar campaign to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. Several veterans from multiple eras of war participated in the event, and locals enjoyed seeing and speaking with the veterans.

“It was amazing — people were loving it,” Angell said. “It was just neat to have the veterans out… It made me proud to be American, to know that those men had given up their lives essentially.”

Poppies are a common weed in Europe and often were the only flowers to grow on a barren battlefield. An artificial poppy has become a commemorative symbol throughout the United States and other countries to honor those who’ve died in war.

Spiritwood residents handmade 200 poppy flowers and handed them out at the local QFC, gathering about $200 for the Veterans Association throughout the day. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Angell

Washington state has one of the lowest number of veterans per capita, but Spiritwood has the honor of hosting several, including Lt. Col. Bob Nuss, 98, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Nuss was joined by Korean War veteran, Bill Adams and fellow WWII veteran, Robert Hansbough, who has written several books about his experiences.

They chatted and were eventually joined by Sgt. 1st Class Trevor Riesner, who toured Iraq twice since he joined the army in 2006 and currently works as a recruiter. He has earned awards, including the Meritorious Service medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.

“The interesting thing is just the conversation between Trevor and those men,” Angell said. “[Nuss] was the original flight navigator who helped dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.”

Nuss and Hansbough are the only two WWII veterans remaining at Spiritwood — five had lived there last year.

Riesner brought his family and took time to visit with all Spiritwood residents who were interested. He swapped stories with the resident veterans and the men shared differences and similarities about how they regard the service now compared to when they first joined.

Riesner and Nuss talked for about two hours.

“They talked about the politics in the military now,” Angell said. “Bob felt that the military is too political now, and he wouldn’t have joined [today], he said, because, ‘I really feel like after Vietnam there were too many political statements being made and you’re no longer a hero…’ It gave me chills to be quite honest.”

Throughout the day, Spiritwood residents raised about $200 while handing out poppy flowers to QFC patrons. All proceeds were donated to the Veterans Association of America.

“I feel like none of us would be here and living the lives we do with our freedom without those men. I’m thankful every day,” Angell said. “To think about them putting their lives on the line like that and what they see at such a young age, it is unbelievable to me. And how could you not thank them?”

How the Brown family took senior care beyond ‘the home’ with Village Concepts

Village Concepts Chief Operating Officer Stuart Brown holds a picture of his grandfather and company founder, William Brown, in his office in Auburn.
ANTHONY BOLANTE | PSBJ

Stuart Brown can remember running through the hallways of Village Concepts’ El Dorado West assisted living facility in Burien as a 10-year-old getting butterscotch candies from residents while his father met with the building director.

Now Brown is the assisted living management company’s chief operating officer, and wanders those hallways visiting with residents, thinking about his grandfather, Bill Brown, who co-founded the company with El Dorado in 1975 and was able to move there toward the end of his own life.

“It was a full circle. He created El Dorado West and lo and behold, 40 years later, he needed it himself,” Brown said. “It was nice to be there for him when he needed it.”

Village Concepts is a third-generation, family-run company based in Auburn that operates 17 facilities housing 1,529 seniors. That is more than double the number of residents from 10 years ago and the company is still growing with its 18th location in the early stages of development in Renton.

Technically a management company owned by Stuart Brown, CEO Steve Brown (Stuart’s father), Rick Brown (Steve’s brother) and Chief Financial Officer Pete Jorgensen, Village Concepts reported $2.7 million in revenue last year.

Their 17 facilities pulled in $37.5 million in revenue last year, up from $21.8 million in 2008 when there were 12 locations. Most of the properties are owned by a combination of Village Concept owners, other family members and individual investors.

When Stuart Brown was in school at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to work for the family business — he was thinking about a career in hotels. He considered transiting to the family business later in his life, but Jorgensen approached him before graduation and convinced him to join the family business.

Brown stepped into an administrative assistant role straight out of college eventually moving up to executive director of one of the facilities and then two before becoming chief operating officer in 2007.

Stuart Brown and Jorgensen have been running the company since roughly 2007 when Steve Brown started transitioning to more of an adviser, Stuart Brown said.

“He still continues to operate as sort of a mentor for us,” Stuart Brown said about his father. “He is still involved, but not operationally.”

Village Concepts dates back to 1975, when brothers Bill and Ron Brown built El Dorado West.

The two of them built and operated senior living facilities before creating what would become Village Concepts.

They were trying something different at a time when senior care was still pretty restricted to nursing homes. Stuart Brown said the founders thought it was important for seniors to have a place to go when they didn’t need much medical help, but perhaps some social atmosphere and a little extra help with housework.

“Grandpa wanted to help people have another choice,” Stuart Brown said.
“Communities now have amenities and are not just ‘the home.’”

Under his leadership, Stuart Brown has made sure that legacy continues, especially in the face of increased competition in the senior living industry, he said.

To set the company apart, one area Brown focused on as he stepped into the leadership position was affordable senior housing. Four of the 17 current facilities are income qualified housing, for example.

Lauri St. Ours is the director of government and legislative relations for the Washington Health Care Association and has worked with Village Concepts for more than a decade. The consistency in the family-owned leadership for the last 40 years as well as its focus on affordability set the senior living company apart from the competition, she said.

“Village Concepts understands residential care must be affordable if it is to be accessed by consumers,” she said. “In Moses Lake and Auburn, they recognized the need for affordable senior housing, and have successfully developed two in-demand properties.”

While Stuart Brown grew up around the senior assisted living community, he said it was never expected of him to join the family company.

But once he did, he said his dad told him he wouldn’t be able to sail through without giving it his all.

“My dad told me early on, ‘You’ve got to be the best or I’m going to have to let you go,’” Brown said. “There wasn’t the pressure to do it, but if I was going to do it, I’d have to be the best.”

 

Village Concepts

  • Family members: CEO Steve Brown, COO Stuart Brown and Vice President of Development Rick Brown
  • First facility: El Dorado West in 1975
  • Facilities: 17 with one under construction in Renton
  • Facility revenue: $37.5 million in 2017
  • Residents: 1,529

Lessons Learned

  • “Balance personal relationships with business relationships. Work is stressful and there will be disagreements. Ensure you and the family keep the respect and communication level high to avoid uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners.”
  • “Ensure the values of the family are maintained in business decisions and practices.”
  • “Make sure non-family employees feel valued and part of ‘the family.'”

Local seniors sell themed calendars for Alzheimer’s charity

Juanita Oney plays Marilyn Monroe for the calendar photo shoot. Courtesy of Jennifer Angell

So far, seniors from the Spiritwood at Pine Lake Assisted Living home have raised more than $1,500.

The Spiritwood at Pine Lake Assisted Living home has raised more than $1,500 in their most successful fundraiser yet, with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s Association.

Jennifer Angell, marketing director at Spiritwood organized a Hollywood-themed calendar inviting local seniors to dress as historic celebrities and characters. Three boxes of calendars sold out within four days and Angell is currently ordering more boxes.

“I thought it would be something that would get [seniors] involved,” Angell said. “My boss said, ‘Jennifer, this is the best project we’ve ever done.’ It’s been really good.”

Angell handles the costuming and photos herself, and has involved numerous resident seniors at Spiritwood.

“When asked by Jennifer to be a part of the calendar, I didn’t want to be bothered,” said Jack Guptil, 83, who was in the “Blues Brothers” photo shoot. “But when I saw how much fun people were having being someone else, I said that’s me. Elwood from the Blues Bros.”

Spiritwood seniors have also posed as Alfred Hitchcock, Clint Eastwood, Marilyn Monroe and re-enacted the chocolate conveyor belt scene from “I love Lucy.”

The calendar project is one of many that Angell has worked on over the past year she’s been at Spiritwood.

“I’m just trying to think out of the box and do different things,” Angell said. “I want to earn as much money as I can for the Alzheimer’s Association… plus it’s fun for the seniors. I don’t want them being bored.”

According to Angell, she gets free reign in organizing fundraising projects and enjoys being able to get creative.

“Being able to do things that normally at a corporate level you’re not able to do… that’s priceless, right?” Angell said. “The number one thing is that all of this is for an amazing cause, and I’m just glad we were able to earn that money for Alzheimer’s Association — that’s the bottom line.”

One of her favorite recent fundraising projects was a dating game night she set up as a fun event for Spiritwood seniors. Several officers and firefighters from Eastside Fire & Rescue, Issaquah police and Seattle Fire Department played eligible bachelors and took turns asking the local seniors, who played bachelorettes, various questions before picking their favorite one to join them at a special dinner table at the living home that night.

Each of Angell’s projects is nonprofit, and the fundraising is the main focus, along with helping local seniors have some fun.

“Next I’m doing a s’mores night,” Angell said with a laugh. “Everyone’s doing table-top s’mores and telling ghost stories… It’s something the families enjoy as well as the residents.”

Angell plans to continue organizing these fun fundraisers for local seniors, and anyone interested in purchasing a calendar can contact her at 425-313-9100 or jennifera@villageconcepts.com.

“The [residents] are absolutely loving it,” Angell said. “We all have a great big hoot out of it… I could give all my time to this place every single day. I just enjoy helping — they’re like my family.”

Senior community will overlook 9th hole at Fairwood golf club

The building will have 115 senior units, some overlooking Fairwood Golf & Country Club.

Active seniors may want to check out Village Concepts’ new community: It’s on 3 acres adjacent to the 9th hole at Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton.

Village Concepts and partners Marathon Development and Rush Development Co. broke ground on the $36 million project last week. Village Concepts of Fairwood is off 140th Avenue Southeast.

Stuart Brown, COO for Village Concepts, said they expect many seniors living there will be in independent units because of the country club and its 18-hole golf course, swimming pools and dining room. The site is also near a library, grocery and other retail.

Residents will get discounted membership to the club, but the complex will also have a wellness center, activity center and salon. Brown said about 20 percent of the 115 units will be occupied by people needing assisted care and another 20 percent by people who need memory care.

Units will range from 300 to over 900 square feet, with rents between $2,900 and $6,000, depending on location and services. The units will be in a single building of about 107,500 square feet.

The project is expected to open in early 2020, and be operated by Village Concepts, which is an owner along with Marathon and Rush.

Rush Commercial, the construction arm of Rush Companies, is the general contractor. Rush Development is also an arm of Gig Harbor-based Rush Companies.

Wattenbarger Architects of Bellevue is the designer. Other team members are: Yu & Trochalakis, structural engineer; CEKO, civil engineer; Abossein Engineering, MEP engineer; Richard Ward Associates, landscape architect; Smith and Greene, kitchen designer; Earth Solutions NW, geotechnical engineer; and Technical Resources Consultants, specifications and technical resources.

King County records indicate Fairwood Assisted Living LLC bought the site last year for $2.74 million.

“We were excited when we found out (Fairwood) Golf & Country Club was interested in selling this piece of property,” Brown wrote in an email. “It’s a great location in Renton and very central to all of our other buildings here in the Northwest.”

Family-owned Village Concepts operates 17 senior communities across Western Washington.

Club general manager Anthony Paino said proceeds from the sale will be used to upgrade the golf cart fleet, add a new driving range cover, buy furniture, improve back-of-house operations and upgrade the HVAC.

Paino said the chipping/putting practice area may be expanded, and banquet and dining facilities may get an upgrade. The club, which opened in 1967, is not considering any other property sales at this time.

Seniors learn about the health benefits of marijuana

Residents of Village Concepts of Burien – El Dorado West Retirement Community attended a presentation about cannabis at Evergreen Market in South Renton

A small group of seniors who live at El Dorado West learned about pot on a field trip last week. They are: Denise in wearing the white sweater, Darlene in the green cardigan, and Connie is in red.

Several residents of Village Concepts of Burien – El Dorado West gathered at Evergreen Market in South Renton for an educational seminar about the health benefits of cannabis. Evergreen Market looks vastly different from what most people would expect a pot store to look like, it has huge windows, colorful displays, and an open floor where employees wait to answer questions. In the back is a conference room where they host educational seminars to break the stigma around cannabis and who the typical cannabis user is.

Educators Wacheke and Elan gave a presentation covering the various uses of cannabis, from topicals to tinctures, edibles and vaping, and the difference between CBD, THC, and CBN. El Dorado West resident Denise listened with rapt attention, asking detailed questions about how cannabis could help her inflammation, and what she should use for intestinal health. She also asked why medical professionals weren’t working with Evergreen, if cannabis has so many quality of life benefits and was told that the government’s labeling of cannabis as a schedule one drug prevents this sort of collaboration and further research on its uses. Denise wanted to know more about certain roots and herbs being used with CBD and THC to help digestion, but research was very limited on this due to strict research laws put in place by the government.

Connie, a resident of El Dorado West and veteran of these education trips, nodded along. She uses cannabis-based products for their health benefits and commented that these education seminars were especially important for seniors.

“My generation needs to be educated about [cannabis],” she said, pointing out that her generation believes so much of the “stigma” around cannabis use.

After the educational seminar, they went out to the shop to browse. El Dorado West resident Darlene, sporting a green cardigan with marijuana leaves, spent additional time with another educator asking about various products and their uses. Everyone went home with a bag full of cannabis products to use for ailments ranging from sleep trouble to inflammation.  When asked if they enjoyed their visit, Connie quickly responded, “I’ll be back!”

Village Concepts, a third generation, family-owned business, hosts many of these trips with their other retirement communities. They believe in providing their seniors with experiences like this to keep their residents always learning and growing, to improve quality of life and enhance a sense of community that feels like family.

 

About Village Concepts:

Founded in 1975, Village Concepts owns and operates residential and assisted living communities throughout Washington State and provides property management and consulting services for owners of assisted living communities. Village Concepts is a third-generation family-owned business, drawing upon 40 years of experience and a proud tradition of providing personalized care to more than 1,400 residents in 17 senior living communities throughout Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and Central Washington. Each community encourages residents to “create a village that feels like family” by providing personalized care, fostering new relationships and encouraging independence. A leader in the senior living industry, Village Concepts sets itself apart with individually tailored care plans, on-site programming, certified and licensed staff on-hand 24 hours per day. For more information, visit www.villageconcepts.com.

Seniors take wing

Roger Fenton, left, gets ready to take off from the Auburn Municipal Airpot in a 1942 Boeing Stearman military trainer plane piloted by Darryl Fisher. COURTESY PHOTO, Kevin R. Knox

Foundation honors elderly military veterans with flights in an historic, open-cockpit, two-seater biplane

Invited to soar the sunny skies in a open-cockpit, vintage biplane last Friday, Steve Dyke and several Auburn-area seniors jumped at the chance.

For Dyke, who has spent a lifetime in aviation, foremost as an air traffic controller, the front-seat view of the Green River Valley from 1,000 feet above the ground took him back to his days in the Air Force and Air National Guard.

“Absolutely wonderful,” said the 76-year-old man, who grew up in the Midwest before embarking on a long and rewarding career that embraced the wonders of flight. “It was very comforting, knowing I had the power there, which a lot of these planes don’t have.

“I’m always leery about abrupt changes,” said Dyke, having lunch after his nostalgic flight from the Auburn Municipal Airport, “but this particular aircraft had the weight, it had the power and the stability to handle just about anything. It was very comfortable, very nice. Wonderful airplane, wonderful flight.”

All courtesy of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans in long-term care facilities. Since its launch in 2011, the Reno, Nev.,-based foundation has flown more than 3,000 “dream flights” throughout the country.

The foundation, composed of volunteers who donate their time and talents, relies on donors to cover the cost of flights, which are offered at no charge to seniors and U.S. military veterans in retirement communities.

At the controls of the 1942 Boeing Stearman military trainer plane was Darryl Fisher, who established the foundation and works in the senior-living industry. Fisher, who grew up in a family deep-dyed in aviation tradition, listened to passengers’ stories before helping them climb into the biplane. Tightly strapped into the cockpit, some goggled, and each wearing a head-set, guests enjoyed a 15- to 20-minute flight through Auburn skies.

Fisher also signed commemorative hats and took photos with the grateful, grinning seniors afterward.

“Our foundation’s mission is to give back to those who have given,” Fisher said.

The flight was part of Village Concepts’ Project Bucket List. Guest passengers represented Village Concepts Retirement Communities of Auburn and Enumclaw.

For Roger Fenton, of Auburn, it had been a long time since he sat in such a two-seater. Fenton, who served in the military, began flying small planes when he was 13, growing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“I enjoyed it,” Fenton said. “It’s just a noisy military trainer (used to train World War II pilots).”

Don Ollivier, 80, of Auburn, was a control tower operator in the Army before fulfilling a 30-year career as a mechanic and plumber for Boeing. He had flown and worked on many airplanes, big and small, but nothing quite like the vintage ’42 Spearman.

“It was fantastic,” he said of the flight. “It’s just a different feeling than what I’ve known before.”

Enumclaw’s Bette Guenther, 82, has ridden in a hot-air balloon, but she never imagined taking flight in an historic biplane.

“No, it wasn’t (on my bucket list), but it ended up being on it,” she said. “It was absolutely wonderful.”

Flying in such a plane had been one of 90-yearold Bob Stygar’s unrealized boyhood dreams.

“I never had a chance to do it,” said the Enumclaw man. “It was great, a lot different than anything I’ve flown … the wind blowing in your face.

“I’d like to do it again.”

Seniors peruse pot for pain

Discussion at the Evergreen Market on Monday covers how cannabis derivatives can relieve aches and pains

Bonnie Kosco discusses with Auburn senior citizen Joanne Harries, foreground, how a marijuana-infused lotion has helped relieve the pain of her arthritis. ROBERT WHALE, Auburn Reporter

Sure, there are a lot of potheads and stoners out and about.

But deep-six the notion that today’s marijuana is all about, only about, getting high. So yesterday, dude.

As Eric Gaston, owner and co-founder of Evergreen Market, informed the handful of senior citizens from the retirement home Village Concepts Brannan Park who’d accepted his invitation to drop in Monday and learn about cannabis, today’s stuff is about so much more.

“The variety of products available in Washington state today is mind blowing,” Gaston said.

Indeed, cannabis in its capacity to relieve aches, pains and stress – all of those maladies of keen importance to senior citizens – can be found in skin creams, foods, pills, oil-based tinctures, mixers to make drinks with, smokeless devices, and everything in between.

None of which, Gaston noted, involve harsh smoke or the old roach clip.

Gaston is keen on educating people to whom marijuana is a great unknown. To that end, he has a special employee at each of his stores in Renton and Auburn called “the educator,” whose only job is to “deep-dive with customers” and help them learn about cannabis.

That’s what educators Elan Gratrix and Esther Wacheke did Monday, fielding questions, talking about products.

Bonnie Kosco, afflicted with arthritis, said she had endured painful cortisone shots in her fingers, which sometimes worked, sometimes didn’t. When her doctor told her, ‘no more shots, next time it’ll be surgery,’ she began looking for alternatives.

What she found was a lotion called “Dose,” which provides her with relief without any semblance of a high.

“I use it when it becomes painful, and when I need it, I reapply it … and it’s successful,” Kosco said. “I might also mention that because you might try it, and you might go, ‘I don’t know if that works,’ don’t give up. Go to another item, and you might find the success you’re looking for.

“The other thing that converted me was I’d never had a problem sleeping before, and then a couple of years ago, I’d go to bed for an hour, wake up, toss and turn for two or three hours, and it was just awful. I hated it,” Kosco said, noting another sans-buzz product that has provided her the sleep she needs without any lingering sensations in the morning.

Senior Joanne Harries wanted to know if cannabis could do anything for her bad knees, and if so, could she travel with say, a topical cream, without hassle from the legal establishment?

Bit risky, said Wacheke: one is only legally protected within the state of Washington.

“There goes my Canadian trip,” Harries said, throwing up her arms.

But Wacheke, keen to save Harries’ good times, volunteered that that same knee-pain relieving product can also be found in Canada.

“I’m not giving my good money away to the Canadians!” Harries objected to laughter. “I’d need that to get out of jail!”

Eric’s Heroes: At 104 years old, meet the newest member of the Hooligans bike club

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — It was a long lifetime ago, and he drove an Indian motorcycle with his wife on the back and his two little girls in the sidecar. The girl on the right, the one with the curly hair, loved it. And she never, ever forgot it.

At the Park View Villas Senior Living Home in Port Aangeles, Elgin Skewes eats lunch with her friends. And maybe if you look hard enough you can see that she was the little girl with the curls. The man with the Indian was her dad.

Elgin is 104 years old. She’s seen enough of life that she doesn’t have time for small talk. We asked her if she was looking forward to her birthday.

“Heavens no…why would I be looking forward to that?” she said.

We asked about her favorite part of the day.

“Going to bed,” Elgin said.

But if you ask about motorcycles, she lights up.

“I was raised on one. I was on a motorcycle before cars. And then they got a car when I was eight, and I swore I’d never ride in a car. Just motorcycles. I changed my mind,” Elgin said.

The last time she road on a bike?

“Oh, when I was about eight,” she said.

That was 96 years ago.

For the lucky ones, long after the flesh wearies of life, the soul thirsts for more.

“I was sitting up there with her and I had asked her, ‘What do you want to do now? Want to go on a Harley Ride?’ and she said, ‘Oh, you can do that?’ and I said yes, I can have 15 bikes out here and give you a ride. She said, ‘Oh, let’s do it!’ And that’s where it began,” said Diana Crawford, a member of the Hooligans Bike Club.

Her name is Elgin. She is 104 yrs old. She was born to be wild. And, she just joined The Hooligans motorcycle gang. Need I say more?

So Crawford made some calls, and on a quiet Saturday as the residents rested, the Hooligans made their presence felt at the Park View Villas.

And out came Elgin. She wanted noise, and noise she got.

It was then that this stoic, tough old bird started to cry. A big guy approached and took a knee.

There were formalities to be taken care of…Elgin received her “Harley Mama” patch, her new road name.

Elgin was outfitted in leather chaps and a jacket. She was fearless.

Her new brother hoisted her up and dropped her onto the Harley, like a queen being placed onto a litter.

It was obvious to all of the Hooligans: Elgin Skewes hadn’t seen enough. She hadn’t done enough. Not even after 104 years.

The engines roared and off they went…and the ladies left behind at the Park View Villas looked on in wonder.

They traveled in a pack and Elgin felt the wind in her face and the vibration of the Harley…and she soaked it in…they way one does when you’ve missed something for the better part of a hundred years.

Later on, back in her room watching TV, thinking back to her ride with the Hooligans…the lady known now as “Harley Mama” said the most extraordinary thing.

“I’ve got to figure what to do next? What can you suggest besides running with the bulls?” Elgin said.

Elgin Skewes. 104 years old. Still thirsty.