In the News

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[caption id="attachment_12958" align="alignleft" width="265"] Stuart Brown, Village Concepts COO[/caption] Forty-four years ago, the Brown family of Bellevue realized entering into assisted living didn’t mean an individual had to jettison their social life or relinquish any sense of community in their golden years. In 1959, Bill Brown opened his original nursing community called Centennial Villas, building a company with over 20 locations on the West Coast. But it wasn’t until 1975 that Brown decided to cultivate the family culture and officially launched Village Concepts. From its humble beginnings, family-owned Village Concepts has grown to include three generations of the Brown family and it encompasses 19 independent living centers, 14 assisted living centers, seven memory care centers, and five senior apartment complexes across the state. By keeping the business in the family and nurturing an engaging atmosphere for residents — coupled with utilizing the latest technology — the Brown family ensures its founding premise of “bringing retirement to life” is upheld. In fact, the Browns believe that running a family business is the key to Village Concept’s success. “The great thing about running a family business is the level of commitment that comes from everyone involved,” said Stuart Brown, Village Concept’s Chief Operating Officer and grandson of the company’s founder. “Working with family gives us a good support system. We’re here because we love what we do.” Because the Browns believe in creating villages that feel like a family, each resident is treated like one of the brood with programs such as Village Concepts University and Bucket List Check-Off, aimed at keeping residents engaged and inspired. The Village Concepts University provides classes to its residents on the topics of physical and emotional health as they prepare for the next stage in their lives. The Bucket List Check-Off program allows residents to fulfill lifelong goals such as riding in a hot air balloon, a bi-plane, or on a Harley-Davidson. Village Concept’s on-site programming, and certified, licensed staff who need to be available 24 hours per day means that Village Concepts is well equipped to deal with any issues or emergencies that arise. This means the Browns value employees on whom they can rely. Outside of their work at Village Concepts, the staff is encouraged to take advantage of the company’s benefits and initiatives which provide extra training and courses for those who want to expand their experience beyond company and state requirements.“We’ve got people who’ve worked here for going on thirty years, and in a family-run business, these connections are highly regarded and trusted,” Brown said. The family-feel of Village Concepts doesn’t stop there: During the snowstorm earlier this year, employees volunteered their time to make sure residents got the best care possible in such dangerous weather conditions. Village Concepts provided mattresses, blankets, toiletries, and food for those employees, and their family members helped with transportation and childcare. Because of this community ethos, keeping the company in the family is of utmost importance to the Browns. That said, they never force any family members into the business. “It is up to every generation in the family if they want to work at Village Concepts, there is no pressure on them to join. We invite family to apply, but we encourage all employees to grow within the company,” Brown said.
" ["post_title"]=> string(83) "Village Concepts Redefines Retirement with Family-Style Approach to Assisted Living" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(83) "village-concepts-redefines-retirement-with-family-style-approach-to-assisted-living" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-07-15 15:00:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-07-15 22:00:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10697" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#3116 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10617) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-06-04 14:43:27" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-06-04 21:43:27" ["post_content"]=> string(1166) " Village Concepts of Sedro Woolley’s Resident Care Director Caroline Davis was awarded Assisted Living Nurse of the Year by the Washington Healthcare Association AUBURN, WA - (May 22, 2019) Village Concepts attended the Washington Health Care Association’s Quality Awards Luncheon in Vancouver Washington at the Hilton Hotel. At the awards, Resident Care Director Caroline Davis of Village Concepts of Sedro-Woolley was honored with the Assisted Living Nurse of the Year award for Washington State. The award “recognizes an assisted living nurse who demonstrates outstanding innovation, achievement, and capabilities in their provision of high quality, person-centered care in a service-oriented culture in an assisted living community.” In attendance with Caroline Davis was Director of Corporate Development Tracy Willis, Corporate Director of Regulatory Compliance Vicki McNealley, and Executive Director of Village Concepts of Sedro-Woolley Sandra Whiton." ["post_title"]=> string(120) "Village Concepts of Sedro-Woolley's Resident Care Director Caroline Davis Honored with Assisted Living Nurse of the Year" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(119) "village-concepts-of-sedro-woolleys-resident-care-director-caroline-davis-honored-with-assisted-living-nurse-of-the-year" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-11-21 19:22:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-11-21 19:22:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10617" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#3112 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10602) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-06-03 13:27:00" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-06-03 20:27:00" ["post_content"]=> string(5757) "[caption id="attachment_10603" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Kay and Mike McCormack[/caption] Every winter, for the last few years, Mike and Kay McCormack join others at Magic Works within the Riverton Heights rehab center to pack sandwiches, drinks and candy bars to take on weekly visits to homeless camps under I-5 in Seattle. It is a cold, wet and a very dreary existence for the tent people under the freeway. Mike and Kay felt they needed to be involved. The Des Moines residents also help clean up the areas. It is, they say, to give back, for a life of living well themselves. Mike likens his life to being a "victim of circumstances". He's been lucky, he'll tell you. Lucky circumstances. Mike, born in Tacoma 78 years ago, has been fortunate, much of his own making. Now living with Kay at Village Concepts-Adriana senior apartments in Des Moines, Mike will say he has been living a "charmed, easy life". Kay knows the stories. Many residents at the Adriana also know the stories in the near two years he has been living there. Stories about Mike's early life and career as a Navy Seal. Adopted and raised in the Magnolia area of Seattle, with a 3-star general dad at Ft. Lawton, Mike once swam from Point Dilworth, on Vashon Island to Three-Tree Point,  just because he could. The water is typically 43 degrees year-round. "it was easy. I wasn't cold," he beamed. Mike was in the first graduating class at Blanchet High in 1958. He wanted to be a UW Husky but dad insisted on something more for Mike. Always a fine student, Mike enrolled at Cal Tech, graduating in 1962 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He then acquired a master's degee in scientific navigation, "how to drive a boat" is how Mike put it. His dad's military credentials influenced Mike to join the Navy after graduation. Mike opted for Seal training, eight months of rigor that would test his 5-11 plus, 210-lb body. Forty-six men went through cold and warm water training in that period. First in the warm Caribbean water where swimming was essential to survival. Finding their own food and living in the jungle helped create a unity among the men. Cold water training near Iceland followed as the team was dropped in the ocean, in gear, with a forced swim to shore. They caught their own fish and bivouaced on the beaches. Many of the men longed for the warm waters of the Caribbean. Out of 46 who started, 18 remained in the program. Washing out was not an option for Mike. Mike's Seal training took him to covert infiltration in Vietnam in 1963-64, near the Mekong Delta. The war as still considered a 'conflict'. Seals are not just Navy guys. More than once Mike rode bareback on horses through Mongolia to observe and report military activities by Russian-backed support teams for arms trading to North Vietnam forces. In that pursuit, Mike had learned to eat more rice than he wanted so his body would exude an aroma of a rice diet. "Better to smell like the enemy," he said. Mike won't eat rice to this day even though he has no enemies now. He spent many days in Hanoi, living among the locals, dressed in civilian clothing to disguise his presence. He observed the "Hanoi Hilton" where John McCain was a prisoner in 1967. Fearless is what we think Navy Seals must be. It is true but Mike would tell you things just came "easy". Like the time a fellow officer on base turned his back when Mike opted to take the base helicopter on a jaunt out to an aircraft carrier at sea for nice lunch. "They had good food," Mike explained. Never mind that he had no licence, no training and had no experience flying a helicopter. "It was easy," Mike said. Back home and out of the military by 1970, it was not long before he got a call from NASA to take a look at the gears in their satellite dishes in Houston. His Cal Tech education came in handy. He traveled the world working on complex gears, usually on recon satelites exploring the heavens and tracking NASA launches. Married with two daughters, Mike did not slow down, ramping up another phase of his career with a love of hydroplanes in the early '70s. That love took Mike down to Stan Sayers Pits every summer for several years when the Gold Cup hydro races required a guy who understood propellers and gears. Mike figured out the reason for the many gear failures in the hydroplanes. It was due to the hardened steel of the gear teeth and the amount of torque during high speed applications. He advised a softer gear assembly to the mechanics working on the boats. It was a remarkable change. Roger Penske, a noted Indy driver, took note himself. He invited Mike back to the Brick Yard in Indianapolis. Mike helped the Penske team there, also enjoying a 212 mph trip around the famed track. Mike's fast paced life included skiing (a great love) and hiking and climbing. He joined climbing guide Lou Whittaker on several summits of Mt. Rainier and other peaks in the northwest. He says he feels good. Has no aches and pains and loves Kay and his life with a view of the water. For all he has accomplished, Mike has humility, calling what he's done "easy". He and Kay think the people living under the freeway, for reasons not entirely their fault, is "not easy". It is why they volunteer. The tent people are "unlucky victims of circumstances," Mike said and 180 degrees from Mike's life. He and Kay want to change that. He approaches this effort the same way he became a Navy Seal. Like swimming to Three Tree Point or flying a helicopter because he could...It was "easy," Mike humbly said, "I'm a gear guy"." ["post_title"]=> string(39) "I'm just a "gear guy" or "Easy does it"" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(34) "im-just-a-gear-guy-or-easy-does-it" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-11-21 19:23:39" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-11-21 19:23:39" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10602" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#3111 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10596) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-05-30 09:24:28" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-30 16:24:28" ["post_content"]=> string(2445) "Village Concepts of Hoquiam – Channel Point retirement community and Central Elementary School in Hoquiam formed a new partnership this school year as part of the Hoquiam School District’s Team Wednesday initiative. On Wednesdays, Hoquiam students have early release, which allows teachers time for planning and training. When school lets out on Wednesdays, a select group of the 4th and 5th grade students at Central walk a few blocks with their Para-educators to Channel Point Village. Residents of the retirement community welcome them with a tasty snack and conversation, and then they work together on an art project, listen to music or socialize. The Central students visited the retirement community about twice a month during the school year. The seniors enjoy spending time with the children and the children look forward to their visits with the seniors. Heather Dyson, Principal of Central Elementary School shared, “The partnership with Central students and Channel Point is giving our young citizens an opportunity to be involved in the community. The time spent together, connecting and bonding is benefiting both generations.” Channel Point’s Executive Director, Maggie Birmingham, says the benefit is clear. “We have an active and engaged community here, but when the children arrive, you see and hear even more laughter, smiles and conversation.” Inter-generational programs are becoming more and more popular in senior living communities. According to Generations Unlimited, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth and older adults, one benefit for older adults is that they learn new innovations and technologies from their younger counterparts. For children, interacting with older adults enables them to develop social networks, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, positive attitudes toward aging, a sense of purpose and community service. Founded in 1975, Village Concepts owns and operates 17 residential and assisted living communities throughout Washington State and provides property management and consulting services for owners of assisted living communities. Village Concepts, a leader in the senior living industry, is a third-generation, family-owned business. Each community encourages residents to “create a village that feels like family” by providing personalized care, fostering new relationships and encouraging independence." ["post_title"]=> string(86) "Channel Point Retirement Community Partners with Hoquiam’s Central Elementary School" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(83) "channel-point-retirement-community-partners-with-hoquiams-central-elementary-school" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-05-30 09:24:28" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-30 16:24:28" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10596" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#3067 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10581) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-05-07 09:40:43" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-07 16:40:43" ["post_content"]=> string(5297) "[caption id="attachment_10582" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] DAN HAMMOCK | GRAYS HARBOR NEWS GROUP State Historian John Hughes and Secretary of State Kim Wyman share a laugh before speaking at the Channel Point Village retirement community in Hoquiam Thursday.[/caption] Everyone has a story to tell, and recording those stories is important to preserving the rich history of Grays Harbor County, according to State Historian John Hughes. “I look at all this experience and wisdom in this room, and there are a lot of stories here that need to be recorded,” said Hughes to the more than 50 people who attended a presentation Thursday afternoon by Hughes and Secretary of State Kim Wyman at the Channel Point Village retirement community in Hoquiam. Wyman and Hughes, former longtime reporter and editor at The Daily World, talked about the Secretary of State Office’s Legacy Washington Project, which records, preserves and celebrates extraordinary people and stories from the state’s history. Wyman noted the clock is ticking on preserving some of these stories and gave an example from her own family to illustrate the point. “I had an uncle who was in Okinawa in World War II,” she said. “He never told the story to my dad, so that story is lost in time.” Moira Connor, community relations director for Channel Point, told Hughes they had recently started a program to record residents’ stories. Connor called the project “a work in progress” and asked Hughes for advice on collecting the stories. “Ask open-ended questions,” said Hughes. “And be willing to shut up and listen.” Open-ended questions allow the story teller to add his or her own unique perspective to the story, said Hughes. Wyman earlier had said, “If you tell a story, people remember it,” while just reciting dates and facts can be easily forgotten. “We are all oral historians,” said Hughes, who recommended Connor hold special sessions for residents to “tell their own remarkable stories. We need to take the time, to make certain these stories are recorded.” Local stories Some of the stories Hughes has collected for the Legacy Washington project come from Grays Harbor County. Arnold Samuels of Ocean Shores helped liberate the concentration camp Dachau with Henry Kissinger in World War II. And the region’s own “Rosie the Riveter,” Regina Tollfeldt, who lived in Aberdeen, helped build airplanes for Boeing during World War II. During the war, there were several Boeing sub-assembly plants in this area, making nose cones for bombers, said Hughes. Hughes talked about Jim Evans, a Marine and decorated Korean War veteran who lives in Aberdeen. He is one of the “Chosin Few,” the term used for survivors of one of the bloodiest conflicts in U.S. History, the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in the winter of 1950-51. Aberdeen’s Moonbeam Kupka fled Korea with her family early in the conflict, married Mike Kupka, a soldier. One of their sons, Jonathan, is now a “full-bird colonel” in the Army Special Forces, said Hughes. Hughes remembers watching young Jonathan Kupka roaming the local hills and neighborhoods with his paintball gun. The next Legacy Washington project is “Ahead of the Curve,” a study of Washington’s women and how they contributed to the history of the state and the nation. This project comes on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote; Hughes pointed out the women of Washington State gained the right to vote in 1910. This project, like the ones before it, will be displayed in the Secretary of State’s Office in Olympia and includes a profile of Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation. Also in attendance were local leaders including Hoquiam Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff and City Administrator Brian Shay; Grays Harbor Commissioner Randy Ross; Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner Tom Quigg and Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson. For more information on the Legacy Washington and to view free online the stories of local and other Washington residents who have made their mark on history visit sos.wa.gov/legacy. [caption id="attachment_10586" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] DAN HAMMOCK | GRAYS HARBOR NEWS GROUP State Historian John Hughes, right, talks with Channel Point Village Executive Director Maggie Birmingham, foreground, Thursday. Also pictured is Grays Harbor County Commissioner Randy Ross, far left, and Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner Tom Quigg.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10587" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] DAN HAMMOCK | GRAYS HARBOR NEWS GROUP Secretary of State Kim Wyman talks with a resident of the Channel Point Village retirement community after speaking there Thursday afternoon.[/caption]" ["post_title"]=> string(66) "Secretary of state, state historian talk living history in Hoquiam" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(65) "secretary-of-state-state-historian-talk-living-history-in-hoquiam" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-05-07 09:40:43" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-07 16:40:43" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10581" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#3137 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10563) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-04-30 08:57:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-04-30 15:57:19" ["post_content"]=> string(2375) " [caption id="attachment_10564" align="alignright" width="267"] Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman[/caption] On Thursday, May 2nd at 1:30 pm, Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, is scheduled to speak to the residents of Village Concepts of Hoquiam – Channel Point retirement community, as well as members of the public. The retirement community hosts a bi-monthly Speaker Series with leaders from the Grays Harbor business and non-profit community. Kim Wyman is also speaking to a community group in Ocean Shores in the morning and will be coming to Hoquiam in the afternoon. According to Maggie Birmingham, Channel Point’s Executive Director, “Our residents are actively involved in their community and follow politics and current events. They enjoy hearing directly from community leaders. It’s a pleasure to be able to host Secretary Wyman from the State level.” One of the programs that Secretary Wyman oversees is Legacy Washington, which profiles extraordinary Washingtonians, several from Grays Harbor County. Legacy Washington was an inspiration for a program recently started at Channel Point to record residents’ life stories, along with The Polson Museum’s oral history recording project, “My Harbor Story.” Founded in 1975, Village Concepts owns and operates residential and assisted living communities throughout Washington State, such as Village Concepts of Hoquiam – Channel Point, 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 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, and certified and licensed staff on-hand 24 hours per day. For more information, visit www.villageconcepts.com. " ["post_title"]=> string(81) "Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman to Visit Channel Point Village in Hoquiam" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(81) "washington-secretary-of-state-kim-wyman-to-visit-channel-point-village-in-hoquiam" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-05-06 19:23:57" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-06 19:23:57" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10563" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#3136 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10556) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-04-22 16:14:14" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-04-22 23:14:14" ["post_content"]=> string(8008) " [caption id="attachment_10557" align="alignleft" width="288"] Blanche Whittaker[/caption] When Blanche Patterson was a teen girl in Seattle, in the 40's and she saw something she liked, she put her passion and personality into achieving it. Her first job was cleaning holly leaves for a lady in Seattle who made Christmas wreaths. At 19, her next job was serving customers at the soda fountain at Paradise Lodge in Mt. Rainier National Park. In the halcyon days of the early 50's our prideful nation was growing. The war was over; the world looked to America for leadership in all things. Two young men had begun leading climbers up and down Mt. Rainier. Those two were the Whittaker twins of West Seattle. The twins frequented the lodge in their off hours. Jim and Lou Whittaker, tall and handsome, were well known and respected at the park. Lou, married and Jim, single, may have found the large stone fireplace inside the lodge to be a comfort but it was likely the thick vanilla milkshakes served to Jim by Blanche that kept him coming back. Blanche had learned one secret to getting Jim's attention - he liked vanilla milkshakes as thick as the snow on Mt.Rainier. It helped that she was tall and pretty. It seemed to have an impact as Jim and Blanche were married a year or so later. Jim was building a reputation as a mountaineer while Blanche was raising their three children on Capitol Hill. Jim continued to lead climbers at the mountain. Blanche climbed too, reaching the summit of Rainier and was very fond of hiking and rock climbing in those years. [caption id="attachment_10558" align="alignright" width="294"] Autographed photo of Robert Kennedy[/caption] Jack Kennedy was elected President in November of 1959. Jim (30) was helping run REI, the now famous mountain sports co-op. Blanche was twenty-six. They lived on the shores of Lake Sammamish. Jim's interests went well beyond running REI. Jim and Lou were still guiding trips up Mt. Rainier when they were asked to join a team to be the first American(s) to summit Mt. Everest in Nepal. Lou dropped out but Jim accepted the challenge. In May of 1963, Jim and a team of Sherpa aides and American climbers summited the highest point on earth, becoming instant celebrities. President Kennedy presented Jim, with his wife Blanche at his side, and the Everest expedition climbers, the Hubbard Medal for distinction and discovery. She toured the White House, the Rose Garden and met with Jackie Kennedy. For Blanche, this meeting was the beginning of a budding friendship with Jackie and later with Ethel Kennedy. Blanche remembers Jack Kennedy with reddish brown hair and always thought he'd be taller but as is often the case with idols, they appear to be on pedestals. When Jack was killed in Dallas a few months later, Jim and Blanche offered condolences to the family. A year passed. Some officials in Canada, to honor President Kennedy, selected a peak in the Canadian Rockies and named it Mt. Kennedy. It was December of 1964 when the Acting Attorney General and the President's brother, Robert Kennedy, made a phone call to the Whittaker's Lake Sammamish home. " The Canadians have named a mountain peak after Jack," Robert explained as the purpose of the call. "I want to climb it and I need you to take me up," Robert added. Robert Kennedy said that President Kennedy had admired Jim's efforts at summiting Mt. Everest so Robert felt it was appropriate to ask Jim. Blanche met Ethel Kennedy three weeks later in their trip out to Seattle for some preliminary work before the actual climb by Robert and Jim. Jim and Robert and a team summited Mt. Kennedy in March of 1965, cementing a friendship that would include political campaigning for Robert's presidential run in 1968. In the 1968 campaign, Jim worked the soap box in Seattle and the state while Blanche traveled with the "Mother Ship" on flights around the country. By the summer of 1968, Blanche was with Ethel at the Ambassador Hotel for the California primary. Later that evening, after Robert's victory speech, security had plans to exit the ballroom through the kitchen. Blanche was holding the elevator door for the troupe of dignitaries to assemble for the trip down to waiting limo rides to the airport. The sound of gunfire and pandemonium ensued with Blanche still holding the elevator doors open. Robert "Bobby" Kennedy was on the kitchen floor with a mortal wound. Security, including Olympian Rafer Johnson and NFL player Roosevelt Grier, helped get Bobby onto a stretcher and into the elevator. Ethel and Blanche, terrified at the glaring lights and screaming voices, huddled in the the elevator. A highly agitated man was screaming inside the elevator as it descended, adding further panic to an already panicky, stuffy elevator. Bobby sat up momentarily, tried to speak before falling back. Blanche noticed Ethel was in shock and agitated by the screaming man. Blanche reacted with a slap to his cheek, though she remembers it as more of a "pat". It worked as the elevator ride ended more calmly. Security began loading Bobby into the ambulance. Blanche and Ethel followed behind to the hospital. Jim was notified and arrived early the next morning. He, Ethel and Blanche were at Bobby's bedside that evening when doctors advised that life support should be disconnected. "Robert's skin faded when the oxygen was removed," Blanche noted. He was gone. For Ethel (pregnant) it was a return to her 10 children in Massachusetts. For Blanche it was the continuance of a bond created by Robert's run for the presidency. Ethel and Blanche remain friends today. For Blanche and Jim the world had changed. A divorce in the early 70's was devastating to Blanche. She moved to Hawaii. She remarried and lost a fine man who passed away too young. She married again, this time to an inveterate golfer with a vacation home in Palm Desert. He passed away too. At 60 she had taken up golf. She approached the game with that same passion that has served her well. She won a tournament. She played often. She was also away from her family. Her son Bob, namesake of Robert Kennedy, encouraged her to return to the mainland. She came home and found peace and quiet in the town of Republic, north of Spokane, up near the Canadian border. Her farm and acreage on the Kettle River was pretty distant for convenient trips by relatives. Blanche opted to move to Chewelah, just north of Spokane but two separate kitchen fire incidents prompted son Bob to assist her in a recent move back to the Seattle area. Bob and Blanche found the senior apartments at Village Concepts/El Dorado in Burien to be a nice spot. She's made many friends in the few short months there but regularly drives to also visit friends in West Seattle. Staff at El Dorado say Blanche lights up the room with her personality. Blanche says that's the way she is but she misses being on the golf course. When the shoulders and the knees let her know it was time to give up her passion for the game, she did so reluctantly but keeps a set of golf clubs at her apartment just in case she feels good and wants to get around the course again. Not bad for a cute soda jerk. [caption id="attachment_10559" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Ethel Kennedy with her 7 children visiting with Blanche and Jim and their children at Seattle Tennis Club in 1965[/caption] " ["post_title"]=> string(42) "Tim's View: She was just a cute soda clerk" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(40) "tims-view-she-was-just-a-cute-soda-clerk" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-05-06 19:24:19" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-06 19:24:19" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10556" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#3135 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10450) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-02-15 10:06:08" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-02-15 18:06:08" ["post_content"]=> string(547) " [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://villageconcepts.com/media/VC-Vow-Renewal-Q13.mp4" preload="none" autoplay="off"][/video] BURIEN, Wash. -- A local couple who has been married 74 years made this Valentine's Day extra special. Earling "Bud" and Eva Lauritz celebrated their years together by renewing their vows Thursday at El Dorado West assisted living home in Burien. Both are 98 years old. "We couldn't have had it any better," Bud told Q13 News. They were married Oct. 27, 1944 in Alabama and have three children. " ["post_title"]=> string(56) "Couple married 74 years renews vows on Valentine’s Day" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(53) "couple-married-74-years-renews-vows-on-valentines-day" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-05-06 19:24:32" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-05-06 19:24:32" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "https://villageconcept.wpengine.com/?p=10450" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#3134 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10376) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2019-01-29 09:03:52" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-01-29 17:03:52" ["post_content"]=> string(1686) " [caption id="attachment_10377" align="alignleft" width="267"] Seniors to the Rescue! Residents of El Dorado West Village Concepts visit Seattle’s waterfront to show support for local businesses[/caption] On January 23, assisted living residents of the Village Concepts of Burien and Issaquah, gathered at Ivar’s on Seattle’s waterfront to show their support for local businesses impacted by the viaduct closure. Many residents in attendance had grown up in and around the Seattle area, with many memories of the waterfront area and Ivar’s, and wanted to do their part to help. One such resident, Phyllis Soldano, used to work at Ivar’s in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and remembers the area fondly. When asked about the viaduct and its impact on the waterfront she responded, “The waterfront is for the people. Not for cars and pollution.” “People should be able to come down and enjoy it,” Solando said. Another resident, Gloria McNeely, remembers when Ivar’s was built. She was a young woman then, working downtown. Now 99 years old, she says she remembers it being “the thing” when it first opened. She always makes a point to go to Ivar’s when she can and was delighted to join her community in support of all the local waterfront businesses. Tracy Willis, Director of Corporate Development at Village Concepts, said they hope to do more of these trips with their other communities. “It’s important to show support when we can, we hope to do this frequently,” she said. " ["post_title"]=> string(133) "Seniors to the Rescue! 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[caption id="attachment_12958" align="alignleft" width="265"] Stuart Brown, Village Concepts COO[/caption] Forty-four years ago, the Brown family of Bellevue realized entering into assisted living didn’t mean an individual had to jettison their social life or relinquish any sense of community in their golden years. In 1959, Bill Brown opened his original nursing community called Centennial Villas, building a company with over 20 locations on the West Coast. But it wasn’t until 1975 that Brown decided to cultivate the family culture and officially launched Village Concepts. From its humble beginnings, family-owned Village Concepts has grown to include three generations of the Brown family and it encompasses 19 independent living centers, 14 assisted living centers, seven memory care centers, and five senior apartment complexes across the state. By keeping the business in the family and nurturing an engaging atmosphere for residents — coupled with utilizing the latest technology — the Brown family ensures its founding premise of “bringing retirement to life” is upheld. In fact, the Browns believe that running a family business is the key to Village Concept’s success. “The great thing about running a family business is the level of commitment that comes from everyone involved,” said Stuart Brown, Village Concept’s Chief Operating Officer and grandson of the company’s founder. “Working with family gives us a good support system. We’re here because we love what we do.” Because the Browns believe in creating villages that feel like a family, each resident is treated like one of the brood with programs such as Village Concepts University and Bucket List Check-Off, aimed at keeping residents engaged and inspired. The Village Concepts University provides classes to its residents on the topics of physical and emotional health as they prepare for the next stage in their lives. The Bucket List Check-Off program allows residents to fulfill lifelong goals such as riding in a hot air balloon, a bi-plane, or on a Harley-Davidson. Village Concept’s on-site programming, and certified, licensed staff who need to be available 24 hours per day means that Village Concepts is well equipped to deal with any issues or emergencies that arise. This means the Browns value employees on whom they can rely. Outside of their work at Village Concepts, the staff is encouraged to take advantage of the company’s benefits and initiatives which provide extra training and courses for those who want to expand their experience beyond company and state requirements.“We’ve got people who’ve worked here for going on thirty years, and in a family-run business, these connections are highly regarded and trusted,” Brown said. The family-feel of Village Concepts doesn’t stop there: During the snowstorm earlier this year, employees volunteered their time to make sure residents got the best care possible in such dangerous weather conditions. Village Concepts provided mattresses, blankets, toiletries, and food for those employees, and their family members helped with transportation and childcare. Because of this community ethos, keeping the company in the family is of utmost importance to the Browns. That said, they never force any family members into the business. “It is up to every generation in the family if they want to work at Village Concepts, there is no pressure on them to join. We invite family to apply, but we encourage all employees to grow within the company,” Brown said.
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