By Lindsay Hurley Fick
The enormous generosity of individuals and organizations, to benefit Saint Simeon’s, is the theme of each edition of The Ambiance. Once again, this edition highlights extraordinary people and events that allow Saint Simeon’s to expand programs, offer new services, and maintain its beautiful grounds. Examples of ‘generosity in action’ include an expanded focus on Parkinson’s at Saint Simeon’s. New equipment and programming in the Wellness Center, specific to individuals with Parkinson’s, are making a difference. A newly constructed and equipped physical therapy studio is assisting those individuals that come to Saint Simeon's for short stay rehabilitation.
The donation of a Clavinova piano and the ‘Keys to Memory’ program for individuals in our Memory Center has been a fabulous addition. Music has a way of unlocking stored memories and bringing untold joy. On the medical side, the addition of a bladder scanner allows nursing to diagnosis issues more quickly and efficiently.
And finally, if you’ve been to Saint Simeon’s in the past few months you may have noticed a much smoother drive! New asphalt was laid and it looks great. These examples (and many more) were made possible by those shown on the preceding pages of this magazine. On behalf of everyone at Saint Simeon’s, thank you.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
Decades of compassion – those words perfectly describe Saint Simeon’s.
As I sit to write this letter I have just returned from having lunch with Residents – Bishop Cox, Mr. Dempster and Mr. Snow. Collectively these gentlemen span 25 years at Saint Simeon’s. Two of my colleagues, Karen Stanhope and Kathy Hinkle, joined us as well. Karen and Kathy are examples of Saint Simeon’s long tenured staff, 28 years and 20 years respectively. The lunch was a wonderful time of sharing about our lives across the many decades and especially recounting special times together at Saint Simeon’s.
One person that truly exemplifies decades of compassion at Saint Simeon’s is Kum Yon Jones. Kum Yon has been on staff for 37 years. She is loved by everyone – Residents, families, and staff. Kum Yon has a quiet, caring and humble manner that has touched the lives of generations. The following story depicts the essence of Kum Yon. In late 2013 Mrs. Lois Gatchell was visiting Saint Simeon’s in preparation of making Saint Simeon’s her home. One of the first questions Mrs. Gatchell asked was “Is Kum Yon still here?” The answer was yes! During Mrs. Gatchell’s visit she and her daughter ran into Kum Yon. I’m told it was an emotional moment for everyone. You see, Kum Yon had cared for Mrs. Gatchell’s mother. Kum Yon had wonderful recollections and special memories of that time. As Mrs. Gatchell and her daughter were preparing to leave, Kum Yon said “Please come and let me take care of you”. Mrs. Gatchell replied, “That’s the best invitation I’ve ever gotten”. The story of Kum Yon is repeated for many of our staff, decades of devotion, decades of care.
In each Ambiance I mention the legacy of Saint Simeon’s. That legacy is centered on the fact that 56 years ago when Saint Simeon’s was founded compassion for seniors was the cornerstone. That legacy continues today because Saint Simeon’s Board of Trustees, through many decades, has never wavered in its dedication to the founder’s mission.
As I end this letter I think about the fact that 2016 is my 10th year at Saint Simeon’s. Not long in comparison to others! Saint Simeon’s grabbed my heart from the first moment I stepped on campus. I feel certain that many others, over five plus decades, feel the very same way.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
For Western Days 2015 Carolyn Blair had a video made of Residents, Families, Trustees, Volunteers and Staff giving their thoughts on Saint Simeon’s. For my part of the video, Carolyn asked me to answer the question ‘What makes Saint Simeon’s so special?’ That was an easy question to answer. It is the people – absolutely the people.
This edition of Ambiance tells of Saint Simeon’s traditions of caring. Those traditions were made, passed down, and continued through the years by the wonderful people associated with Saint Simeon’s. I wish you could spend a day in my shoes, I promise that you would be inspired. Let me tell you about someone that inspired me, and inspired so many others.
When I joined Saint Simeon’s, I was told about Stella Reynolds. Stella had been at Saint Simeon’s, at that time, 20+ years. I was told of Stella’s kindness and her devotion to the Residents. Residents, Staff and Trustees referred to Stella as ‘an angel.’ I quickly learned she truly was. Stella simply exudes love. Her very presence makes you feel special. One of my favorite stories of Stella is a time when a Resident wanted to hem a pair of her own slacks. The Resident had been a wonderful seamstress but now needed help. Stella sat on the bed with the Resident, each with a pant leg to hem. Stella lovingly guided the Resident, and together, they hemmed the slacks. The stories of Stella’s care are many. It was such a privilege to know, to work with and to love Stella.
Stella finally decided it was time to retire in late August after 29 years of serving the Residents of Saint Simeon’s. I think Stella’s own words describe her best: “The Residents have always been the best part of my job. They are like members of my family. One reason I didn’t retire before is that I would get attached to a Resident who would ask me to promise I wouldn’t leave until they passed. But by the time that happened, I had promised another Resident!”
Stella is a wonderful example of the tradition of caring at Saint Simeon’s. You’ll read of more traditions in the pages ahead.
As we enter the holiday season may your traditions bring joy, laughter and love.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
The theme of this edition of Ambiance is caring. This is such an appropriate theme, as caring is the very essence of Saint Simeon’s.
I have the privilege each day to see firsthand caring in action; it is evident in so many ways. The dining assistant that knows each and every preference of those she serves, the hair dresser that comes in on his day off to make sure his client looks wonderful for a special family event, our own Simone making her daily rounds to greet each person and receive the hugs and pats that warm everyone’s heart – especially Simone’s!, and the list goes on.
In fact, Saint Simeon’s has a special recognition program specific to acts of caring. The program ‘Kris’ Caring Champions’ is an endowed program made possible through the kindness and generosity of the late Kris Nichols’ family. Each month the program recognizes employees for their extraordinary acts of caring. It is by far my favorite meeting of the month.
In early March there was a special recognition of another kind. This time it was a Resident, Mr. Vern Stanton. Mr. Stanton was named the Resident Volunteer of the Year by the state’s non-profit long-term care industry group, LeadingAge Oklahoma. A special awards dinner in Oklahoma City recognized Mr. Stanton’s work in Saint Simeon’s Wellness Center assisting Residents in their exercise programs by leading classes, encouraging participation, and helping Residents that need assistance to and from the Center to make sure they continue their wellness routines. Mr. Stanton tells the story that his initial entrance to Saint Simeon’s was due to a serious health condition. He credits the care and restorative therapy he received as the reason for his wonderful recovery, and he wants everyone to have that same opportunity. Mr. Stanton is a wonderful example of a caring and giving heart and so deserving of the award he received.
Caring, as demonstrated in so many ways by staff, Residents, Trustees, friends, and donors, is the heart of Saint Simeon’s. I am thankful to be a part of Saint Simeon’s. There is simply no better place to be.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
You will see in this edition of The Ambiance that giving is the theme, and what a great theme it is. In truth, giving is at the heart of Saint Simeon’s.
Saint Simeon’s staff is dedicated to giving the best in care and service. Saint Simeon’s is committed to giving employees a wonderful place to work and share their talents. As well, Saint Simeon’s mission is fulfilled by the many volunteers and donors giving of their time, their talents and their treasure.
As you will read a bit later, Western Days 2014 was a huge success. Thank you to everyone that attended and for your generous giving. It was a fun filled evening made possible through the hard work of Carolyn Blair, many Saint Simeon’s staff and volunteers, and the leadership of Saint Simeon’s Home and Foundation Trustees.
People often comment to me that Saint Simeon’s has long been known as a leader in senior care. They then ask ‘How has Saint Simeon’s maintained that reputation through the years?’ My answer is always the same – The Boards of Trustees.
Central to the vision, mission and spirit of Saint Simeon’s is its Boards of Trustees. Individually and collectively their giving covers the spectrum. Their expertise and wise counsel guide the future of Saint Simeon’s. Their dedication to excellence inspires excellence. And the generosity of their personal financial resources ensure services and programs continue.
The following pages of this edition will acknowledge the many, many donors to Saint Simeon’s. You will also meet a colleague of mine, Chris Gruszeczki. Each name listed is an important part of the Saint Simeon’s family.
Each day and each evening, every day of the year, we at Saint Simeon’s give care and give love. And, we give thanks for each of you.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
Spring is the time of year when the word ‘beginning’ comes to mind. The weather is beginning to change to very welcome warmer temperatures (especially after this past winter). The trees are beginning to bud, and daffodils and tulips are beginning to bloom. And the peacocks at Saint Simeon’s are beginning to lay eggs!
One new beginning you’ll hear about soon, and we hope will become an annual tradition, is family pictures. We recently had a request by a past family member to take pictures on the grounds of Saint Simeon’s. She commented on the beauty of Saint Simeon’s and likened our grounds to Woodward Park. What a wonderful compliment. Her request gave us an idea – family pictures for our Residents and their families at this beautiful time of year. We look forward to creating a family heirloom for Residents, in many ways a piece of art. As you’ll see in the following pages, art is an important aspect of life at Saint Simeon’s.
2014 is actually full of new beginnings for Saint Simeon’s. The renovation of Saint Simeon’s Health Care Center began in the fall of 2013, but the main attraction of the renovation was just completed. It is a gorgeous work of ‘art’ (or more correctly stated ‘a gorgeous work of design and construction’!). The new kitchen in the Health Care Center creates a focal point of warmth and vibrancy. Its open design and attractive appointments give the feeling of home. Thank you to the donors that made the renovation of the Health Care Center, and its spectacular centerpiece, possible.
In addition to its renovation, the Health Care Center began a new service in early 2014. Saint Simeon’s is now certified to offer Skilled Nursing – Medicare Part A. This new offering will allow individuals requiring skilled nursing as they leave the hospital to choose Saint Simeon’s for their rehabilitation. We look forward to welcoming new faces and families to Saint Simeon’s.
One other new beginning in 2014 comes in the form of technology. Saint Simeon’s will soon become paperless – well, almost! We are currently in the midst of installing an electronic medical records software. By mid-summer the installation will be complete. We are excited.
Since this issue of Ambiance will feature art, I thought I might share a few pieces of ‘art’ by my grandchildren. They love coming to Saint Simeon’s to see the peacocks, the Koi and of course Simone. They often draw pictures for me – by far the most valuable art I own. Below are a few that adorn my office!
May this spring be the beginning of a wonderful summer for you.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
This edition of Ambiance will center on friendship and the vital role friends play in our lives. In the coming pages, you will read of friends that bring their talent, their energy and their giving spirit to Saint Simeon’s, all with the central focus of enriching lives. Friends of Saint Simeon’s – Residents, current and former family members, staff, Auxiliary volunteers, Trustees and donors – fulfill the mission of Saint Simeon’s.
I could fill pages recounting the wonderful acts of kindness and love shown by the many that comprise the Saint Simeon’s family. Saint Simeon’s has been Tulsa’s senior community for 53 years – our large family spans generations.
Western Days is always a wonderful expression of the Saint Simeon’s family. I hear stories of the first Western Days 17 years ago, hosted by the Auxiliary. It took place on the lawn of Saint Simeon’s, with a gathering of 50-75 people. Fast forward to 2013 where 700 people packed Expo’s Central Park Hall. Saint Simeon’s is truly blessed with magnificent friends.
At Saint Simeon’s I have the privilege of seeing friendship displayed in the lives of Residents and staff each day. One Auxiliary member is known for frequently bringing cookies to her Resident friends gathered at Carla’s Corner. Saint Simeon’s vegetable garden was full of wonderful produce this summer due to the hard work and collaboration of our Resident gardener and Saint Simeon’s Education Director. I enjoy going to the Wellness Center and hearing the laughter (and a few groans!) as Residents work with the Wellness Center staff to improve their health. As well, it is so rewarding to see a Resident’s face light up when their favorite staff member enters the room. In a thank you note I received recently, a family member stated “At this stage in my mother’s life, her best friends are the staff of Saint Simeon’s. They are my friends too. Thank you from both of us.”
I know I speak for my colleagues when I say that Saint Simeon’s Residents are an important part of our lives. Just last week, I was visiting with a Resident and we were discussing how much she loves to sing. I asked her what type of music she likes best. Her answer was hymns. I told her I like hymns too. Before long, the hallways echoed with the sound of us singing Onward Christian Soldiers (one of her favorites). As I headed back to my office, I thought to myself, what a great way to spend the morning with a friend.
By Lindsay Hurley Fick
This issue of Ambiance is arriving at your home just before Mother’s Day. To all the mothers that read this issue, I hope we’re the first to say, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Saint Simeon’s is replete with amazing mothers – Resident mothers, employee mothers and even our peahen mothers! In fact, as I write this, I’m told that our peahens have begun to nest. Within the month, there will be peachicks following their mother peahens throughout the courtyards.
One of the privileges of being at Saint Simeon’s is getting to know and growing to love the mothers who call Saint Simeon’s home. The same holds true for their families.
On the cover of this issue of Ambiance, you’ll see Mrs. Marilyn Baker and her two daughters, Debbie Baker and Revelle Clausing. Debbie and Revelle’s love for their mother is obvious to everyone. Mrs. Baker is blessed with two extraordinary daughters and Saint Simeon’s is blessed by all three ladies.
I continually witness the love of children for their mother. One of my favorites include the evening that I walked by a Resident’s apartment to peals of laughter spilling into the hallway. I couldn’t resist! I knocked on the apartment door and was welcomed into a family reunion of three generations.
Another relationship that exemplifies the special bond of a woman and the next generation especially touches my heart. In this case, the mother is actually an aunt who never had children of her own. But just speak to her niece and nephew and it is obvious that her unconditional love, wise guidance and constant support played a major role in shaping their lives. Her eyes light up at the mere mention of their names.
I can’t end this letter without thinking of my own mother – truly a woman whose children are her heart’s desire. I am blessed. Additionally, I feel I must comment on my own thoughts of motherhood. I remember each year as my son grew up thinking that there simply wasn’t anything as wonderful as being a mother.
And then seven years ago, I became a grandmother! Oh my goodness – there simply isn’t anything better!
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