Spectrum residents share the stories and passions that keep them active and engaged in their communities.
Sharon Brunnemer was born approximately 2,696 miles from Streamwood, Illinois, in Port of Spain, the capital of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Her father was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and her mother was a homemaker. Sharon spent the first six years of her life between the islands of Trinidad, Tobago and Puerto Rico. From the ages of six to 17, Sharon and her sister (with her parents) were constantly moving and visiting such places as: Holland, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Austria, Italy and the continental U.S. (Louisiana and Virginia). She enjoyed making new friends, assimilating to new cultures, enjoying each country's ethnic cuisines and taking in multiple genres of music.
Sharon ranks Puerto Rico as one of the best places she has ever lived. The sea turtles and exotic fish are also vivid memories that Sharon equates with Puerto Rico. She occasionally visits Puerto Rico and makes sure she includes a trip to a beach and the Porta Coeli Catholic Church in San German, Puerto Rico. The family attended services there every Sunday, when they were able.
Sharon has always had immense pride, patriotism and a great admiration for her father's unwavering attitude and service for the U.S. She loves her "Colonel" of 92 years young. He continues to share his experiences of the Army life. His recollections are detailed and delightful. Sharon will tell you that her relationship with her "Colonel" is "priceless."
Sharon, a Westbrook resident since 2016 and a world traveler, is very pleased with the new and modern conveniences of Westbrook. She's made many friends and is actively involved with fun programs such as card games, bingo and adult coloring. Many of her vibrant designs of red, orange and yellow were on display in the February 2016 Westbrook Art Show. She often participates in the Creative Art Club of jewelry making. She especially enjoys creating unique glass beaded necklaces of blues, greens and yellows.
Sharon is an enthusiastic woman who has the innate ability to make new residents feel a part of the Westbrook community. She shares her experiences of traveling the world much like her Colonel does with Army life.
Agnes Meyer was raised on a farm, and her first job after school was to climb up in the hayloft and throw down the hay for the cattle to eat. She gathered eggs, milked cows and corralled the cattle. Agnes learned to make butter and cheeses.
If Agnes had any free time she could be found reading, which was her passion. She loves biographies and reading about famous celebrities, especially the royal family. She looks forward to receiving the local newspaper, the Missourian.
Agnes and her husband opened a Western Auto store in downtown New Haven, Missouri. The business went over well so they decided to expand and built a new store on the highway. They owned the Western Auto stores for more than 25 years.
They owned a 1.5-acre site that sat vacant for many years. Agnes donated the property to New Havens Scenic Regional Library, so they could build a new branch.
"The town needs it," she says. "Its close to the school and it will be good for the community." Thanks to Agnes generous donation, others in her community will have the chance to develop the same love for reading and education that she has enjoyed throughout her life.
After a lifetime of work and several careers, Gordon Blankenship arrived at Lakeview Senior Living in September 2016. Gordon spent 26 years working in numerous managerial and corporate positions before running his own business for 25 years. During all those years photography was a constant companion and recorder of his family's history. After more than 50 years in business, he retired in 2015.
Gordon developed an interest in photography while serving in the U.S. Army in Germany and continued taking photos of his travels, his children's growth and activities ever since.
"I have thousands of slides, prints and negatives that chronicle my family and our travels," he says. Although photography has changed in the digital age, Gordon still values good composition, lighting and those things that distinguish a photograph that tells a story from a simple snapshot.
Since coming to Lakeview Senior Living, Gordon has become the 'unofficial' photographer of people and activities and is currently featured in Spectrum Retirements latest television commercial.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Faye Griego grew up in Center, Colorado, and later moved with her family to New Mexico. She attended school through the 7th grade and then worked on the farm to help the family. She met her husband, Joe, who served in the Armed Services and was stationed in Saipan. They kept the relationship alive over the distance and were married for 66 years.
During her life, Faye worked in a variety of positions from working on the farm to working in a creamery. She also worked for Zales, at a church as a Sunday school teacher and her most important job was working at home taking care of her children. Fayes interests include nature walks, helping others, Bible study, decorating, listening to music and singing. She also used to do a lot of crocheting.
"I hate to be idle," she says. "I love to be around the action, and if there is no action, I will create it."
Faye loves to stay involved and finds new things to do every day. When moving into Palmilla Senior Living, she asked about Bible study. Her heart was filled with joy when Palmilla had its first Bible study and three residents came to learn about the Lord. By the fourth meeting, the group had grown to 12, and Faye was overjoyed and tearful that, due to her request, there were so many people getting together to enjoy and learn the word of God.
Robert "Bob" Paswaters
Robert "Bob" Paswaters was an avid tennis player until he moved to Hong Kong in the mid-'90s to work as a Missionary sharing the gospel with the people in their mother tongue, Cantonese. With no one to play tennis with, he turned to running for exercise.
After returning to the U.S., he began running competitively in 2002 and has since run the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon seven or eight times — so many he can't remember! At 70 years old he won 1st place in the 70+ age group —its his favorite running memory. He also won 2nd place twice and 3rd place once.
This year alone, Bob has competed in four 5K races. His most recent race, in May, was the BolderBoulder 10K. There were 12 men in his age group (82 years old), and he won 1st place.
Bob has run more than 100 races. He finds joy in running; its good exercise and keeps him in shape. He also thinks that the competition is fun.
"If you want to race, you need to practice and run every day," he says. Bob trains by running either a 5K or a 10K every morning (except Sunday) at 6 a.m.