Category Archives: Active Living

Getting to Know…Tony Victor

Our residents are some of the most important reasons Merrill Gardens is such a special place to live. So, we’d like to highlight a few of them in the upcoming months.

First up is Tony Victor who lives at our community in Huntsville, Alabama. Tony is a veteran who served in the U.S. Air Corps beginning in 1942 as a radio operator and gunner. He was shot down, taken captive, spent a month in a military hospital under German supervision and was eventually sent to Nuremburg’s prisoner of war camp. We could tell the whole story on his behalf, but we think you’d rather hear it from him.

Tony Victor - Merrill Gardens

After finishing my Bachelors degree at La Verne College, La Verne, California, I was drafted into the service of the US Air Corps on September 13, 1942. I trained in Chicago for radio operator and gunner. I was accepted for cadet training and pilot training. I was reassigned to 833 Bomb Squadron where I was radio operator and gunner. On my 19th mission we were shot down by a German Bf109.

I parachuted from my B-17 plane near Strasburg, Germany, and landed on my lower back in a pine tree. On January 21, 1945, a snowy, bitterly cold day, I was taken captive. I was four weeks in a military hospital under German supervision due to the back injury. Afterward, I was imprisoned in a “sweat box” in Frankfort on the Main. Some time elapsed before I was moved to Nuremburg’s prisoner of war camp.

We were taken there by rail cars. While traveling at night the US Black Widow bombers and radar fighters, thinking the personnel and cargo rail cars were German, bombed us during our trip. Nightly, in Nuremburg, there were bombing flights overhead by English Sterling and Lancaster planes which were bombing the Germans in this area. German anti-aircraft fire was returned. As Patton advanced into Germany, the Germans moved us deeper into Germany to Moosburg. After about three weeks there, Patton’s army released all the prisoners of war at Moosburg.

I was flown to Camp Lucky Strike in La Havre, France for hospital care and food to bolster my malnutrition. I was discharged from the service at Fort George Wright in Washington State. I returned to California and began a new life.

I married Marllys R. Aschenbrenner in 1947 and had 3 children, Margery, Ann and Robert. After 30+ years, I retired from a career as a Psychiatric Social Worker in 1978. I settled into retirement with my wife, Marllys, and we were married 50 years before her death in 1998. At age 98, October 29, 2014 I have 5 grandchildren, and 2 great grand children.

We join Tony’s family in wishing him a very happy 98th birthday! We also want to thank Tony for his service to our country.

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Halloween Spirits Come Alive at Merrill Gardens

From community to community, Merrill Gardens residents and staff embraced the Halloween season with gusto. We saw pumpkins, witches, warlocks and everything in between. Here are some pics from around the country.

Merrill Gardens Halloween - Willow Glen


Merrill Gardens at Willow Glen

Merrill Gardens Halloween - The Patrician


Merrill Gardens at The Patrician

Merrill Gardens Halloween - Kirkland


Merrill Gardens at Kirkland

Merrill Gardens Halloween - Mountlake Terrace


Merrill Gardens at Mountlake Terrace

Merrill Gardens Halloween - First Hill


Merrill Gardens at First Hill

Merrill Gardens Halloween - Bankers Hill


Merrill Gardens at Bankers Hill

Merrill Gardens Halloween - University


Merrill Gardens at The University

Merrill Gardens Halloween - Village Green


Merrill Gardens at Village Green

Merrill Gardens Halloween - Main Office


Merrill Gardens Main Office

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Dude, Let’s Go Wii Bowling

This wasn’t just any Wii bowling tournament. This was a regional event featuring communities from Mercer Island, Tacoma, Renton, Mountlake Terrace, Kirkland and University in the Seattle area. Love those shirts!

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Merrill Gardens at First Hill Raises $5000 for Alzheimer’s Research

Merrill Gardens Gives Back Month continues, and this week we want to recognize the team at our First Hill community in Seattle. Through their fundraising and participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the group raised close to $5000.

If you missed the event on September 20 but still want to support the fight against Alzheimer’s, click here to donate as part of the Merrill Gardens First Hill team.

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Up, Up and Away

Crystal Mountain in summer. Via www.CrystalMountainResort.com

Residents and team members at our Tacoma, WA community recently took a day trip to one of Washington’s favorite spots – Crystal Mountain Resort.

Don’t look down!

During the winter, this winter paradise is one of the top ski areas in the state. But in the summer, nature enthusiasts can take a ride all the way to the 7,000 foot peak and enjoy majestic vistas without the inconvenience of a blizzard.

Going up the mountian

The views from the summit are stunning, and when you make it to the top, you can see see Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier.

At the top

And if you decide to go on this trip yourself one day, don’t worry if you forget to pack a lunch to the top. The Summit House is the highest restaurant in the state.

Group shot at the top.

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Game On At Gilroy and Willow Glen!

Levi’s Stadium is a brand new $1 Billion palace located in Santa Clara. It’s the shiny new home of the San Francisco 49’ers, and will host a number of other professional and collegiate sporting events.

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Source: San Jose Mercury News

The folks from Willow Glen and Gilroy called an audible one afternoon and headed out to Santa Clara, where they received a little tour of the new stadium. We think which part they liked the best 🙂

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Kirkland Takes Ice Bucket Challenge to a Whole New Level

You’ve probably seen a lot of ALS Ice Bucket challenges in the last few weeks. But have you seen many that involve Oscar-worth acting, stunts, props and an international challenge at the end?

Well, we’d like to present Stuart “Steven Spielberg” Ostfeldt and his team from Merrill Gardens Kirkland. Not satisfied with simply dumping a bucket of ice water, Stuart brings us one of the top videos we’ve seen so far. Nice work everyone. That’s a wrap.

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A Personal Story About What the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is Really About

For the last few weeks, we’ve watched people develop dramatic or funny videos to support the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We’ve seen kids, adults, celebrities, family members and more take an ice bath to support ALS research.

Our Gilroy, CA community has not only taken the challenge, but also delivers a special message from a resident whose son is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. If you are only somewhat aware of the pain ALS causes patients and family members, this is a video you need to see. Remember, this Facebook phenomenon is not simply about humor – it’s about raising money to find a cure for this devastating affliction.

Thank you for sharing your touching story.

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The Buckets Continue! Watch the Next Merrill Gardens Communities Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the country by ice storm, with the latest estimate that $15.6 MILLION has been raised to fight ALS.

The Merrill Gardens corporate office took up the challenge last week, when President Tana Gall convinced her team to take the plunge. Within 24 hours, Merrill Gardens Tacoma stepped up and enjoyed their very own ice bath.

This week, the challenge lives on at Merrill Gardens, with Creekside, Northgate Plaza and University all participating in the frosty fundraiser!

Creekside:

Northgate Plaza:

University:

Which one is your favorite so far?

Next up this week: Bankers Hill, Santa Maria and Albertville. Wee-hoo!

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Merrill Gardens Tacoma Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Well THAT didn’t take long.

Yesterday, we watched Merrill Gardens President Tana Gall and her team get doused with buckets of ice water, as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Tana then passed along the challenge to Merrill Gardens Tacoma, University and Renton.

Well, less than 24 hours later, Krista Solomon and her team from Merrill Gardens Tacoma stared that challenge straight in the eye.

You’re up Creekside!

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