Category Archives: Awards

1952 Olympian Shares His Story

“There is no give up in my dad…in his mind, he’s still that Olympic athlete,” says Laura Gambucci of her 87 year old father.

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Her dad is Andre Gambucci, a hockey player who took up the game when he was four years old.  He played college hockey for Colorado College where he also played football, finishing fourth in scoring nationally in 1952 with 16 touchdowns.

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That was the year he was named to the U.S. Olympic hockey team which won the silver medal.  Andre says the team faced controversy when they were criticized for their rough style of play.  Body checking was legal but it was not commonly used by the European teams and opponents and spectators did not like that style of play.

Still, traveling to Oslo, Norway and winning a silver medal was quite the accomplishment. Following the Olympics, Andre stayed with the game, becoming a referee for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.  Laura says some of her fondest childhood memories are of traveling with her dad to hockey games.

Andre was also honored in 2010 when he was asked to be part of the Torch Run for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

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Today, Andre lives at the Merrill Gardens community in Goodyear, Arizona and daughter Laura lives nearby.  He loves sharing his Olympic experience with team members and other residents and we are thrilled to be able to tell his story.

You can watch the interview with Andre and Laura here.

 

 

 

 

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We Celebrate the Most Inspiring Senior of the Year, Luella Shell

A wise man once said, “You’re never too old to win.”  Well the axiom has been proven by Merrill Gardens resident and 99 year old super-senior, Luella Shell.

Luella Shell - Most Inspiring Senior - Merrill GardensLuella didn’t just win a local spelling bee. She was named by SeniorHomes.com as the Most Inspiring Senior, in the Best Senior Living Awards 2014. In this national competition, Luella won with a whopping 31% more votes than the second place contender.

A resident at Merrill Gardens of Santa Maria, CA, Luella is an inspiration to everyone she meets.  With a constant smile on her face, she’s likely to take you on your next adventure with her by clicking her feet together and saying “Let’s Go”.

The General Manager of the Santa Maria community, Audie Sherberg, says this about the dynamo, “Luella is an ongoing inspiration to our residents and team members alike.  She is the true example of celebrating life to its fullest!”

In addition to her love for dancing, she is always creating opportunities for Merrill Gardens residents to get more involved with the community. Two special events started by Luella are the Funky Fashion Show and Talent Show.

“The overwhelming success of both events impacted the entire community,” recounts Sherberg. The emotions, laughter and joy were wonderful to see.  Clearly it was an experience that touched the emotions and hearts of everyone involved!”

When she’s not dancing or coming up with new activity ideas, you may find her in the kitchen making cookies. Is there anything this woman can’t do?

We congratulate Luella for being recognized for her inspiring ways and we are so happy that she chose to make Merrill Gardens her home!

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Bill Sleeper is the Geek of the Week!

One of the great things about being Ms. Merrill is the chance to meet our residents. The people here are amazing, and have fascinating stories to tell.

Now, Geekwire is not a publication that makes a lot of trips to assisted living communities. John Cook and Todd Bishop are generally roaming the halls at Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft, and all of the local tech start-ups, searching for the next Mark Zuckerburg.

So I couldn’t be more proud to see our very own tech guru, Mr. Bill Sleeper, honored by Geekwire as their “Geek of the Week.

Todd did a great job on the article, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. But go take a read and let us know what you think. Congrats Bill!

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Taste of Merrill Gardens Top Chef Winners Announced!

We would like to thank all of you who participated in our very successful “Taste of Merrill Gardens Top Chef” contest. A special thanks goes out to our communities and community chefs who provided the great food and service. The recipes were terrific and the voting was very close throughout!

We are pleased to announce the following winners in each category:

Soup: House Clam Chowder by Sherrie James – Cordata

  
Salad: Mixed Green Salad by Justin Mabunay – Pacific Place

  
Entrée: Sesame Crusted Salmon by Chad McKenzie – Tacoma

  
Dessert: Cheesecake by Ron Holtz – Courtyard Plaza

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Merrill Gardens In Seattle Business Magazine!

If you will allow us to brag just a little bit, this is the third time in ten years that Merrill Gardens has been named a Washington State Family Business of the Year. We owe it all to our fantastic residents and team members and the support of the Merrill family!

You can read more on the Seattle Business Magazine website.

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Washington Family Business Awards

We are thrilled that Seattle Business Magazine named us a winner in their 2010 Washington Family Business Awards. Merrill Gardens was honored in the category of Business Transition Award. Thank you!

Here’s a great photo from the banquet. Our Chairman Emeritus, Cordy Wagner and Chairman Charlie Wright accepted the award on behalf of all the residents and team members at Merrill Gardens. Great shot of Charlie and Barb Wright and Cordy and Judy Wagner!

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