Cherrywood news 10-19-2012

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Craft show a huge success; yard sale is next

By John Everlove


The Cherrywood Craft Show was a resounding success with more than a score of vendors and hundreds of shoppers. The weather was clear, cool and dry making for an excellent turnout where people found bargains; enjoyed lunch; bought raffle tickets and socialized in the relaxed atmosphere of the clubhouse.

Each individual crafter donated a prize to be raffled off for the benefit of Interfaith Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of the vendors and shoppers, they will receive $233.

The Cherrywood Veterans Club sold raffle tickets for two gift baskets and a floral display and collected food for Ritz House. Our Songbirds sold delicious home made bake goods to help support their programs and provide dessert to those who enjoyed lunch. Speaking of lunch, the food was so good that the Entertainment Committee nearly ran out of food but managed to get everyone fed.

Thanks to all of you who came and made this event so successful. Thanks also to our volunteers who gave up their time to serve the food; sell the baked goods and provide the raffle tickets. Last but not least, a note of appreciation to Geri who did a great job organizing and coordinating this special event.

Next up for Cherrywood is the Community Yard Sale. Read more below.


Community yard sale

Come one come all to the huge Cherrywood Community Yard Sale on Oct. 20. Beginning at 8 a.m. the residents of Cherrywood will open their garages; their driveways and their yards to all who are seeking great bargains and fantastic deals.

You will find tools for your lawn and garden; home or work place. Jewelry and clothing will be in abundance as well as bikes; golf clubs; art work; sporting equipment and home health care items. Find bargain prices on everything and maybe even haggle a little bit to get an even better deal.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to find treasures and bargains; necessities and whims. Saturday Oct. 20 from 8 a.m. until noon come out to the Cherrywood Community Yard Sale!


Food Drive for Ritz house

More than three truckloads of food were delivered to Ritz House for Veterans in Ocala. The Veterans Club would like to thank the generous hearts at Cherrywood who put out their donations on Thursday, Oct. 11 for collection.

As most of you know, the Ritz House serves our veterans, both men and women, who are facing transition into society after being burdened with addiction and/or emotional problems. They receive counseling, support and a safe place to live while conquering their personal demons (see Spotlight on Excellence article).

Through the help of your Veterans Club and the gifts of our residents, these individuals are provided nourishment for not only their souls, but also their bodies. On behalf of our volunteers and the Veterans Club of Cherrywood, we extend a big “Thank You” to our supportive residents.


Bowlers raise funds for veterans

The Veterans Club of Cherrywood would like to thank our bowling league for their unprecedented and overwhelming support in this years fund raising event. On Monday, Oct. 22 in the clubhouse, our bowlers and sponsors will gather to be honored at a luncheon given by the veterans in appreciation for their efforts.

Our sponsors being recognized are:

Lee’s Chicken, 9548 S.W. State Road 200.

PostNet, 5400 S.W. College Road Suite 302 (next to Publix).

Galaxy Lanes, 1818 S.W. 17th St.

Beef O’Brady’s, 11100 S.W. 93rd Court Road.

Southern Styles Hair Salon, 8585 S.W. State Road 200 Suite 13 (next to Sav-a-Lot).

Swinson Chiropractic, 5481 S.W 90th St. (across from Publix).

Our Place Lounge, 7651 S.W. State Road 200 Suite 502 (next to Oasis Restaurant).

Sammy’s Italian Restaurant, 6106 S.W. State Road 200 (in Jasmine Center).

Billy Jameson of Southern Styles Beauty Salon.

Bill Spangenberg of the Cherrywood Veterans Club.

We strongly urge all of our residents, neighbors and friends to patronize our sponsors and let them know that we are grateful for their contributions.


Newcomers to Cherrywood

Are you new to our community? We would like to invite you to the Welcoming Committee Coffee Hour on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. in the clubhouse. This is an opportunity to meet your neighbors and some of people who run the activities of this very active adult community.

In addition, you will receive a handout that gives you some pertinent information about the county of Marion and the city of Ocala that will be helpful to you in moving around town.

A wealth of information will be at your disposal as well as a warm welcome and some pretty tasty treats. Call Geri if you can attend this very informal gathering. This is open to everyone who has moved into Cherrywood in the past six or seven months.


Bocce Ball

Did everyone receive the memo? Bocce Ball now meets at 7 p.m. on Friday evenings. The same group of fun loving players and fans that used to meet on Saturday nights now gathers at the Bocce Court behind the clubhouse for fun and games on Friday

If you’ve never played Bocce this is a great opportunity for you to learn and if you have played, the competition is friendly. Maybe you’d just like to watch and cheer on your favorite players; that’s OK, too.

For a truly enjoyable evening out socializing with friends and neighbors, Bocce Ball is the place to be. Bring a bottle of wine; maybe a few snacks and your sense of humor and you’ll have a terrific time. Bocce Ball; Fridays at 7 p.m.


Halloween at Cherrywood

On Oct. 27, join your friends and neighbors for a gala Halloween Celebration from 6 until 10 p.m.

Get your ticket from Geri for only $4. Pick out your scariest and/or funniest costume; the more original the better; and put it on. Grab your favorite liquid refreshments and then come to the clubhouse for a bite to eat from 6 until 7 p.m.

Immediately following the meal, Rich Becotte, our resident DJ, will crank up your favorite songs for an evening of dancing and relaxing. There will be a door prize; prizes for best costumes and of course a fifty/fifty drawing as well.

For those of you who have been to our dances and parties before, you know how much fun they are. Invite some of those who may not have wanted to attend in the past and let them find out what a blast the parties are at Cherrywood.

Halloween is a great time for letting it all go so come on out for our party and join in the fun!


Veterans Club open meeting

In October the Veterans Club opened its meeting to all residents so they could get some information on energy conservation and safety from Roy Mitchell of SECO. In November, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office is coming to give a presentation on ID Theft; Crimes Seniors and how to look out for the latest scams.

This will be an excellent opportunity for all of you care about your security and safety to get answers to your questions and learn new techniques for protecting yourself. Your Veterans Club is doing this to express its heartfelt appreciation for the support Cherrywood residents provide it.

The meeting begins promptly at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1. Tickets are not required so just come in; make your self at home and relax for the presentation. You will also get an understanding of the work of your Veterans Club.

See you at the Vet’s Club for this important presentation.


Veteran’s Day Observance

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, the Veterans Club of Cherrywood will observe Veterans Day. This ceremony is open to the public and all are welcome to come out and honor those who have served and who are serving in this nation’s military.

Our very own Color Guard will present the Stars and Stripes as well as those of the various services. Music will be provided as we honor our nation and each of the branches of service including; Merchant Marine; Coast Guard; Air Force; Navy; Marines and the Army.

Our guest speaker for this event is Col. Tom P. Currie Jr. USAF (Retired). Col Currie is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy; a Combat Search and Rescue Pilot; a test pilot; and eventually was named director, Global Reach Combined Test Force. He completed his career as the commander of the 418th Flight Test Squadron where he commanded over 500 personnel.

Col. Currie has a much more extensive biography than we have room to print here but suffice it to say we honored to have an officer of his caliber as our guest speaker.

There will be the traditional laying of the wreath at the conclusion of the ceremony and the playing of Taps. After the Color Guard retires the colors from the parade, the Veterans Club will host its annual Veterans Day picnic.

For that event, tickets are required. The cost of these tickets is $7 each for the luncheon of hamburgers; hot dogs; trimmings; soft drinks and dessert. Guests are welcome to bring their own liquid refreshments to the meal.

At one in the afternoon, the drawing will be held for the raffle of the two gift baskets and welcome floral display.

Tickets for both the raffle and for the luncheon are available at the Veterans Club meeting; from officers of the Veterans Club and most conveniently from Geri in the office. We encourage everyone to come out and pay homage to our veterans on this very special Veterans Day.


Songbirds in need of pianist

Our own Songbirds are badly in need of people who can play the piano. The Songbirds meet Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. to practice for the many public appearances they will make through out this holiday season. Without an accompanying pianist of course, their efforts are useless.

You do not have to be a resident of Cherrywood in order to be a part of this great group of talented people. Knowledge of music and playing ability coupled with a commitment to excellence is all that is required.

Contact Linda Sisto at 352-509-7245 for more information and to start being recognized for your talents and abilities.


AARP Safe Driving Class

Open to the public, there is just one class that has available seating for the AARP Senior Driving Class. The final class runs from 9 a.m. until noon on Nov. 26 and Nov. 29.

Upon finishing this class students will receive a Certificate of Completion. Present this document to your insurance agent and receive a reduction in your vehicle insurance premiums. Rates vary so check with your agent to see how much you will save.

This class is free to all veterans; their spouses; dependents; and significant others. For non-veteran AARP members, the cost is only $12 and for all others, $14. These prices are more than reasonable for all that you get.

Along with saving money on enrollment and your insurance, students will learn techniques and safety tips that could very possibly save their lives or the lives of their loved ones. There is no price to put on safety.

Contact Geri as soon as possible to reserve your seat in this final class. There are limited seats available so act now. Geri can be reached at 352-237-1675.


Karaoke Night Coming

Friday night, Nov. 9 from 7 until 10 p.m., plan to be at the Cherrywood Clubhouse for a night of real fun. Bill Lavertue will be hosting Karaoke Night for all of our frustrated entertainers; professional singers and amateur crooners.

This promises to be a very fun and exciting evening as our residents bring their talents (some of them hidden) to the stage. Who knows, there might be an agent in the audience to discover these stars in the making.

Bring a few liquid refreshments; snacks and your talent to the Karaoke night. If you have a favorite tune or familiar song that you want to perform, just jot it down on a piece of paper and give it to Bill. He’ll make sure you get the right tempo and volume; as for the key, that’ll be up to you.

There will be two ways you can please the audience; either by singing or by not singing, but either way you’ll have a blast. This should be a super social event where good times rule and surprises unfold. See you at Karaoke Night!


Flu shots

Quick and easy flu shots will be given by professional health care specialists on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 1 until 3 p.m. in the clubhouse. We urge all of our residents to take advantage of these inoculations. No one wants to be sick during the holidays or when there is so much to do here at Cherrywood so be sure to get your shots.

Only a few minutes are required to prevent a potentially life threatening illness so mark your calendar and be sure to be there.


Raffle tickets

Three beautiful prizes are being raffled off at the Veterans Day celebration. You need not be present to win, although it would be great if you were. Two fantastic gift baskets and a floral display welcoming your guests are available for viewing at most of the events here at Cherrywood.

You can buy tickets for each one individually. Just put your name on the back of the ticket and put it in the canister for any one of the prizes. The more tickets you buy for only a buck; the better your chances to take home these terrific gifts.

Proceeds from the raffle benefit the Veterans Club of Cherrywood and the good works they do. See Geri or a Veterans Club officer for tickets. Tickets are also available at most of our many functions.


Christmas trip to Biloxi

IP Casino is the destination for this year’s Biloxi get-a-away. From Dec. 23 through the 26th for only $149 you will receive four days and three nights in the fun town of Biloxi, Mississippi.

In addition to the three nights’ accommodations; transportation via a Deluxe Motor Coach with professional escort and $25 in free slot play. You will also get $22 in food coupons.

There’s more to this great offer too; a visit to two more casinos. The Hard Rock and the Palace will welcome guests with $15 free slot play to get players started on their winning streaks (hopefully).

Don’t miss this opportunity for a wonderful time. Join your friends and neighbors for excitement; entertainment; and adventure. Contact your travel director, Natalie at 352-854-4561 for reservations and details.


Accordion Club

All Cherrywood residents are welcome to come out and enjoy the music provided by our own Dick Richards and the Accordion Club. You don’t need to play an instrument to appreciate the many talented artists that show up every month for this great evening of entertainment.

No two of these monthly events are ever the same because each month different musicians with various instruments show up to play. You’ll hear everything from accordions to trumpets; drums to saxophones; guitars to fiddles and everything in between. The musicians likewise have a wide range of skills from beginner to professionals. They bring varying degrees of talent and expertise to their craft but it is always pleasing to the ear.

What this means for the audience is a wide array of musical styles and presentations. One thing is for sure among all this diversity; there is always something for everyone’s taste.

If you love music and enjoy being a part of a friendly and loyal group of like minded people, then you should be at the clubhouse from 5:30 until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Hear the progress of students of all levels as well as the works of professional musicians as they play this free concert.

Bring refreshments of your choosing and sit back in the comfort of the clubhouse for an evening of sheer listening pleasure.


Spotlight On Excellence

Each week we feature a person or persons who have a bright future; an interesting past or who have made a contribution to the quality of life in our community. Occasionally we vary from this format to bring you information of other things that are of interest to the community. This article is one of those exceptions as we present a relatively new concept to service in our community. I am speaking of Ritz House for Veterans in Ocala.

Unless you are a member of the Veterans Club or similar organization, you probably aren’t aware of this facility located at 1205 E Silver Springs Blvd. The Ritz Hotel & Resort was at one time a prime destination for visitors to the Ocala area and it is listed as a Historic Site. Now it represents a partnership between the Veterans Administration of the federal government and the non-profit organization Volunteers of America.

This partnership is designed to get homeless Veterans off of the streets. The Ritz House is a historic hotel that fell into disrepair. Thanks to the Volunteers of America with federal grants and much cooperation from local veterans and civic groups, the building has been converted and updated into housing for these distressed individuals.

To qualify for admittance, the VA conducts an investigation into each individual to verify that they are in fact eligible for this program. Once this is completed, the Veterans Administration provides a referral to the Ritz House. The program is open to both men and women and has a capacity of fifty residents.

Once a person has been referred, they are interviewed by the staff members who explain the rules by which residents must abide. Just a few of these include no drugs or alcohol; that they maintain their individual living quarters and that they attend programs that are offered.

On October 4th President of the Cherrywood Veterans Club Bill Mahar along with Rich Hurley, Marty Duesel and this reporter attended a community meeting at Ritz House. The meeting was called to thank those groups and organizations that have assisted Ritz House in all its stages, from planning to ‘grand opening’. Over twenty organizations were represented by the more than one hundred guests in attendance.

The ceremony was quite impressive as members of Post 284 of the American Legion raised the American flag. This was the same flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol Building. Program Director for Volunteers of America Wendy welcomed everyone and then turned the microphone over to Rob Thomas who is the administrator of Ritz House. We could tell he was speaking from his heart when he talked about walking veterans into their rooms for the first time. He said that some of them begin to weep in gratitude with one saying, “This is the nicest place I’ve ever had.” Rob admitted that he gets a lump in his throat when he witnesses that.

John Kay, a resident, spoke next. He related how he at one time had it all. Through a series of bad decisions and addictions, he had lost his family; his job; his self respect. “Now I have hope and determination…” he stated. “Thanks to Ritz house and treatment I’m on my way to success.”

Another resident who was identified only by the name “John E” spoke to the group thanking everyone for their help. His message was totally summed up when he said, “You all matter.” The gratitude in his voice and his face spoke volumes as to what he was feeling.

Residents can stay at Ritz house for up to two years. They are assisted with addiction programs; psychological support; homelessness; and provided help in finding work. This transition period helps these veterans work through their various concerns and problems giving them hope and support.

According to Rob Thomas they, they Veterans, have begun helping each other through sharing their experiences; their concerns and their dreams. When people work together it seems, progress can be made in many different ways.

Another help that the Veterans receive comes from an unexpected source. Resident Manager Al Morrison has a little “Yorkie” by the name of Ruby. Ruby has the run of the place and intermingled with guests in the pavilion prior to and during the program. It is amazing what a little dog can do.

Ruby is personable and independent. She’ll greet everyone and then move along to her next project whether that be a person; a drink of water or just a little nap in the shade. The residents love her and she in turn loves them. She isn’t very well paid and has no college degree but this reporter thinks she’s one of the best therapists on the property.

When the Cherrywood Veterans Club contingent left the presentation, we were all duly impressed by the work of the professionals and the progress of the veterans. We were also very proud of the work we had done in “adopting” a room which we had fixed up and made livable a few months earlier.

There is still much need at Ritz House. They have mutual kitchen areas to cook their meals but because so many of these people have little or no income, food is always needed. Refrigerators are also needed along with single beds and frames; dressers and cleaning supplies.

Because of the generosity of our Cherrywood residents and the diligence of our Veterans Club, we hope to be able to continue to assist these brave men and women as they turn their lives around.

On Oct. 11, the Veterans Club held its food drive. Because of you, the residents of Cherrywood, we delivered more than two truck loads of groceries and cleaning supplies to the veterans at Ritz House. They were extremely grateful for the help and we in turn were extremely grateful to be able to offer them this assistance.

We congratulate the Volunteers of America and our fellow community and veterans organizations on the success of Ritz Veterans House. We will, with the support of our community, proudly continue to support this worthy and worth while project.


From Your Reporter

A humorous note concerning the food drive occurred when one of the residents put a bag of garbage at the curb. Apparently he or she looked out, saw the bags that their neighbors had left by their mail boxes and thought it was trash day. All of us got a laugh from that. Some times we all have senior moments, it seems.

If you have any comments or suggestions for this column I encourage you to email me at urperssec@yahoo.com and let me know. Your ideas are always welcome.

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