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Hitting a milestone

Eagle's Trace celebrates fifth anniversary

Created date

September 20th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_14645" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The Eagle s Trace grand opening celebration featured longhorns on the lawn, mariachi bands, ice sculptures, and gourmet cuisine prepared by a team of Erickson Living chefs. "][/caption] [caption id="attachment_14643" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the community s grand opening celebration. Bea Marxen, the first resident of Eagle s Trace, and Erickson Living founder John Erickson did the honors."][/caption] When Pat Welbourn called her friend, Donna Cross, in 2004 to inquire after a pair of carved wooden horses, she certainly didn t have moving on her mind. But when Cross mentioned that she and her husband, Jim, were planning a move to Eagle s Trace when the community opened the following year, it piqued Welbourn s interest. We never considered moving to a retirement community, says Welbourn. After my husband, Ed, retired from Shell Oil, we built a wonderful home at The Lake at Stonehenge. But when I heard about Eagle s Trace, I told Ed we should check it out.

Community pioneers

At the time, the 71-acre parcel of land near the Katy Freeway was still under construction. We walked into the sales trailer on-site, saw pictures of other Erickson Living communities, learned more about the lifestyle, and wrote a check that day, says Welbourn. The swiftness of their decision surprised even the couple s three children. When we told our kids, they couldn t believe it because we had never talked about moving, says Welbourn. But we considered this to be a love-gift for them. We thought it might be a smart thing to simplify now, so they wouldn t have to do it later. Considered pioneers, the Welbourns were among the first to move in to the community when it opened in October 2005. Eagle s Trace broke the Erickson record for most move-ins at opening, says Marketing Director Pamela Burgeson. We had 88 apartments occupied that first month.

Texas-sized celebration

Residents and staff celebrated the community s grand opening in true Texas fashion. We brought in longhorns to graze on the lawn, says Burgeson. People danced to the music of mariachi bands and watched local drill teams perform. Chefs from other Erickson Living communities flew in to cater the event. It was quite a party. People are still talking about it. Now, five years later, the community is gearing up for another round of festivities. The week-long anniversary celebration during the first week in October will feature an ice cream social and a surf and turf dinner. Plans are also underway to commemorate the event with a group photo of the nearly 500 residents who call Eagle s Trace home. It s our people, both residents and staff, who make this place stand out, says Executive Director Kevin Knopf. There s a level of caring and compassion here that really defines our community. Indeed, for all the growth that s taken place over the past five years the community now boasts over 100 clubs and activities, ranging from tai chi to French lessons the people are still the key to the community s success. Just ask Jan Quigley.

A place to belong

Quigley was working at The Accessory Place, a Houston home furnishings store, when she moved to Eagle s Trace in October 2005. Like the Welbourns, Quigley visited the sales trailer before the first building opened. Coming home after work every night and eating dinner by myself got kind of lonely, she says. I liked the idea of living in a community and being around other people. As one of the first residents, Quigley quickly got to know the other pioneers. We would sit and visit over dinner each night, she says. I found it so interesting to hear everyone s stories. And although the dining room in the Audubon clubhouse now seats substantially more people, Quigley still relishes the fellowship over a meal.

Moving forward

As the people of Eagle s Trace look to the future, the original goal to create a lifestyle unsurpassed in retirement living remains the same. Increased services, including the addition of specialists to the community s medical complex and move-in services for prospective residents, ensure that the community is continuously improving. We re constantly striving to make a positive difference in people s lives, says Knopf. That s our top priority.