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Meet the neighbors

Tallgrass Creek ‘pioneers’ Elaine and Don Alexander

Created date

January 29th, 2014
couple reading the tribe

It was in 2006 when Elaine and Don Alexander first heard about a new Erickson Living community called Creek being built in Overland Park, Kans. 

“We were visiting in South Texas and had our mail rerouted to us,” remembers Don, a former power plant superintendent and employee of Kansas Gas and Electric. “We received a copy of the Tribune, learned about Tallgrass Creek, and decided to check it out.” 

When the couple returned home, they went to the community’s Metcalf Avenue construction site and, after a few consultations, selected their comfortable Somerton model—a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment home with a den—from a drawing.

“At that time, our future home was located in a pasture,” laughs Elaine, a former registered nurse. “We moved to Tallgrass in November 2007 and were among the first 50 or 60 ‘pioneers.’ We got to know each other well as we watched the rest of the community go up.” 

Meaningful quilts

Over the years, Elaine has brought her enthusiasm as a talented quilter to Tallgrass Creek and, today, spearheads the community’s Quilts of Valor project, a nationwide volunteer effort with a mission to present all U.S. veterans with handmade quilts. 

In November, Elaine and her fellow quilters presented 16 Tallgrass Creek resident-veterans with beautifully crafted quilts, bringing the total to 120 Quilts of Valor presented to residents since the community opened. 

“It’s a meaningful way to honor those who have served our country,” says Elaine, who began quilting in the mid-70s. “And we have a good time together constructing and quilting.”

Diverse interests 

Elaine also belongs to the community’s quilting club, which makes children’s quilts for local children’s homes, neck pillows for the Miami County Medical Center, pressure point pillows for the American Cancer Society, and dresses for Haitian children in need. 

Don belongs to the woodworking club, a very active group of residents who make toys for needy children, construct items for residents, and much more. The group works out of a well-stocked woodshop on campus.

“I’m not a ‘hobby’ guy,” says Don. “But I enjoy working on something someone needs.” 

Don recently refinished a freestanding coat and hat rack for a resident and has also been involved with multiple ‘fix it’ projects around the community. 

Friendly faces 

The Alexanders moved from a house on three acres in Paola and, from the beginning, were impressed with the friendliness of the Tallgrass Creek staff. 

“There was a genuine interest and willingness to help that still exists today,” says Elaine. “It carries over to the residents and just makes for very comfortable, easy living.” 

The Alexanders, who have 4 sons, 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, also enjoy the many varied social activities and fitness facilities the community offers. 

“Since we moved to Tallgrass, we have never looked back,” says Don. “Moving here was a great decision then and still is now.”