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Thanks for all you do

Volunteers honored for their contributions

Created date

June 27th, 2017
(From left) Bernie Benson, Phyllis McCalmon, Bonnie Buckley, and Conk Buckley enjoy Tallgrass Creek’s volunteer appreciation breakfast.

(From left) Bernie Benson, Phyllis McCalmon, Bonnie Buckley, and Conk Buckley enjoy Tallgrass Creek’s volunteer appreciation breakfast.

Volunteering is part of everyday life for many Tallgrass Creek neighbors. Earlier this year, more than a hundred residents at the Overland Park, Kans., Erickson Living community gathered to honor their fellow volunteers at a celebration breakfast hosted by Tallgrass Creek’s resident life team. 

Attendees enjoyed scrambled eggs, fruit blintzes, sausage, fresh-squeezed juice, and assorted pastries as Executive Director Jean Landreville lauded their efforts. 

“Whether you volunteer at Tallgrass Creek, at an art museum, or help feed and clothe homeless people, you are celebrating life in a special way,” says Landreville. “You are each an inspiration to me personally and a large part in making this community the special place it is.” 

Inspiring efforts

After breakfast, several volunteers took over the microphone to talk about their particular interests, including Bunny Brown, who, along with Fran Wolfe, oversees many of the community’s charitable efforts. 

Bunny and Fran were inspired about seven years ago by Marcia Merrick, a tireless volunteer in Kansas City, Mo., who provides 400 healthy sack lunches daily for homeless people around the metro area. 

Hearing that Merrick’s lunches always include two home-baked cookies baked daily, Bunny and Fran decided to help out and encourage others at Tallgrass Creek to do the same. Today, many Tallgrass Creek cookie bakers are part of Bunny and Fran’s efforts, providing about 2,400 cookies each month for Merrick’s lunches, a huge time savings for Merrick.  

“As any volunteer knows, it is more of a blessing to the giver than the person receiving,” says Bunny. “Fran and I continue to be so encouraged and inspired by the many people here who just jump in and help when help is needed.”

Something for everyone

Tallgrass Creek has more than 65 resident-driven clubs and committees such as woodworking, art, gourmet food, continuing education, music, philanthropy, technology, entertainment, physical fitness, reading, and religion. 

One unique club, Retired Nurses Reminiscing, was started several years ago by retired nurses Ann Brazil, Betsy Heimke, and Paula Dunmire.  

“We gathered one year just to celebrate National Nurses’ Week and have been meeting every other month since,” says Ann. “We occasionally have outside speakers but also enjoy sharing our own similar experiences.” 

Linda Schur volunteers in many ways at Tallgrass Creek and says she is often asked why she helps out so much.

“It’s honestly because of everyone here today,” says Linda. “I see so many doing the same and I don’t see as much at other communities. It’s encouraging to be around people who want to help others.”