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Westminster Honors Two Extraordinary Leaders

March 21, 2017

ORLANDO - Westminster Communities of Florida is delighted to announce two very special awards to its employees, given out by CEO Roger Stevens, at the organization's 19th Annual Awards Banquet in Orlando. These special awards are only given out when merited, and are selected by Stevens in recognition of extraordinary service.

Don Wilson, executive director of Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee, received the CEO Award for his team's extraordinary response to hurricanes Hermine and Matthew in 2016, and Wilson's leadership over 15 years with our organization.

In giving the award, Stevens said, "More than 680 residents were without power after Hermine, for more than four days, and your team's commitment to the residents was remarkable. To top that off, a couple of months later, we had Hurricane Matthew sweeping by the coastline, and we evacuated several communities on the East Coast. Westminster Oaks volunteered to take in a whole host of residents from some of our other communities, and cared for them for several days. They received rave reviews from the evacuated residents about the staff who cared for them."

"This award is our way of saying 'thank you very much' to your whole team," Stevens said.

Wilson and his wife, Carol, were on hand to receive the award on behalf of the entire Westminster Oaks team.

The Mission Leadership Award is given to an individual who demonstrates great leadership and a commitment, over a period of many years, to the mission and ministry of Westminster Communities of Florida. Stevens presented the award to the recipient for 2016: Chief Financial Officer Hank Keith.

Of Keith, Stevens said, "We always balance margin with mission. In doing both of those things, Hank does it with a heart -- and he does it better than anyone I know in business throughout the United States."

He added, "Because of Hank, we have gained and kept an A- rating with Fitch Ratings and continue to operate the business of our mission and ministry successfully."

Congratulations to Hank Keith on this very special recognition for his leadership and his contributions to Westminster Communities of Florida's mission.

Westminster Oaks executive director Don Wilson receives the CEO Award from CEO Roger Stevens.

Westminster Communities of Florida CFO Hank Keith (middle) stands with CEO Roger Stevens (left) and COO Gary Hennis (right) after receiving the Mission Leadership Award.


March 6, 2017

At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida
enjoyed the organization’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG, March 6, 2017 – In the bright sun on a pleasant day last Friday afternoon, more than 300 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together at Eckerd College’s GO Pavilion for Westminster’s third annual St. Pete Games. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! The attendees competed as teams in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.

The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed shotput, horseshoes, putting, lawn darts, croquet and more, plus live music and dancing. Eckerd students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

“What a beautiful day! I’m glad to be here and having so much fun,” said Terry Arnn, a resident at Westminster Winter Park, who traveled down to St. Petersburg for the day. “It’s been great seeing the smiles and the positive attitude. Plus, I was 5-for-5 in lawn darts!”

The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida. “Welcome back!” said Eckerd chaplain Douglas McMahon. “Our partnership with Westminster has grown so much through the years. We’re fortunate to have here two institutions with a passion for lifelong learning.”

Marcia Mensing, a resident at Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, said that she had been at all three games. “I love seeing everyone outside and active,” Mensing said. “Wow, it’s nice seeing everyone in such a different context.”

Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.

More than 300 residents took part in the Games, including shotput, horseshoes and more.

It's '90s again -- employees and residents dance the Macarena!

Several residents competed in croquet, another of the 10 games available for competition.

In the end, the winners were Westminster Suncoast, Westminster Shores and Westminster Manor. Congratulations to all the teams!

Valentine's Day Kids Continue Annual Tradition

February 13, 2017

Originally published in the Northeast Journal.

For 7 years now, “The Valentine Kids” have made an annual visit to Westminster Palms, an active senior living community right here in Old Northeast. Over the years, the kids come bearing gifts of hand-made valentines, homemade cookies, candy and, most importantly, friendly faces, warm smiles and big hugs. 

The ringleader/mom, Sharon Kantner, who lives in Old Northeast, came up with the idea in 2011. She knew it would be a good life experience for her daughters to reach out to the seniors at Westminster Palms. Each year Sharon recruits additional children to join the troop of merry-makers. Over the years, 13 different children have made Valentine’s Day visits to the residents, and Sharon’s two daughters, Kate and Caroline, have always participated. The girls and their friends spend hours making beautiful and heartfelt valentines, always writing a personal message on each card.  

When the kids arrive, each year they take a photo in the lobby – and my-oh-my have they grown! Over the last seven years, the kids have visited with hundreds of different residents, always bringing smiles, laughter and love. They leave behind goodies, handmade valentines and sweet Valentine’s Day memories.

First group of Valentine's Day Kids in 2012.

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