Letter to The Villagers Men’s Chorus

Letter to The Villagers Men’s Chorus

Dear Gentlemen:

It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement as Director of the Villagers Men’s Chorus. It was June 11, 2007, and for some reason that I can’t remember, I was in the hospital on my birthday. That day, I received phone calls from David Haun and Norm Rasmussen, each singing “Happy Birthday” to me.

Upon my return to John Knox Village, the memory of those calls flashed in my mind, and I thought, “Gee, those two guys can carry a tune!” That triggered the thought that maybe other male residents could also. It might be fun to get a group together and prepare a couple of songs for the Annual “Spring Scene” in 2008.

After composing and sending a letter of interest and invitation to all likely available male residents, I was astonished to receive interest from 38 gentlemen, who became charter members of a group I named the Villagers Men’s Chorus. Since I had only been a resident for two years and knew few men, I wish to credit Bob Milanovich for identifying males who would be physically able to function in a chorus.

In January of 2008, we held our first rehearsal and began learning two songs from memory – “Johnny Schmoker” and “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame.”  Long story short, we made our debut at Spring Scene and wowed the audience. I had not planned any further appearances, but the guys wanted to continue as a male chorus – thus, were born the Villagers. The group has since grown to 57 members and has been honored with prestigious invitations to perform.

The growth and progress was possible through the support, financially and otherwise, by RAS, the Marketing Department and sponsorship by our Rotary Club that allowed us the opportunity to raise $45,000 from five years of “Knox Rocks” for the The Woodlands at John Knox Village. My heartfelt thanks to Ava Janes for all of her copying of weekly newsletters; to Ray Aubin and the Activities Department for set-ups and scheduling; and especially to my wife Dee, for her unending support of my efforts. There are many others, too numerous to mention.

Seven years of planning, directing and behind the scenes organizing have taken a toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I would like to explore other interests and spend more time with my family and friends. Most of all, I will miss the fellowship and friendship of the Villagers and the joy of singing. You are truly fine gentlemen. Please retain all music folios and uniforms for future use.

I sincerely hope someone will emerge as Director and another as Accompanist (Anita Ferguson, our beloved accompanist, also has retired) to continue the Villagers Men’s Chorus. I will be pleased to act in the roles of mentor and advisor and hope to continue singing in the Barbershop Quartet.  If interested, please call (954) 782-8899 or Christopher Miller, Public Relations Manager, at (954) 784-4726. Thanks to all of you for your love and support.

– Ron Davis, LS 504


New Dog “Waste” Stations Installed

Dog StationIt’s true our residents love their pets. Also, John Knox Village remains proactive in keeping the grounds beautiful on our 65-acre campus. Sometimes, our employees make a positive impact in the environmental wellness of our community.

Thanks to Kristen McDougald, a Certified Nursing Assistant with the John Knox Home Health Agency, several new dog “waste” stations have been installed across John Knox Village.

As part of her job, Kristen has walked some of our residents’ dogs. She also watches residents walk their own pets.

Kristen often notices residents forgetting to bring bags with them or find nearby locations to dispose of the waste. Recently, she made the suggestion to our Administration to purchase and install new stations. Shortly after, John McDermott, Director of Facilities and Operations, was able to buy 15 stations that are now installed in convenient locations throughout the campus.

Each has a supply of bags and a container for disposal. Our pet owners are extremely grateful for the new equipment.

“We loved the new dog stations. Although I usually bring my own bags, sometimes I rush out of my apartment and forget. It is comforting knowing there is one easily at hand,” said resident Tom McKay.

Tom’s new gold and white shih tzu, Winston, joined our John Knox Village family in February as a 10-week-old puppy. He has become an immediate hit with residents and employees.

“Thank you to John Knox Village for looking after us pet owners and keeping our campus appealing to current and potential new residents,” he said.

Judy Fritz Continues to Help Our Furry Friends

DSC_0349b-judy and cats2John Knox Village resident Judy Fritz has a passion for the care and well being of all animals.

A retired medical professional, serving as an X-ray technician, a radiation therapist and ultrasound technician for local hospitals and physician offices, our caring Heritage Tower resident volunteers numerous hours at Abandoned Pet Rescue.

Located at 1137 NE 9th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, Abandoned Pet Rescue is the largest “no kill” animal shelter in the area. As stated on its Website (www.apr.rescuegroups.org), it was founded in 1996 and is a tax-exempt, qualified non-profit charitable organization that rescues and shelters abandoned, abused and neglected pets. It also rehabilitates and finds them new homes.

A majority of the over 300 animals are cats, dogs, rabbits, iguanas and other animals in need of care. While pet overpopulation is declining throughout the country, the number of animals brought to South Florida shelters is increasing.

“I became involved years ago when a patient of mine I was taking care of at a clinic told me he was heading over to volunteer at a no kill pet shelter,” she said. “I asked where it was, and that got the whole business started.”

She continues, “I come to the shelter to volunteer. I do laundry, walk dogs, put the food away and clean the dishes. There’s a lot to be done, and the shelter always has a need for more volunteers.

“The animals require a lot of attention. I try to socialize with them as much as possible. People will bring animals in, and we do the best we can. They are all spayed or neutered, microchipped and given shots, then hopefully leave the shelter after adoption,” Judy said.

As a committed “Pet Person,” Judy notices a big benefit in pet ownership particularly among seniors. “A lot of seniors enjoy the company,” she said. “At the shelter, we encourage seniors not to adopt a kitten or puppy but rather a fully grown animal because of the age factors.”

Abandoned Pet Rescue is open every day, except on Tuesdays, with adoptions from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, or to support the shelter, call (954) 728-9010.

Keeping Pets Safe When It’s Hot

Keeping Pets Safe When It’s Hot

Residents’ animals are part of the John Knox Village family too.

IMG_9929-rAt John Knox Village, our residents are proud owners of over 60 dogs, 90 cats and even a few birds (not the various waterfowl that call our community their home permanently or temporarily).

It’s a proven fact that pet owners who are seniors show reduced high blood pressure levels, less anxiety and live longer.

For Village Towers resident Anna Walker, her three cats – Tiger, Twinkle Toes and Midnight – are her “children.” “Even though I live alone, I am never lonely. Each of my cats takes turn sitting on my lap, especially when I enjoy watching my favorite shows,” she said.

Villa resident David Jenkins discovered Pumpkin, his beautiful Pomeranian friend at a rescue shelter. “She had been abandoned, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to abandon a dog like her,” he said. Now, more people recognize Pumpkin before even saying “Hello” to David.

For Pierre “Pete” and Karen Audet, they love having their 11-year-old Schnauzer “Sebastian” at John Knox Village. According to Pete, Sebastian came to the family about six years ago. “He was a mess with fleas and was dirty. However, once he was cleaned up, we realized we had found a great pet,” he said.

Since moving to John Knox Village, Sebastian has grown fond of exploring our 65-acre campus with the Audets and especially loves the smells of the grass and variety of botanical flora.

IMG_8328b6x9Cosmo is resident Russell Brandon’s 14-year-old terrier mix. Russell had been taking care of his mother and knew someone who volunteered to walk dogs at an animal rescue. “They had explained there was a cute, little black dog up for adoption,” he said. “When I arrived, they showed me the wrong dog – which was actually Cosmo.”

That was about seven years ago. Now, Cosmo is one of the stars of the Annual Howl-A-Ween Pet Parade that is held at the end of October. Last year, he was dressed up in a hot dog costume.

With the hot summer months upon us, the Village Voice wanted to provide some helpful tips for all pet owners to provide superb care of their furry or feathered friends:

Cool Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy This Summer

Humans have the “luxury “of perspiring to keep cool during hot weather. A nice breeze over your wet skin has a cooling effect that keeps you somewhat comfortable. However when it comes to your dog: “Rover” does not have the same benefit.

According to the Website (dogtalk101.blogspot.com), “Dogs cool themselves primarily by the process of panting and breathing, with the moist lining of their lungs serving as the evaporative surface.” This summer keep a few things in mind while enjoying the weather and the companionship of your dog while out and about.

Plan to Visit Your Veterinarian for Summer Health Tips

A trip to your veterinarian is always a good start for a summer “doggie” tune-up. Your vet can check the overall health of your pet and give you recommendations for safe exercise, proper care and cooling tips during the hot summer months.

Provide Ample Shade and Water

When your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. Add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow.

NEVER Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car

An animal’s body temperature can rise in just seconds causing heat related problems. Normal body temperature for dogs and cats is 101-103 degrees.

Keep Walks to a Minimum

Your pet is much closer to the hot asphalt and his body can heat up quickly. Consider walking on the grass AND walk early morning or later in the evening whenever it is possible.

Here are additional ideas from the Humane Society Website: (www.humanesociety.org)

“Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak.

“Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

“Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.”

Use caution and common sense with your pet this summer. Just think how it would feel if you were walking about in 90 degree weather wearing a fur coat. Have plenty of cool fresh water, get in the shade, take short walks and stay off the hot pavement.

Additional information for summer weather pet tips can be reviewed online at: (www.humanesociety.org); (www.redcross.org); and (www.aspca.org/pet-care/hot-weather-tips).

New Aerial Photos of The Woodlands at John Knox Village

New Aerial Photos of The Woodlands at John Knox Village


Also, the windows are being installed.

The latest aerial construction progress photos of our new skilled nursing center, The Woodlands at John Knox Village – provided by The Weitz Company.

Posted by John Knox Village on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Health For Life Treasure Hunt

Health For Life Treasure Hunt

Earlier this week, some of the John Knox Village employees participated in a fun treasure hunt that promoted living a healthy lifestyle.



Employees within various John Knox Village departments participated in a Treasure Hunt, sponsored by our Health for Life…

Posted by John Knox Village on Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Another from yesterday’s Treasure Hunt

Posted by John Knox Village on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Support The Diva and Sam Townsend

Support The Diva and Sam Townsend

Two of our residents – Harriet “The Diva” Mertz and Sam Townsend – are gracious supporters of the local arts, including the Venetian Arts Society in Fort Lauderdale. The Society is working on its 2016 HeArtful Calendar competition featuring Harriet and Sam as two of several posters in which others can vote for as their favorites. The cost is $1 per vote. Here is more information: