United States veteran saluting the flag

Watermark Veterans: Life Lessons Learned in Service

Watermark Retirement Communities is honored to salute our Veterans in residence and proud to share their words of wisdom to future generations. Thank you for your service, to our Watermark heroes and Veterans coast to coast.

The Fountains at The Albemarle
Tarboro, North Carolina
William Haynie

William Haynie

William Hayie: “Be prepared to make a lot of quick decisions.”
Artis Johnson: “I enjoyed helping people, seeing the world and serving my country.”
Glenn Howse: “You do exactly what you’re called on to do until it’s a success. You don’t turn back.”
Glenwood Boykin: “Learned how to save lives.”
James Hubbard: “Behave. Look after everyone and your fellow man.”
John Holmes: “Stay out of trouble.”
John Moscato: “If you think it’s over, it ain’t.”
Russell E. Johnson: “Keep your head down.”
Son Creech: “I learned how to fly.”
William McIntyre: “You always looked out for the guy beside you, and the guy next to him.”
William Weisner:
“Discipline. Don’t tolerate trouble. You can’t make it in the Army without discipline.”

Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail
Ankeny, Iowa
Gerald “Jerry” Bradshaw

Gerald “Jerry” Bradshaw

Gerald “Jerry” Bradshaw: “Four years in service. It was a wonderful experience.”
Don Varnum:
“I was always willing to serve and always do whatever was asked of me.”
Don Wiele: “How important water purification and supply is for the rest of the troops.”
Harold Dowden: “The service gave me a lot of valuable training and education.”
J. Neal Clemmer: “Follow your dreams and your survival instincts. I wanted to be a fighter pilot and that’s just what I did.”
Laura Foster: “You had to be ready for anything. It was my duty to protect my country.”
Russell Tomlinson: “Nothing pleasant about war.”

Blue Bell Place
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Margret McGarity

Margret McGarity

Margret McGarity: “Loyalty.”
Carl Lundy: “To be brave.”
Eugene Daloisio: “To be brave and strong.”
James J. Hill: “That I made the right choice.”
John Genell Jr.: “To appreciate civilian life.”
John Grillo: “How to care for yourself in battle and my buddies. By protecting them as best as I could, and myself.”
John Wisniewiski: “I learned how to cook, which I later always did for his family.”
Mark Daroff: “I learned the meaning of brotherhood and how to look out for one another.”
Stanley Friedberg: “Working with people of different locations.”
William B. McAuliffe: “I learned to be disciplined and how to lead men, which helped me later running my business.”

The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay
St. Petersburg, Florida

Robert Blank: “Learn as much as you can, but always have fun regardless of what you are doing. Find a way to make the best of the situation you’re in.”

The Fountains at Bronson Place
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Robert “Bob” C. Kiefer

Robert “Bob” C. Kiefer

Robert “Bob” C. Kiefer: “Anytime our county is attacked it is our duty to step forward to protect our great country.”
Joe Chadderdo: “War is not nice, it is dangerous and people die.”
Marjorie Meyer: “Even a librarian can help soldiers who are lonely, depressed or scared.”
Michael W. Lau: “A military career is not for someone who dislikes moving to a different base every four years.”
Norm E. Slack: “How’d we ever win a war?!”
William J. Strehlow: “Responsibility. The opportunity to interact with individuals from other states and countries.”

The Fountains at Canterbury
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Guielo “Guy” J. Ferlo

Guielo “Guy” J. Ferlo

Guielo “Guy” J. Ferlo: “I learned how to be alive and how to survive. I saw close up what the Nazi party did.”
Dr. James “Jim” Beavers: “Learned how to cooperate and get along with others.”
Frances W. Fender: “My number one life lesson was how to read people. By observing behavior, work ethic, ability to follow orders, response time, capability and the amount of effort in completing a job was just the beginning. My career and life depended on others therefore I needed to know how to read people correctly.”
William “Bill” J. Rodgers: “Importance of chain of command. Realized how lucky we are to be Americans. I grew up a lot during my days in the service.”

The Fountains at The Carlotta
Palm Desert, California
Bill Heurung

Bill Heurung

E.W. “Bill” Heuring: “Discipline and comradeship.”
Chad Johnson: “Structure in life. Respect and listen to people with power.”
Harvey C. Trackman: “Play the game. Volunteer for everything I would like to do to get out of doing things I don’t like.”
Kenneth Crosby: “Don’t volunteer until you know what you are getting yourself into.”
Laird McKee: “Keep your nose clean.”

The Cottages of Carmel
Carmel, California

Bill McLennan

Bill McLennan

Bill McLennan, a 100 year old Veteran: “How to be a great fighter. Enjoyed being in the Navy. I guess you can say it was my career. Learned to like the island of Hawaii being raised in Minnesota. One of the hardest lessons I learned was people were not like I expected them to be. That humans can be so ruthless in a war.”
Bill Reichmuth: “Stay out of cross-fire.”
Bruno Veis: “To stay alive. We were a bunch of young lads, 19 and 20 years old, depending on each other to stay alive in the bitter cold with snow up to your waist and with no training. It’s a miracle I am alive.”

The Fountains at Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Gus Tuit

Gus Tuit

Gus Tuit: “Don’t plan too far ahead because it can all change tomorrow.”
Ed Young: “Learned to trust and be honest with fellow servicemen.”
Edward Oslance: “To obey commands that were dangerous and to do them with honesty.”
Jack Sebesta: “They say to never volunteer to do anything in the Army, but I learned to volunteer more and live my life by that.”

Harvard Square
Denver, Colorado
Monte Glovinsky

Monte Glovinsky

Monte Glovinsky: “Learning how meteorology is so essential to aviation. This led me to an interesting profession working some 30 years for the National Weather Service.”
Josephine “Josie” Dodge: “It gives you a good feeling to help but careful is a must.”
Roger A. Dungan: “As an Electrician Mate 3C it took me 5 years to be able be able to salute an officer and make it look okay. I would salute a “dead dog” and make it look like I meant it to get up and run away.”

East Village Place
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Ronald "Ron" A. Mader

Ronald “Ron” A. Mader

Ronald “Ron” A. Mader: “React quickly.”
James Raynor: “To do the very best you are capable of no matter what task you are given or situation you are placed in.”
William “Bill” Hanley: “War is a terrible thing. How sad that so many young people are killed because of it. Several of my young friends were killed. I hate war!”
William “Bill” Kelleher: “Loyalty and respect for my fellow service man, especially “two punch Bob.”

Parkview in Frisco
Frisco, Texas
JD Ashabranner

JD Ashabranner

JD Ashabranner: “How to be a man.”
Charles Butler: “Taught me to hold onto my pocketbook. And learned to not get into any trouble.”
Donald P. Victorin: “U.S. Army and Marines were ordered to go halfway around the world to protect a foreign country from aggression by its neighbors. And they did. Some not even knowing why they were there or what the United Nations was or stood for. But they did their jobs willingly and with great courage.”
Earnest Morgan: “Obey orders.”
Ed Kersten: “You learn discipline and respect for rank.”
Ed Morrison: “Keep your thumb out of the M1 receiver.”
Emmett Donald Mason: “My 22 year USAF career provided training that helped mold my character, integrity and communication along with leadership and management skills that are so important in today’s USAF and business world.”
Frank Leroux: “I learned respect, accountability and patriotism.”
George Tiegs: “Proud to serve.”
Howard Matson: “I learned that the most valuable gifts are not tangible but are earned, i.e. loyalty, dedication to duty, responsibility for other and the love of country.”
Howard Nesmith: “Keep your mouth shut and shut up.”
Irving Brady: “Never give up.”
James Logue: “Obeying orders.”
Joan M. Drewett: “Being in the Navy taught me respect and love for the flag and the President.”
Melbert “Mel” Hillert: “Need to be adjustable and a positive attitude. Since I was a Signal Corp with Occupational Specialty Top Secret, crypto graphing was good training. You don’t talk about your job and I was able to use this for 40 years. You do not talk about your client’s finances.”
Rex Crowell: “It was just like any ordinary job.”
Robert M. Warren: “As a pilot in charge of a plane and its crew I learned leadership, that a leader should always respect those in his command.”
Vance Delano: “When people get drunk their character changes.”
William “Ted” Carley: “How to be a leader.”

The Fountains at Franklin
Southfield, Michigan
Joseph Leigh

Joseph Leigh

Joseph Leigh: “I learned how to be a gentleman. I learned how to be a leader to men. I learned to praise God every chance I get.”
Charlie Holley: “I learned how to survive in life.”

The Fountains at Greenbriar
Independence, Missouri
Bob Whalen

Bob Whalen

Bob Whalen: “To follow instructions. Serving my country.”
Bill Bordeno: “Don’t get shot at. Made me appreciate our county so much more.”
Bob Tice: “Getting along and respecting authority. Proud of the three years that I served my country.”
Daniel L. Shirk: “That I was happy to serve our country. Made me appreciate life and our country and that I was a part of it.”
John Easter: “To obey the superiors. To appreciate life and our country.”
JR Cagle: “I wish I could’ve retired from the Navy. Made me appreciate our country.”
Ralph Ireland: “I was on air sea rescue. Getting along with people. Learning about medicine.”
Richard Wheaton: “To be alert. Made me appreciate my country. Discipline is the one thing I still hold on to.”

Vintage Hills of Indianola
Indianola, Iowa
Ted Carr

Ted Carr

Ted Carr: “Learned to be prepared to react quickly in a difficult situation.”
Barry Duncan: “Follow directions and listen.”
Donald “Blaine” Gates: “To follow instructions. We were told what to do and what not to do. I got to see a lot of the world I wouldn’t have. I was in the Korean War that wasn’t recognized as a war.”
Chester Fryer: “Listen and follow directions.”

The Fountains at La Cholla
Tucson, Arizona
Roy Beebe

Roy Beebe

Roy Beebe, a 101 year old Veteran: “I learned that discipline was saying yes to what you were being told.”
Bill Weatherford: “Life is fragile. When my ship was being shot at another soldier he told me to put my head between my legs because I couldn’t find my helmet. The other man ended up getting shot in the leg by a bullet that went by my head.”
Buzz Baker: “I learned discipline. I am a proud Purple Heart Marine Veteran.”
Carmello Geraci: “I was drafted and served twenty-one months and three days. I was stationed in Korea and became very religious there. During the five months I was there, the company I was with witnessed numerous battles which have left an enormous impact on me to this day.”
Jim Hennesy: “I learned about compromise. I had to learn to work with others. I planned on making it a career, but I didn’t like the discipline.”
Joe Beranek: “I had a long career with the military. I love to work with veterans. I received the Bronze Star and own other medals. Leadership and teamwork are qualities I have.”
John Lown: “Follow orders. That’s what you do mostly. I was an instructor for the patrolling school in Korea. I worked in the DMC without getting into too much trouble. I taught ROTC at the University of Arizona. Anytime I can teach I will do it.”
Marilyn S. Savage: “Always be on time and don’t volunteer.”
Max Dohring: “Sharing. I love to fly and couldn’t believe they paid me to do what I love.”

The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods
Sarasota, Florida
Mitchell Whiting

Mitchell Whiting

Mitchell Whiting: “Learning to get along with others despite different ideals to serve one purpose.”
Catherine Gallagher: “Compassion for boys they brought to me for care.”
Donald Bailey: “Stay out of it.”
Dr. Joseph Bonta: “Be prepared, work hard.”
Erwin Ullery: “I loved going to Tokyo.”
John Gwynn: “Duck!”
John Kirkpatrick: Stay out of the way.
John Rozendaal: “Keep your mouth shut.”
Robert Held: “Troops pay for the evil of the leaders of countries.”
Thomas Billings: “Keep your nose clean.”

The Fountains at Millbrook
Millbrook, New York
John DeMasi

John DeMasi

John DeMasi: “Respect.”
Bill Orton: “Experience was the best teacher. I learned logic. Combat experience helped me through life. I have a star and a flag from taking four islands.”
Jerry Brophy: “Discipline. It gave me a new state and outlook on life. I’ve gained lifelong friends that I still keep in touch with, they understand the time and life then. We did a lot of border duty between East and West Germany. I was in at the same time Elvis Presley toured some barracks. He never performed for us though.”
John Anderson: “Patriotism and respect for all people.”
Joseph “Joe” Burrasca: “The government taught me to break the law to serve my country. The needs of many outweigh the need of one. Sometimes it is necessary to protect everyone.”
Rudy Joncyk: “Don’t get caught. Seriously it helped me in my civilian occupation. I was head of communications and it launched me into me civilian career when I got out due to my education in the service and enhanced my broad experiences.”
Walter Dackson: “Pay attention. Self-discipline. I serviced the B-45 Tornado.”

Milford, Ohio
Jean A. Wexler

Jean A. Wexler

Jean A. Wexler: “That military personnel share a certain bond. It was at Fort Lewis that I met my late husband of 57 years. We both were immensely proud to have been able to serve our country during WWII and we both used the GT bill.”
CA “Lou” Perry: “Patience, loyalty, discipline and duty.”
Clifford J. Reeder: “Always respect your officers and salute them. Walk upright, watch your back and stay out of the brig.”
Myron Morgan: “To serve other people. Assist people in need. I learned how to work, listen and guide other soldiers to find their path.”
Sidney W. Phillips:
“Responsibility, brotherhood and independence.”
Stanley B. Potter: “Your friends will protect you in all circumstances.”

Lakeside Park
Oakland, California
Robert "Bob" Borree

Robert “Bob” Borree

Robert “Bob” Borree: “You have to grow up fast and accept responsibility or you won’t make it, and those around you won’t make it. In a period of three months I went from being a senior in high school to working and flying B-29 Bomber Planes.”

Dr. Thomas “Tom” Breese

Dr. Thomas “Tom” Breese

Dr. Thomas “Tom” Breese:
“To live life to the fullest every day because you never know what tomorrow will bring.”

Pacific Regent Bellevue
Bellevue, Washington
Edwin “Ed” Hawxhurst

Edwin “Ed” Hawxhurst

Edwin “Ed” Hawxhurst: “Leadership of older men. As a young man, not yet 18 years old, I was given three stripes and put in charge of men 10-15 years older. I had to learn how to lead and have been a leader in everything I have done since.”
Stuart Hood: “Be as prepared as you can be to handle any unforeseen adversity.”

Vriendschap Village
Pella, Iowa
Paul Zylstra

Paul Zylstra

Paul Zylstra: “Obey orders. Perform your duties.”
Donald R. Van Der Pol: “Obeying to follow commands of those in authority over you and doing your job, as best as you can and be patriotic.”
Gerrit Roozeboom:
“Respect everyone.”
Gordon T. Nettle:
“Respect for authority.”
Larry Enghers:
“Taking orders and accomplishing the task has been a driving force in his entire life.”
Lloyd Brand: “To appreciate home and family and good food.”
Marlyn G. Klimstra: “Discipline. Do what you are told and do it well. When the war ended I was assigned to the Adjutant General Office. This was lucky because I wanted to get into business management. This was a busy office. I worked hard and earned the rack of Staff Sergeant. I had a large number of men under me so I gained a lot of management experience. From the service I went to college and earned a degree in business management. From college I went with Pella Corp (at that time it was Rolscreen Co.). My military experience gave me the background, along with college, to spend thirty-six years with the company and retire as a vice president.”
Melvin Rouwenhorst: “There is no place like the USA.”

The Fountains at RiverVue
Tuckahoe, New York
Arthur Howard

Arthur Howard

Arthur Howard: “Volunteer your special abilities! I volunteered to entertain in all soldier unite with Martha Ray as a semi-professional magician. I volunteered for malaria research and control with the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy.”
Edward “Ed” Hinds:
“Discipline. In every phase of my life, it helped from my marriage to my career.”
Joseph Grumblatt: “Being able to learn how to get along with all types of people. It helped me manage staff as an engineer.”

Rockland Place
Wilmington, Delaware
Leonard Olszewski

Leonard Olszewski

Leonard Olszewski: “Working as a team. When we were on a mission everyone had a certain job, together we were able to do more.”
Augustine “Augie” Fortunato: “Take advantage of learning opportunities. I learned a lot when being aboard ship in the South Pacific.”
Monroe Robbins: “Deep breathing – one moment at a time. Life is too short.”

Rose Tree Place
Media, Pennsylvania
Anthony G. Lanciano

Anthony G. Lanciano

Anthony G. Lanciano: “In the military you served with various ethnic groups, people of different color, education and background. This helped shape me into a better understanding of how to get on in life.”
John B. Foley:
“Help one another in hard times. This led to my decision to join the police force continuing to assist those in need, attaining rank of Sergeant.”
Joseph E. Geffert: “I served on the Medical Transport, I was exposed to the wounded, learning compassion and tolerance seeing those less fortunate. I believe this trait is one I possess and use frequently.”
Michael Pelegrino:
“To be grateful that I came home to the states healthy to begin a new phase of my life. I learned discipline, useful in my career and raising a family with a strong and loving hand.”

The Fountains at Sea Bluffs
Dana Point, California
Don Walz

Don Walz

Don Walz: “Discipline.”
James M. Dick:
“Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman was absolutely correct when he stated that “war is all hell”.”
Louis J. Barnard: “In the Navy I was a Patrol Plane Commander of a seaplane and responsible for a crew of 10 at age 22. Accepting and managing that responsibility at an early age was an important lesson that has influenced my life throughout my career in business and as a husband and father.”
Marc H. Coody: “Never doubt your own abilities, keep pressing until you achieve the goal.”

The Watermark at Trinity
Trinity, Florida
Pasqualino (Pat) Castaldo

Pasqualino (Pat) Castaldo

Pasqualino (Pat) Castaldo: “Got to be independent, healthy and physically fit.”
Gerry Fulton:
“Do what you’re told.”
Virginia Brotherton:
“How to serve as a team.”

Woodbury Mews
Woodbury, New Jersey
Joseph “Joe” Melvin

Joseph “Joe” Melvin

Joseph “Joe” Melvin: “You have to duck when someone hollers duck. Be ready for an emergency at times.”
Frederick Petri: “Serving allowed me to continue my education. The importance of education carried with me.”
Myra Cubero: “I took the ASVAB and scored 990, which was good enough to be a pilot but women weren’t allowed. I became a Medic Tech, staff side. I had confidence in my abilities.”
Russell Staib: “My wife: to love her.”
Stephen Bruce: “In the U.S. we don’t realize how good we have it without the perspective of visiting other countries. It is still the best country in the world. We would all much rather serve in peace time. My V.A. benefits got me my Bachelor’s degree.”
W.L. “Bill” Smedley:
“I learned how to survive through unpredictable measures. Never volunteer. Stay alive.”
William R. Schmitz: “Don’t get in front of bullets. Gave out a lot of orders as a Drill Sergeant. Met my wife who was a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.”

The Watermark at East Hill
Southbury, Connecticut

Norman Laird: “The life lesson of discipline. I went in a boy and came out a man.”

The Village at Legacy Pointe
Waukee, Iowa
Ray Seegers

Ray Seegers

Raymond Seegers: “I learned to ‘do the job to the fullest’ and remain dedicated.”
Bert Bertholf: “Don’t volunteer.”
Bill Daly: “Hurry up and wait.”
Bill Grimser: “A Celestial Navigation Expert.”
Clayton Ostlung: “Orders from headquarters defined goals and it was up to me to figure out how to achieve those goals.”
Dallas Schroeder: “Follow orders, be more responsible. Do what you are asked to do.”
Don Thomas: “You have to follow orders.”
Harry Webb: “Try to do everything right, or at least the best you can.”
Jack Carpe: “Always use your best judgement and take good care of yourself.”
Jerry Mills: “Formed long life friendships.”
Joe Fitzpatrick: “Racial discrimination.”
Ken Hume:
“I grew up.”
Merl Rouston: “Won four battles and made it home alive. Perseverance.”
Mike Potratz:
“Got to see the country, states and Washington D.C.”
Palmer Hansen:
“Never volunteer.”
Paul Ferris:
“To find the good traits in people.”
Ralph Emmerson:
“To never volunteer for service. Enjoyed seeing the East Coast and loved New York City.”
Robert Hagener: “It was an honor to fight for this county as a pilot in the USMC for 23 years. Semper Fi.”
Steve Nicoson: “Served active duty Air Force for 38 years. Served in the National Guard for 15 years. Over 45 years of service to the United States of America. Enough said!!”
Wayne Jensen: “Be independent as much as possible.”
Wayne Nichols:
“Four years in WWII taught me to be proud to be in the Navy.”

The Watermark at Logan Square
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Howard Green

Howard Green

Howard Green: “Help others. In dining they would encourage soldiers who seemed down and out and encouraged them to take it easy, smile. Helping others is key.”
Carroll Baylor: “I learned about management and segregation. My ship traveled to Norfolk, Virginia. During that trip was the first time I, being from the Northeast, ever saw colored restrooms and water fountains. Also all the cooks and waiters in the Officer’s Quarters were black. I was only 19 years old and this experience really opened my eyes to the world. I was very surprised by all of the inequality and this is the partial reason I trend liberal.”
Ralph Pasquarello: “Obey orders. Do not determine whether it is right or wrong, just deliver. It makes life easier and builds character. Don’t think, just do.”
Robert DiGuglielmo:
“Don’t rush into things. If you make a rash decision, you’re done. If you are flying and make a rash decision to charge your fuel tanks (the wrong one) or jump, you could be in trouble. You must stay cool, calm and collected at all times.”

The Fountains at Washington House
Alexandria, Virginia
Jack Babcock

Jack Babcock

Jack E. Babcock: “War is no damn good for either side. Nobody wins.”
Charles “Chuck” Hucka: “If the efforts of many people are directed towards the same goal, success is most likely”
John Wenderoth:
“Discipline and respect for his country; and the great comradery among my shipmates. It was a great opportunity to serve my country.”
Nicholas A. Loren: “While in Japan on Shore Patrol, we contributed toward making life a bit better for the women and children there. I learned to respect how other people live. When passing an allied ship at sea, we would stand on deck and salute the allies, a nice feeling of respect between allies.”

The Watermark at 3030 Park
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Marian Adolphson

Marian Adolphson

Marian Adolphson: “Pay attention and listen. It was a very good experience.”
Charles “Charlie” Gursky: “Self-reliance and leadership.”
William Cornell:
“To love and respect the USA and its flag.”
Robert Hartman:
“Follow instructions.”
John Walsh: “Keep your head down.”

The Watermark at Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California
Mildred Witzer

Mildred Witzer

Mildred Witzer: “No matter how small my role was, I am still proud to call myself a woman Marine. There was no doubt I wanted to be a part of the Marines. I didn’t stop to think whether or not I was proud of myself. Every effort on one’s part makes the whole thing worthwhile. You do not have to play a big role. War is terrible and not a solution to the world’s problems. People have to change. It’s the good people who suffer, service people and civilians.”

The Watermark at Rosewood Gardens
Livermore, California
Gail Brabec

Gail Brabec

Gail Brabec: “The people who make it in the military need to hone a trade. It’s a rough life being a buck Private. If you have a trade, say pharmacy like me, or computers or something else useful to the military, you have a better chance at Petty Officer training. You will have an advantage with some education. That advantage might leap you off the front lines.”
Iona Ray: “I learned to be on my toes, those men/sailors both American and British had been through battles and attacks. They needed us to care for them no matter what.”

The Watermark at Westwood Village
Los Angeles, California
Ed Meisel

Ed Meisel

Emiel Meisel: “Number one life lesson I learned while serving in the military is: Make friends – they can make your life a better place to live. I don’t want to get preachy but I became close with about five or six people, besides family, that have made me a better person. Friends made in the service – or at the college level – early in one’s career – can be a major factor in one’s life. They are to be cherished!!!
Edgar L. Friedman: “How to obey orders.”

Bayside Park
Emeryville, California
James Coolidge

James Coolidge

James Coolidge: “I realized that nothing is 100% dependable. Anything can happen overnight to change everything. This taught me to become more flexible and ‘go from here’ when things change. I learned to not allow myself to get depressed and to maintain a positive attitude.”
Arthur Howell: “I learned to take care of things on my own and I learned responsibility and duty.”

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