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November 11 marks Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada. This day is an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices and military service of the millions of Americans and Canadians who protected their countries.
Sunrise is proud to have a great number of both team members and residents who have fought to preserve our freedoms. In honor of this day, we are sharing just a few of their many remarkable stories.
“Selflessness, commitment to a mission, and teamwork are just a few of the traits essential to military members as they serve their country,” said Chris Winkle, Sunrise CEO. “Our veteran team members exhibit these characteristics every day. We are privileged to work alongside these team members as we bring meaningful days to every resident, including the many who have also served.”
CN Green, senior director of human resources for Sunrise, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2005. Her decisions to join Sunrise and the military were rooted in many of the same motivations.
“I was initially, and I remain, attracted to Sunrise because of the ingrained mission and values,” said CN. “Which are also the main reasons why I opted to serve our country. My satisfaction comes from knowing that there’s a greater purpose and that there’s a team working to support that purpose. My transition to Sunrise was a no-brainer with that in mind.”
Nick Odle, senior resource counselor, has been with Sunrise for the past nine years, served in the U.S. Army from 1996 to 2000 as a driver and gunner in the decorated First Regiment of Cavalry. He chose his path in order to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, who landed on Normandy’s beach in a tank on D-Day in 1944.
“My time in the military instilled a sense of personal accountability and ownership that has helped me develop great relationships with families I interact with,” said Nick. “It has also given me the confidence to speak to anyone, during the most challenging and emotional times. This helps me best understand the situation and learn how Sunrise can help each family.”
Juan Franco served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 through 2013, and he joined Sunrise two years ago. Juan’s diverse experience in nations such as Japan, Iraq, Dubai, Australia, and Malaysia has been invaluable in helping him collaborate with team members as a talent acquisition manager.
“My time in the military allowed me to gain experience with people management, conflict resolution, and communication skills,” said Juan. “I worked with and led Marines who were born and raised in different parts of world. I also had the chance to travel to many countries and interact with the local population. This allowed me to learn how to deal with each specific personality and background.”
Juan is honored to help bring meaningful days to the myriad veterans who reside in Sunrise communities.
“A lot of our residents served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam,” he said. “Those residents helped shape and bring freedom to not just our nation, but to our allies as well.”
One such resident is Henry Perkowski, a 101-year-old Sunrise of Edgewater, NJ, resident who served in the Third Army Division during World War II. Henry fought in the Battle of the Bulge and is the recipient of five battle stars, a Bronze Star Medal, and a New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal.
Through activities and events such as his thrice daily walks, his weekly playing of the harmonica and piano, and his visit to the New York Stock Exchange this past February, Henry has enjoyed a life of meaning and purpose at Sunrise of Edgewater for the past decade. “In all my years, I have never experienced so much joy and love,” said Henry.
Every Sunrise community holds similar stories of bravery and sacrifice. For instance, Edward Good, a Sunrise at North Farmington Hills, MI, resident, dropped into enemy territory during Operation Varsity, World War II’s largest airborne event. And Gilmore Perla, a Sunrise of Sacramento, CA, resident, escaped from the Bataan Death March as a member of the legendary Philippine Scouts during World War II, before later returning to serve his country once again in the Korean War.
On November 11, Sunrise communities all across North America will hold ceremonies honoring the sacrifice and heroism of every veteran, from resident to care manager.
“We’re all brothers in arms,” said Ty Clifton, a corporate recruiter who joined Sunrise in May after 26 years in the U.S. Army. “There’s a respect that we would like to show to the folks who have served and are now serving.”
“It is such an honor to both work alongside, and serve, our veterans,” said Winkle. “On behalf of the entire Sunrise team—thank you.”
Join the Sunrise Family
Throughout our entire organization, veterans are integral parts of the Sunrise team. Visit our careers site to see how you can use your military experience and skills to help us fulfill our mission!
Through the Aid and Attendance benefit, war veterans and their spouses may be eligible to receive close to $2,000 per month to help defray the cost of assisted living. Click here to learn more!