Pete Wallis has had a multi-faceted career.
Known as Captain Pete, he’s been a tugboat captain, a land/sea commercial pilot, a cruise director for Holland American, a Civil Air Patrol Commander and a professional ballroom dance teacher.
Now, at 82 years of age, Pete is a model. Much to his delight, he has become a calendar pin-up.
So has Craig Done.
Craig was a radio announcer for a popular radio station and was also a minor league baseball player before he was drafted into the Coast Guard during the Korean War.
Now, Craig is also a calendar model. His happy smile looks out from his calendar photo as he recaptures his radio announcing days.
Both men are among those featured in a unique calendar highlighting the life and times of residents of Brookdale Rotonda Senior Living.
Brenda Peckham, sales manager at Brookdale, served as coordinator of the calendar project after she got the idea from Ed Hill at the Englewood Chamber of Commerce.
“Ed did a similar project a few years ago. When I heard him talk about it I thought it would be perfect for our residents,” Brenda says.
While she admits it took a lot of work and organizing to pull off the project, she says it was rewarding to see how excited the residents got when they became models.
“Some were absolutely giddy with excitement. In at least one case I saw a total change of demeanor. One gentleman who was very shy came out of his shell when he took part in the calendar project,” she said.
She likes the fact that it also gave others a more comprehensive look at senior citizens.
“Some may look at seniors and just see old people. They don’t think of the varied lives the seniors have led. The calendar emphasizes that point,” she adds.
Some older folks may sometimes think, “I used to be somebody.”
The calendar photos combat that by telling the story of their successful careers.
The calendar photos are eye-catching and compelling, thanks to the work of Heidemarie Burke at Photographic Images LLC.
“It took some work to transport the residents from here to each photo set-up. For the models it was all part of the fun,” says Brenda.
Neil Paradis and Marcia Schaffer say they liked the chance to highlight their former roles as educators.
“Back in the day teaching was quite different in that we had to teach everything,” recalls Neil.
Marcia had a stellar career as a science and biology teacher as well as a department head. “Back then it wasn’t all that common for a woman to be in the science field. There were times when my male colleagues were challenging,” says Marcia. She was happy to end her career teaching at Vineland Elementary where, she says, she enjoyed every day.
“Being able to reminisce about days gone by has been rewarding,” comments Captain Pete.
Actually, there were many advantages to producing the calendars that have been a hit with everyone.
“Our residents loved it, their families were thrilled and the calendars are selling well,” says Brenda.
Some family members ordered 10 copies and plan to give them out as Christmas presents.
Calendars sell for $10 each and all proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association.
Calendars are available at the Brookdale Rotonda Senior Living Center, 550 Rotonda Blvd. West.
Pattie Mihalik is a regular columnist for the Sun. Contact her at email@example.com.