Gerrie Wormser: Caring and Sharing, Friendship and FunThe Jewish Home’s Shayna Punim Chapter of the Red Hat Society held its annual membership luncheon on Thursday, February 18, 2016, at Eisenberg Village. The Chapter was started about 20 years ago by longtime Home supporter, Gerrie Wormser.
This year’s luncheon had a Chinese flair, with the Zuckerman Board Room decorated with brightly colored umbrellas and lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Beautiful fans graced each table. The Chinese flavor was also represented in the festive meal, which featured Chinese chicken salad and chicken lo mein with steamed rice. Dessert was delicious with almond cookies dipped in dark chocolate and lemon sorbet. Hot tea completed the menu.
The marvelously entertaining afternoon, which began with a warm and gracious welcome from Queen Sherlee Banks, included a variety of singers and dancers representing different eras, styles and ages. The event culminated in a rousing performance by members of the Beverly Hills High School marching band.
As with all Red Hat events, this one was sponsored by Gerrie and her partner, John N. Levi, Jr. Gerrie managed each detail of the luncheon, working with director of dietary services Cindy Cordon to plan the menu, with Caryl Geiger, RCFE activity director, on logistics, and with Stacy Orbach, director of volunteer services, for extra helping hands. With her vast connections in the community, Gerrie was able to bring together outstanding entertainment for our residents. As with all her events, the focus was on friendship and fun.
Gerrie has been volunteering at the Jewish Home since 1984. She and John have donated their time and resources to enhance the quality of life for our seniors. Over the years, Gerrie has raised funds to renovate rooms and purchase new buses, exercise machines, recreational supplies, lifesaving medical equipment and many other items that play a critical role in the health and well-being of our seniors. Still, she is probably best known for her deeply personal one-on-one relationships with our residents, offering friendship and compassion.
Jewish Home e-Connections spoke with several residents and staff about the good works done by Gerrie, and the outpouring of appreciation and admiration were consistent. Resident and friend Dorothy Scott describes her as the epitome of a caring person. “Gerrie truly wants to bring a smile to everyone’s face, and is dedicated to personally helping us whenever she can.” For resident Charmaine Nesoff, the luncheon was her first Red Hat experience. “Gerrie encouraged me to attend, and I’m really glad I did. I’m looking forward to the next one!” And resident Joy Snyder added, “The events are always very uplifting, and you can see the smiles and feel the energy in the room.”
Cindy Cordon has worked closely with Gerrie on many Red Hat events in the past several years. “Gerrie is a familiar face to the Eisenberg Village residents,” says Cindy. “She visits and has lunch with our residents several times a week, getting to know them and what their needs may be. She puts so much of her heart and time into the planning and preparation of each event.”
Caryl Geiger also sees the impact Gerrie has on our seniors. “Gerrie cares so much for our residents and always plans something special for the Red Hat ladies. She also gives them the opportunity to be part of the planning…and manages to give them some surprises as well!”
Stacy Orbach shares her feelings about the importance of Gerrie’s dedication. “Gerrie brings smiles and joy to our residents’ lives. They love, cherish, and greatly appreciate everything she does for them.”
As for Gerrie, it’s all a labor of love. “It truly is a joy for me to do all of this for the residents,” she explains. “When I see the smiles on their faces and feel their love, it is beyond gratifying for me.”
Earlier this year, Gerrie received the Halo Award from the Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation for her volunteer work with the Home. The Award is inspired by “the angels in our community, those who go above and beyond to promote the betterment of their communities.” In 2013, the Jewish Home awarded her its inaugural Howard Kayton Memorial Volunteer Service Award. Gerrie genuinely embodies the spirit of volunteerism. The residents and staff are grateful she is such a vital part of the Jewish Home family.