Fathers feted at Sunrise Villa Salinas

By Tom Leyde

Publish Date:

Saturday, June 16, 2018 3:23 pm EDT


News Organization:

The Montgomery County Herald, Montery, CA

Source URL:

SALINAS — The 33 men honored Saturday at Sunrise Villa Salinas come from many walks of life. But they have one thing in common: They are all fathers.

The Alliance on Aging, along with corporate sponsors and volunteers from Salinas Valley Community Church, made sure all of them were remembered on Father’s Day, which is Sunday.

Ten of the men gathered by the fire in a lounge at the senior living center at 1320 Padre Drive Saturday morning. They received baseball hats donated by local produce companies and Father’s Day cards handmade by first-graders at Toro Park Elementary School.

It was the third year Alliance on Aging has honored senior men in assisted living centers and nursing homes. The organization and volunteers visited 70 Monterey County facilities Saturday and Sunday during the I Remember Papas event. Some 1,000 caps were handed out.

On Mother’s Day Alliance on Aging presented flowers to moms in similar facilities.

“Many of the senior men in care facilities do not get visitors on a regular basis,” said Wanda Pan-Christiansen, director of marketing and development for the Alliance on Aging. “This event ensures that they aren’t forgotten.”

Three-year-old Hunter Harrison handed Philip Bleicher a hat and card Saturday. The hat had a produce company logo. The card, on red paper, showed a dad with cotton balls for hair. It read, “It’s your day pops. Enjoy.”

“Did you make this?” Bleicher, a retired dental surgeon, asked Hunter. “That’s pretty nice.”

Hunter gave Bleicher a high-five, then handed him his own ball cap to look at.

“Very nice,” Bleicher said. “Thank you.”

Bleicher, whose wife also lives at Sunrise Villa Salinas, served in the Army as a dental surgeon. The couple lived in Panama with their four children while he was in the military. One of his daughters teaches school in Salinas. The other children live out of state.

“We loved Panama,” he said.

The Bleichers built a house in Corral de Tierra and settled there. Married for 63 years, Bleicher credits his wife’s good attitude for making the family’s moves easy during his time in the Army.

Ron LaLonde, 77, moved to Sunrise Villa Salinas from Tacoma, Washington, a year ago. His daughter is a nurse at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.

He suffered a fall at his home and lay undiscovered for two days before neighbors found him. A retired chemical engineer, he lost his wife two years ago. LaLonde said his health has improved since moving to Sunrise Villa Salinas.

“It’s like paradise here,” he said. “I got to know so many people here. I didn’t know a lot of people.”

William Hagler, 88, had a 40-year career with New York Life Insurance before retiring. He grew up in San Francisco and graduated from UC Berkeley, then served four years in the Air Force. He and his wife, who has died, moved to Sunrise Villa Salinas three years ago from Marin County. His son and daughter live in the area.

Asked about being honored on Father’s Day, he said, “I think it’s a great event. It really is. … It’s obviously good to meet these younger children. … I love Salinas,” Hagler said. “I love the openness.”

Harold Adishian is 96, but looks much younger. He is from La Habra but attended Oakland High School, graduating in 1940. He’s always on the lookout for former high school classmates.

During World War II he served with the Air Force in India, sending up weather balloons. After the war, he was an elementary school principal, then went on to work for the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce.

“I met a lot of people in industry and had a good time,” he said of his last career.

Adishian has a daughter in Salinas.

“This is a nice place to be,” he said. “I feel pretty good.”

Saturday’s I Remember Papas event helps generate awareness of the Alliance on Aging’s Ombudsman program. The program advocates for the safety and care of seniors living in long-term care facilities.

For information, call 831-655-1334 or 831-758-4011, or visit the Alliance on Aging website at allianceonaging.org./

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