As Airport Ambassadors, Mary and Bob Garland extend hospitality at Denver International
Highlands Ranch, Colo. – October 30, 2019 – Although Mary and Bob Garland have been retired for more than a decade, they still regularly put on uniforms and commute to work. The couple, who reside at Wind Crest, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living, regularly volunteer as Ambassadors at Denver International Airport, where they assist passengers with wayfinding, security and other airport information.
Avid travelers themselves, the Garlands learned about the program from a friend in their church community. One of the benefits Ambassadors earn by volunteering is free parking at the airport, so Mary and Bob thought, "Why not?" when they decided to try it out eight years ago. They found that they enjoy the opportunity to help others and meet people from different background so much that they continue to volunteer about 100 hours a year, typically on weekends.
"It's a joy for us to help others," says Mary.
After a 32-year career with Lockheed Martin, a large government contractor, and its predecessors, Bob retired. Mary, who continued working for the National Security Agency, was able to do a job transfer to Colorado and the two decided to sell their home in Davidsonville, Md. They were ready to try somewhere new and made the move out West in 2005.
They settled in Parker, Colorado, in a brand new, spacious, rancher-style home located near a golf course.
"It was our dream home," Mary said. "But, after 12 years, it was becoming a lot of work. The house needed new windows, a new roof, and we were starting to pay people to do things like landscaping and other maintenance for us."
The couple started looking around at different communities, including Wind Crest. Having lived in Maryland, they were familiar with Baltimore-based Erickson Living and knew that the communities they managed had excellent reputations for offering active, engaged senior living.
"Wind Crest had the best amenities, and the continuing care being available to us right there in the community should we ever need it was very attractive to us," said Bob.
The Garlands joined the community's Priority List and after three back-to-back snow storms dumping wet, heavy snow on their roof one April, decided it was time to make the move to Wind Crest.
They chose a Stratford floor plan in Longs Ridge, one of Wind Crest's independent living residence buildings, which Mary says is "perfect for us". With two bedrooms and two baths, a den and laundry room, there's plenty of room for the couple's Westie terrier, who especially enjoys watching neighbors come and go out the window.
Without having to worry about home maintenance anymore, the Garlands find they have more time to travel and volunteer, in addition to participating in many activities right on Wind Crest's 84-acre campus. Bob enjoys being part of the Model Railroad Club in addition playing bridge and golf, and volunteering in the community's Treasure Chest shop. Mary loves the group fitness classes, and they both work out with a personal trainer once a week to stay active. They enjoy the engaged lifestyle and social atmosphere, especially going to dinner in any one of Wind Crest's seven dining venues.
"It's great to sit down with friends and neighbors and hear what everyone has been up to that day," said Bob.
"Wind Crest has opened up a whole new group of people for us to get to know and hear their stories," said Mary. "We enjoy that same experience every time we volunteer as airport Ambassadors."
When asked what they would tell prospective residents about life at Wind Crest, Bob and Mary agree it would be not to wait.
"We treasure the independent living, and being able to take advantage of the fitness center, clubs, and activities, without having to worry about all the aspects of maintaining our home" said Mary. "I also love not having to cook!"
Their lifestyle at Wind Crest makes it easy for the Garlands to enjoy more volunteering as well as the perks of serving as airport Ambassadors with frequent travel. This year, they've already been on seven trips, including to Newport, Rhode Island, Arizona and Nevada, and a river cruise down the Danube. It gives them peace of mind, knowing that their apartment home at Wind Crest is safe and secure while they're gone. They simply turn the key and are off on their next adventure.
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The community is located in Douglas County and is home to more than 1,300 residents who are supported by a team of more than 600 employees. Additional information about Wind Crest can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.
Photo Caption: Mary and Bob Garland, residents at Wind Crest, prepare for a volunteer shift at Denver International Airport, where as Ambassadors, they assist passengers with wayfinding, security and other airport information.
Photo Courtesy Mary and Bob Garland.