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November 10, 2008 4:06 am

NWC athletes, Manor residents enrich each others lives

Written by Tribune Staff

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Northwest College volleyball player Carol Martin (left) gets a hug from Rocky Mountain Manor resident Rose Winslow following a recent volleyball match at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in Powell. Martin and Winslow have developed a friendship through a program that has brought together NWC's athletes and seniors from the local retirement facility. Tribune photo by David Dickey

A common bond

Following a recent volleyball match at Northwest College, the Lady Trappers began their usual routine of taking down the net, stretching and visiting with family and friends who were in attendance.

Among those who took time to interact with the players was Rose Winslow, an 87-year-old resident of the Rocky Mountain Manor, a retirement home located in Powell.

As Winslow made her way onto the court, she was spotted by NWC setter Carol Martin. The sophomore quickly made her way to Winslow's side, and the two shared a hug and a lengthy conversation. Middle hitter Thabata Galvao and men's basketball player Ricardo Bodra soon joined the conversation, which produced plenty of smiles and laughter.

The meeting of the two generations, however, wasn't by chance. It stemmed from a recently-formed union between NWC's athletes and residents of the Manor. That union came to fruition, thanks to an idea proposed by NWC athletic director and head wrestling coach Jim Zeigler.

Zeigler, during a conversation with Wes Metzler, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Manor's board of directors, mentioned his idea of having NWC student-athletes take time out of their schedules to visit with the residents.

From that point, Maxie Lynn, activities director at the Rocky Mountain Manor, helped arrange the initial visit, and it's been a hit for both groups.

“It's worked out really well,” Zeigler said. “It's been a great way for our athletes to interact with people who have plenty of life experiences to share. It's been good for our kids, and the residents at the manor have had a blast talking with the kids.

“A lot of the people there read about the kids in the paper and hear about them on the radio, so it's a lot of fun for them to meet the kids and get to know them on a personal level. Just watching all of them talk and enjoy themselves has been so much fun.”

The meeting of the two groups, which take place every other Wednesday, began with athletes introducing themselves to the residents during the lunch hour at the manor. Through those introductions, Zeigler said the residents were able to pick up on common bonds they had with each athlete.

As it is now, many of the athletes and seniors know each other on a first-name basis, and the conversations that take place last through lunch and into the early portion of the afternoon.

“I love it,” said Bodra, a freshman basketball player from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “It's been so much fun for us to tell stories about where we grew up and things that we've done. One of the things I told them was I wanted to go to Yellowstone and see a bear. I still haven't seen one, but I've had several of them tell me about the bears they've seen. There's just so much they can teach us, and I've really enjoyed my time with them.”

Whereas the athletes get to learn from the residents, Winslow said the Trappers and Lady Trappers offer plenty in return.

“Their visits provide an extra shot of life,” Winslow said. “They bring us back in touch with the world. It's been really nice to spend time with them, and I look forward to seeing them walk through the doors for a visit.”

Winslow and numerous residents at the manor have made several trips to NWC to watch sporting events since the initial meeting with NWC's athletes and plan to make more.

Winslow, who labels Brazilian players Martin and Galvao as two of her adopted athletes, said being able to attend those events gives her an opportunity to break away from her normal routine and allows her to extend support to the athletes.

“I wish I could watch them play more,” said Winslow. “When we go, they treat us like crown jewels, and that means a lot. If I could, I'd go to their road games. They're just so much fun to watch.

“All of them are such nice boys and girls, and most of them are a long way from home. They need a little extra love and attention. In return, they give us that little extra love and attention that we need.”