Monthly rent is typically $300 to $400, said Terry Geiling, president of American Gold Star Manor. â€œMy mantra around here is clean, quiet, safe, and comfortable,â€� he said.
That mantra can be seen borne out at the facility.
The grounds are lush and upkeep is meticulous.
Residents can maintain their own individual gardens.
Amenities include a banquet hall, swimming pool, exercise room, computer center with Internet access, and Internet availability in all apartments.
Special attention is paid to keeping residents engaged through activities and outings: coffee and newspapers every morning, computer classes taught by local college students, holiday parties, pancake breakfasts, rummage sales, movie night, bingo night, and even organized trips to outside attractions such as nearby Indian casinos. â€œThis is way beyond a job for me, this is a labor of love,â€� added Geiling. The stamp that Geiling has put on American Gold Star Manor over his two years at the helm can be attributed to his wealth of experience.
In addition to serving as a Navy officer, he had a career at IBM working in computer technology, which has translated to an emphasis on having the latest resources for residents.
The computer lab, computer classes, wireless Internet access in common areas, and Internet connections in all the apartments has been instituted under his
experience is also based on living in Hawaii for many years during his
time in the Navy.
said that he
encourages the Hawaiian concept of â€œohanaâ€� at the Manor, which could be best translated as residents relating to each other as extended family.
To that aim, he
facilitates holiday and cultural celebrations in the banquet hall and maintains a tradition of beginning each event by saying hello in a number of languages, a reflection of the diversity among residents. For Geiling, however, the verdant setting, computers, and family spirit seem to be just the beginning for this man with a vision for the full potential of the community.
has an eye on making the facility â€œtotally greenâ€� as he
put it. â€œMy motto is we have to keep the Manor green, but we have to make it green,â€� he
said in regard to two of his
focusesâ€"maintaining the landscape and adopting energy efficient technology.
is currently working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development
on financing for improvements including solar energy, drought tolerant plantings, and automated sprinklers. â€œOne, weâ€™ll be a model HUD community, and two, weâ€™ll be a model community for the whole area,â€� he
added resolutely. Geilingâ€™s vision also includes expanding the eligibility for American Gold
Star Mothers and veterans by lowering or easing age requirements.
is currently working with legislators to do so.
emphasized that many mothers of recently deceased service members are not senior citizens, but he
feels they should be eligible for the Manor nonetheless. Ultimately, Geiling
sees the Manor as not only an excellent residential community, but as a hub for veterans groups in the area to gather. The grounds and banquet hall are ideal for meetings, ceremonies and parties. â€œThis has been the best kept secret in town, and Iâ€™m trying to turn that around,â€� he
said. For all Geiling, his
staff, and the residents have done at the Manor, perhaps the most appreciated addition is a new mosaic-tiled memorial set off from the main open-grass area.