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The Chateau is celebrating 40 wonderful years of serving the Cape Girardeau community. Our longevity wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing and dedicated staff, many of whom can count their service to The Chateau in decades! One of our longest-serving staff members is our head groundskeeper, Raymond.

Raymond has kept The Chateau looking beautiful since he first joined our team on November 19, 1985. Originally, Raymond began in maintenance, where he helped take care of residents’ apartments as well as the main building. Back in the mid-80s, The Chateau was a much smaller place. It was just one building when Raymond started—the Gardens opened in 1988 and the first Estates home opened in 1993. Raymond recalls mowing the grounds where the Estates homes would eventually be built, “It used to take me a whole week to mow it.”

Pretty quickly after meeting him, you'll realize that Raymond has a fantastic memory—he can tell you the month and year of special events or when new features came to be across The Chateau’s 40 acres. As we passed the Wildflower Trail, he shared that a resident, Marge Bauerle, donated the funds to build the popular pathway, as well as plant gorgeous Missouri flowers around it. Raymond and the grounds crew keep the Wildflower trail looking great so that residents can spend peaceful time in nature whenever they wish.

One especially memorable event happened in September of 2017, when the whole property received the “Yard of the Month” honor from the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce. Raymond remembers going downtown to City Hall to receive the honor with the rest of the grounds crew, which just happened to be on his 62nd birthday!

Throughout the years, it’s the residents who really keep Raymond motivated and loving his work. He likes keeping the grounds looking sharp so residents can feel at home, plus enjoy comfort and nice views while spending time outside. He said he's always liked stopping by Monday morning coffee and hearing some amazing stories from people who have lived all over the world. “You get to meet a lot of really interesting people,” he said, from university professors to doctors to world travelers. "I have heard a lot of stories." 

When we stopped by the courtyard next to the main lobby, Raymond shared some fond memories of Mary Snow, who donated the funds to build the courtyard and its beautiful stone fountain, which Raymond helped bring to life. Before she settled in Cape Girardeau, Mary’s husband worked as a lawyer for the St. Louis Browns, back when the city was home to two Major League Baseball teams. After the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles, the couple adopted the Cardinals as their favorite team—and Mary was one of their ultimate super fans. The Cardinals always remembered the Snow family's contributions to St. Louis baseball, so they’d often provide Mary with tickets, and Mary frequently shared those tickets with her Chateau family. “She was a really special lady,” Raymond said with a smile.

Another resident, Florence Rossiter, commissioned the sculpture of the Great Horned Owl that greets visitors and residents alike in The Chateau’s main parking lot. If you haven’t seen the sculpture, take a look next time you’re in the lot!

We’re so grateful to Raymond and all of our staff for always going above and beyond for our residents. Next time you see Raymond making his rounds around The Chateau, be sure to say hi, and if you enjoy all of the beautiful green views around the property, give him a thank you! 

Stay tuned for more fun memories of the last 40 years and celebrations of all the great things yet to come at The Chateau!

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My typical day as a Life Enrichment Coordinator

I start off the day fixing up a pot of coffee for our early risers. Sometimes the residents enjoy having the news read to them over a cup of hot coffee and a doughnut. I head to a meeting with some of the other healthcare team members, then it’s time for another activity! From mental exercises to music entertainment to crafts, there’s honestly never a dull moment around here. You never know what you’ll get! Many of the residents like to tease me, because I’m (sometimes quite literally) running around the building either meeting new folks, delivering ice cream or snacks, or going door to door to invite each resident to the particular event that’s about to happen. I definitely get my fair share of steps in each day!

We take care of the activity needs from Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Rehab, all the way to Memory Care. Some our most popular activities include weekly bible study, manicures, facials, music entertainment, and laughter yoga. (And of course, anything to do with baking or food!) We recently began trying to implement more inter-generational activities. We’ve had children come to do vocal/piano recitals. We’ve also recently had monthly visits from the Prodigy Kids school. These children have done activities such as life story interviews, trivia, board games, and other things with our residents. We’ve talked about maybe doing a book program that could help the children with their reading. Additionally, we’ve made efforts to get out into the community more! Over Christmas, we enjoyed going out to see the Christmas lights. We’ve recently went to Andy’s Frozen Custard and the downtown area and spent an afternoon enjoying to the SEMO District Fair.

On a personal level, I’ve always felt a connection with this population. I recall nights staying up until midnight with my grandmother playing Monopoly and goofing around. I was always very close to my great-grandmother as a young child too. It seems only natural that this would be the job that I would love to show up to every day. I quite honestly feel like these people are my family, and I’d do anything for them! My favorite aspect of the job really revolves around knowing the residents on a deeper level, such as learning what they enjoy, learning about their life, who they married, funny stories about their past, or getting to know their family. I know no strangers here at The Chateau. To me, the most important thing about my job is being able to connect and engage with the resident on a personal level. When you really connect with people, everything else just seems to fall into place.

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