PROSPER — Tribute Senior Living, a new assisted living and memory care community that was welcomed by the Prosper public in early June was recently gifted four garden planter boxes by Beau Cormican as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. The new planter boxes allowed all residents at Tribute to get their hands dirty as they planted their vegetables on Oct. 19.
“We didn’t have any specific plans going into the project, but really wanted to see what the community needed or lacked at the moment,” Cormican said of the project. “And this place (Tribute) had just opened up when we were first looking around. We came over a week or two after it opened and we asked Karen Clark (Life Enrichment Director) what they needed and she brought up that something they’ve wanted is garden boxes. Since many of the residents used to be gardeners and haven’t really had the opportunity to enjoy doing that in some time.”
Tribute was founded by Dallas architect Charles Hodges and is privately owned by Hodges, Rex Paine and Mark Rushing. It was a passion project for Hodges, who built the community based on his own experiences with his father’s care and decline due to dementia. All three of the owners have been affected personally by family members who had dementia. With these experiences in mind, Hodges was motivated to find a better option for those with memory impairment and spent 18 years researching the best possible practices and state-of-the-art design programming to put together a community with a team of operational and research experts.
The garden boxes Cormican, his family, and 20 volunteers helped build and set up also match the high quality standards set by the facility they were made for. The boxes themselves are made from cedar, which provides many benefits, including being naturally resistant to insects who might try to grab a bite or two from the growing vegetables. Cedar is also much more resistant to wear and rot than other wood options, as it usually lasts up to 15 years if untreated. However, with the polyurethane treatment Cormican placed on the boxes, they could endure over 30 years.
The garden boxes also were designed with attention to the needs of the residents. The boxes are placed on iron legs that have a special feature to them, wheels. With wheels, the boxes can be brought to residents if needed, taken to specific neighborhoods or make the transfer from outside to the on-site greenhouse much simpler for residents and staff. Two of the four boxes are also wheelchair accessible, making it possible for those residents who can’t stand to enjoy gardening as well.
Cormican shared what resonated with him and his family specifically in regards to building planter boxes for this community.
“My grandpa loved to garden in his free time, as a sort of stress reliever,” he said. “But he got recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, so he can’t necessarily garden anymore as his hobby. And so, that was something that sort of resonated with us and touched close to home, making the garden boxes stand out to us as a perfect thing to do and for others to enjoy.”
He said he believes the boxes will be a benefit for these residents.
“It’s something to continue and work towards with a purpose,” Cormican said. “So, I think it sort of adds a fulfillment to the human desire to maintain something and to nurture something. And I think the garden boxes represent that and will help provide that for the residents.”
Clark also stated the importance of these boxes for the community.
“My grandaddy used to tell me there’s three keys to happiness; someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to,” Clark said. “So if you love gardening, and you plant the seed and take care of it as it grows, and look forward to seeing it grow. Then all the boxes are checked. It is an ideal opportunity, and it meets the need of both our populations, those with mental care needs and those in our assisted living. Both get the opportunity to work together towards a common goal of growing something as a community. We have been very blessed with this project Beau and his family have given us.”
The residents have planted their seeds, now they and anyone in the Prosper area should have years worth of enjoyment watching them grow. And wherever Cromican’s life takes him, he will have planted the seeds that grow into smiles and memories for a community that will always be thankful for the service and hard work he put into providing this opportunity.
Tribute is the only assisted living facility to provide a plethora of unique programs and amenities to its residents — a licensed nurse in the community 24 hours a day, a medical director available to assess and find specific ways to enrich each residents experience, a wellness director for physical fitness needs, farm to table dining options and display kitchen — to name a few. Three specific “neighborhoods” — Prairie which provides spacious assisted living, and River and Mountain which focus on memory care — within the building that are staffed and designed with the well-being and unique needs of residents in mind.