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Assisted living fashion show proves a big hit

by: Matthew Sherman, Wendy Liebreich from Portland Luggage gives a demonstration on how to pack for trips quickly and efficiently at Oswego Place Assisted Living Community last Saturday as part of a fund-raising event for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Association.

It was an exciting day for many residents at Oswego Place Assisted Living Community and members of the general public who visited last Saturday. Nearly 100 women in attendance took part in an afternoon tea and were both entertained and educated while supporting a very worthy cause.

While sitting comfortably in the building's common room, four previously retired models donned clothes provided by Chico's at Bridgeport Village for a fashion show.

Emcee Shirley Benz still had a connection with models, who are now all senior citizens, and had been looking for an opportunity to utilize them.

The women took turns putting on a number of different outfits for various occasions and it was difficult to tell who was having a better time, the models or the audience.

'I think the women really loved it. A number of them mentioned to me that it was fun to see some older models who they could relate to,' said Oswego Place's Nancy Raske.

And even the event organizers got into the action as both Benz and Raske showed off outfits during the afternoon.

'Afterwards, a number of the women kept asking me when I was going to Chico's to buy the shawl that I wore,' Raske said.

Tickets for the event were $10 with all proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Association. The event was also unofficially dedicated to Oswego Place's executive chef, Dana Nelson, who has battled both Hodgkin's Disease and breast cancer for 28 years.

While the models changed outfits, a number of donated door prizes were raffled to lucky winners. Gift baskets and certificates from Chico's, Portland Luggage, Oswego Place, among others, were given away to those with winning tickets.

Benz also had a number of her watercolor paintings on display that are available for purchase. She specializes in landscapes and portraits, especially those of pets.

After the fashion show was completed, Wendy Liebreich from Portland Luggage took over for a brief workshop on how to pack for vacations quickly and efficiently. She detailed new security measures implemented by airports and how to avoid unnecessary hassles while traveling.

'Wendy was great and I was surprised at how much I learned and how helpful she was,' Raske said.

Overall, it was a very successful afternoon for Oswego Place, which just opened up in June on Pilkington Road in Lake Grove.

Currently, the assisted living community has about half of its residences occupied and is currently accepting new applications. Raske hopes that this event and others planned in the future will bring in members of the community to see the facilities.

'We've had a number of phone calls since the event from people asking to tour the building. We've told our residents to invite three or four of their friends to be their new neighbors,' Raske said.

A number of future events are currently in the works as Raske has tried hard to give the community's residents a wide variety of options.

'That kind of variety is important. The more stimuli the better,' Raske said.

Raske has been working with local schools to set up talks for the seniors to share their knowledge with younger generations and also has a series of educational classes planned each month.

On Oct. 19, the community will host an Antiques Roadshow event where appraisers will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assess the value of pieces that local residence may possess.

Anyone interested in having an item appraised is invited to call the community at 503-697-1025.