MODESTO — With Independence Day just ahead, residents of Standiford Place figuratively raised a glass to military veterans Saturday.
The seniors at the independent-living complex were offering glasses of lemonade and cookies for donations to benefit the organization Outward Bound for Veterans.
Colorful banners proclaiming "Seniors Lemonade Day" were hung at the intersection of Standiford Avenue and Shawnee Drive to catch drivers' eyes no matter which direction they were heading.
Resident Jerry Short also was roadside, holding a sign to promote the fund-raiser. Unlike people who dance around and twirl business signs at seemingly every major street corner these days, though, Short was firmly planted in his folding chair. Still, he had the occasional driver stop simply to make a donation.
He noted that the day's heat likely reduced the number of people who wanted to stop even for cold lemonade as they zipped from Point A to Point B. But he was appreciative of those who did.
"People want to give, and it's a good cause. It takes $2,000 apiece to send these guys to camp," he said of the Outward Bound programs that help veterans returning from war re-acclimate to society.
Inspired by the Lemonade Day program that teaches youth basic business skills, helps them make some money and benefits United Cerebral Palsy and other causes, the Standiford Place staff and residents set up their lemonade stand drive-through Saturday as their latest fund-raiser for Outward Bound.
Among those running the stand just after noon were residents Alberta Martone, Ambie Haines and Nyla Rossiter, along with Standiford Place enrichment coordinator Laurie Warren.
They gathered in the shade of the complex's circular driveway and were cooled by an electric fan and a steady breeze. It was getting hot, and Haines smiled at the suggestion that she was among the smart ones who signed up for an early shift.
Dave Arevalo and Kenny Machado of Dave's Landscaping had passed "a couple of gals" along Standiford who were promoting Seniors Lemonade Day and told them they'd swing by later. They made good on the promise about 12:30 p.m., ending a workday that began six hours earlier.
Driving a pickup and towing a trailer loaded with lawn mowers and other landscaping equipment, the pair pulled into the circular driveway, rolled down the windows and cut the engine. No rush, as there was no one behind them.
They traded a donation for cups and cookies. "Ahh, good," Arevalo said, knocking back a cold glass and gladly accepting a refill. "It's already 101, ladies," he said, looking at the temperature display on his dash. "Better get that air conditioning going."
Business had been fairly slow in the late morning, but the afternoon heat brought at least one rush four or five cars in maybe 10 minutes. No matter: The folks staffing the stand were enjoying one another's company as they waited for their next customers.
Seniors Lemonade Day was one of many events Standiford Place is holding between Memorial Day and Labor Day to raise funds to benefit Outward Bound for Veterans, a cause supported by the residential communities run by parent company Holiday Retirement.
"This is our third year supporting Outward Bound," said Standiford Place Manager Greg Hogle. "We're attempting over these three months to collect $1.2 million. That will clear about 600 veterans from the waiting list."
According to a brochure handed out at the stand, Outward Bound for Veterans provides "wilderness courses that draw on the healing power of teamwork and challenge" and helps "veterans build the pride, trust and communication skills needed to properly readjust to their families, jobs and communities."
Hogle said suicide is a leading cause of death among veterans, and he was impressed to learn of Outward Bound that "they've never had a suicide by anyone who's gone through the program."
Warren said Standiford Place has several more Outward Bound benefits planned in the next two months. All are donation-only. They include:
July 6, a "Travel to New York"-themed dance night
July 13, a Hawaiian luau
July 20, a "Jeopardy"- style game event
Aug. 3, a carnival with a magician, face painting and game booths
Aug. 10, a chili cook-off
Aug. 17, a "Price Is Right"-themed game
Aug. 24, an outdoor concert
Aug. 31, a friendship dance
To learn more, call Standiford Place at (209) 521-7000.
Bee local news editor Deke Farrow can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2327.