Senior Stories

The seniors we meet through the Care Van and Senior Hot Meal delivery are wise, funny and have a lifetime of stories to share. We are so fortunate to gain new perspective through our chats with them. Now, we want to share some of their stories and wisdom with you.


Each month, the seniors we serve are offered a ‘question of the month’ that is an invitation to reflect on their life and share their stories and wisdom. We share their responses here as well as on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


What is your advice for Longevity? – July 2022






Live one day at a time!


Remember you can’t do anything about mistakes made yesterday, just learn by them.  Tomorrow is out of site so don’t dwell or worry about things that haven’t happened yet.


Eat healthy, exercise, don’t smoke and drink in moderation or not at all. Get plenty of rest and spend as much quality time with family and friends as possible.

                          – Chris Gunderson





What are you most proud of? – June 2022




The one who calls me Dad- Chris Gunderson



I am very proud of my beautiful daughter.


I am very proud that I became an active parent in her life.  I taught her how to take care of herself in all sorts of situations.  I taught her how to ride bikes, swim and ride horses.  I also got to take her to Disney Land and watch her graduate.


I’ve watched her work her way up into management at Starbucks as well as receiving her Bachelors in business from Arizona State.


I am very proud that she has grown into such a beautiful, intelligent, and caring young woman.




Where was your favorite place you’ve traveled? – May 2022



Blessed to travel- Chris Gunderson


I was blessed to have been to a lot of beautiful, interesting and scary places in my travels on my various jobs.


The third Marine Corps division sent me to Vietnam.  This was by far the scariest place I have ever been.  The weather was unbelievable.  Sometimes it would be 100 degrees and rain for 3 months.  It was hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The corps really thought I liked it there so they sent me back two more times.


I also got to cowboy in Nevada and Montana in some of the most rugged and beautiful country on earth.


I was blessed to commercial fish in the Bering Sea and North Pacific and take in the rugged beauty of Alaska.


One of the most interesting places I traveled to was Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual motorcycle rally.  Six figure executives would mingle with outlaw bikers.  Amazingly there was very little violence.


I was gifted to visit some very interesting and exotic places.





A Leavenworth Wedding- By Rebecca Christian


My husband Mark and I really love Leavenworth! We were drawn to the beauty and the stillness.


We took a carriage ride through the town, enjoyed great food, met such warm and friendly people and visited the fun shops.


Mark and I were married there at The Wedding Haus December 10th, 2005 and after the ceremony we watched the tree lighting ceremony.  It was absolutely amazing! Some of the locals were dressed in authentic Victorian style clothing.  Everyone who gathered around sang Christmas carols.


Leavenworth has become our special place and we try to go back when possible.  It truly is our happy place!




Family Travels- By Nila Hamilton


In 1972 I went to Portugal, Spain and Morocco on an American Express bus tour with my sister and brother – in- law. 


We Landed in Lisbon and when we got off the plane the airport was full of armed soldiers. Scary! 


From Lisbon we went to Spain but didn’t stay long.  We then went across the Straight of Gibraltar and into Morocco. I rode a camel in Rabat and we went to a small town called Mijas where I rode a donkey through town.  We went to Ceuta, Spanish Morocco, and stayed in a jail that had been renovated into a hotel.  


We then went to Madrid and ate at the Casa Bauter where Ernest Hemingway was a customer.  When we left there we ran into a bunch of traveling troubadours who took my sister and I and danced us to a gazebo in town where we continued to dance for a few hours.  It was a wonderful experience.  The food was bland but the entertainment was great!






What was your Career? – April 2022


The Cowboy Way – By Chris Gunderson


Upon graduation from Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, I spent 6 years in the Marine Corps.


After my discharge I fished on a long liner in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific.  This is where I came to believe in the power of mother nature.  Often times we were in 40ft seas with the wind blowing between 80 to 100 mph. 


I later worked as a cowboy. My favorite job.  The hours were long and the pay short.  The awards were being outdoors and working with some of the greatest people I have ever known and became a team with a great, athletic, 1,000lb animal.  Even after not working as a cowboy I always kept horses up until a couple of years ago.  After cowboying I went to work in the woods in the forests of Enumclaw area.  After that I found a job on the Seattle waterfront at a cold storage warehouse where I retired from in 1975. 



Iron Woman – By Nila Hamilton


I started out as a secretary for Northern Ordinance in Minneapolis. From there, I went to General Mills and did an assortment of jobs. Next, I went to Soo Line Railroad as

a stenographer in April 1956. When I got pregnant, I had to quit because I wasn’t vested. 


On June 8, 1960, I went to work for the Great Northern Railroad for one day and ended up staying for 30 years. On November 1974, I moved to Seattle to become the first woman in a man’s job. I was Assistant Foreman in the mechanical department at King Street Station. I was at King Street for 20 years. Over the years, I had promotions and ended up as General Foreman. Amtrak took over our yard in April 1989 and they took only two foreman from the BN. I was one of them. 

On November 30, 1994, I retired at age 59.5 with 38 years of railroading. I then worked as an aide to help the disabled for four years in Minneapolis, then came back to Seattle to care for my grandchildren. I continued to care for them for 15 years. 



How Did You Meet Your Sweetheart? – March 2022



Together through a friend- Rebecca Christian




My husband Mark and I met through a mutual in 1998.  We share a lot of common interests.  We love Nascar, car shows, animals, and of course good food!





Childhood Sweethearts – By Dwight and Susie Hauck





My brother was dating Dwight’s sister.  We met when we were in 3rd grade. Grew up as friends, dated in high school and married after graduation.   Married 1978-present.


And serving together ever since! Dwight and Susie serve together in the kitchen for Senior Hot Meals. We are grateful they met in 3rd grade because, together, they are a huge asset to this community. 










What Brought you to Enumclaw? – Feb 2022



Enumclaw: The Camelot of King County – by Hugh Lyman


I had an opportunity to start my own business, manufacturing commercial cabinets for schools, hospitals and laboratories. This was in 1970. An article in the Seattle Times about Enumclaw, “the Camelot of King County” caught my eye. I found a 4.5 acre piece of property at the corner of Cole & Battersby streets which I purchased and have been in Enumclaw ever since.


We found the archived Seattle Times article


Hugh has so many great stories including of a time when he nearly crashed an airplane, won an invention contest for 3D printing and many hunting adventures. 
Stay tuned for more from this wise and adventurous neighbor of ours. 




It was the Good, Ol’ Country Folk – by Chris Gunderson


I’ve always been a small town country boy at heart. I grew up in rural Kitsap County between Bremerton and Silverdale. When not playing sports, I spent a lot of time hunting and fishing with my dad and his friends. I also had two uncles who had ranches where I learned to ride horses. I also had a love of Harley Davidson motorcycles. My first vehicle was a 1947 HD Panhead.


Upon graduation, I spent six years in the Marine Corps. I then had several jobs including commercial fishing in Alaska, cowboying in Nevada and logging.


I married in 1975 while living in Black Diamond and logging.


In 1978, our beautiful daughter as born and I had found work on the Seattle waterfront.


In 1980, we but I still desired to be part of my daughter’s love. I moved to Covington and had custody every-other weekend and shared holidays. In 1992, I moved to Selleck adn continued to be part of my daughter’s life. We rode horses and spent quality time together. I watched her graduate and walked her down the aisle in 1999.


Shortly after my retirement in 2002, I moved to Enumclaw. I got tired of long periods without power during wind storms in Selleck (sometimes 7-10 days). I chose Enumclaw so I could be near my daughter. Also, I found Enumclaw to be neat and well-kept and there lived my kind of people – good ol’ country folk.






In Search of a New Life – by Albert Mantell


My parents – who came to Enumclaw looking for a new life. It wasn’t easy and they worked hard just to survive.


Looking back, I worked hard farming and, for spending money, worked for Weyerhauser in the woods.


I remember a friend of my folks who was in the Merchant Marines and traveled the world told me that Enumclaw was hard to beat!