by Buz Whelan
Shortly after Ryan Culverson became Community Center manager in November of 2008 I stopped by to introduce myself. I was the board president at the time and I was anxious to meet GM Gil Werner’s new hire. Seeing him in his office (and fully knowing his proper name) I said, “You must be Brian.” “Ryan,” he corrected me. “Whatever,” I answered beginning our gag greeting that lasted until his final day on the job. I’ll miss him. So, this is my Valentine to Ryan, a good CC manager and a good man.
When Ryan arrived the Community Center had problems. In the dining room the food was of low quality, to say the least, and in the bar the atmosphere was tense and unwelcoming. Ryan had his challenges. But now, as he leaves us, the food is the best it has ever been (thank you, Chef Todd) and the bar rocks with laughter and fellowship drawing SRO crowds night after night. The Community Center has become the place to be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A large measure of the credit for this dramatic turnaround belongs to Ryan Culverson.
Make no mistake: if you didn’t do your job, if you didn’t make members feel welcome, if you couldn’t provide food that pleased diners, and if you simply didn’t have good work habits, Ryan was your worst enemy. He was the type of boss who recognizes good service but is intolerant of something less than that. There is a raft of former employees who can attest to that fact. And it’s exactly what the association and the center needed. He standardized training and established a professionalism in the staff that will extend long beyond his time here. He did this with an eye to the details that make visits to the CC all the more pleasant.
Ryan’s parties were great, but the best was always Halloween…and it was Ryan’s favorite as well. I attended several and they were raucously happy affairs, indeed. Ryan was at his best in costume, obviously enjoying hosting the happy, laughing, costumed party goers. You could tell what a good time he was having and it was infectious. Memories are made of nights like those.
Sad as I am that Ryan is leaving, this isn’t an obituary. Ryan has completed the first level of his nurse training, obtained his A.A. in General Studies, passed his boards and is now a Licensed Practical Nurse. He also received the Evelyn Fallon Award for Clinical Excellence. He soon begins work at Pleasant Valley Manor, a nursing care and rehabilitation facility. He will simultaneously begin working toward his B. Sc. N., a four year degree that will result in his becoming an RN. His ultimate goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner, and though admission standards to such a training program are rigorous, there is little doubt that Ryan will achieve that ideal. You could go broke underestimating Ryan Culverson.
Goodbye, Ryan. Godspeed.
What an amazing production at the Funhouse (aka Community Center)! Four days of scary turns and twists that sent some running out the door even before the end of the tour!
Brave participants were greeted by The Evil Gypsy Fortune Teller, and then led past the friendly but tortured soul who just wanted new friends she could make look like her or her hollow-eyed doll. At every corner the scary clowns and mimes warned all to play fairly. They said they just wanted to be friends, but woe to those who said no, for they would suffer terrible consequences! All around was evidence of what happened to those who did not please them. Victims were jailed, tortured, beaten, stabbed by the Ring Master. There was Jack who didn’t stay in his “box” but instead came after visitors with his Chainsaw trying to chop up his the next meal! Through it all, there was a crazy Jester who would pop up in places that you would never imagine. The final stop on this terrible tour was the play room, where sadistic clowns were waiting for each group, trying to lock them in, making them beg for mercy before they were released, except for one young soul. She absolutely never left! We’ll see next year where she is found…or NOT.
Are they laughs of joy and fun or demented laughs of terror? Come find out at this year’s ELA Haunted Funhouse where our clowns have gone mad, our Ringmaster has lost control and the misfits were left behind to rot! Will you dare come through to see what is left? Are you afraid of being forced beyond your will to stay? Will the Gypsy Fortune Teller guide give you insight into your immediate future of whether you will stay or go? Dare us!! Better yet, dare yourself!
The annual Emerald Lakes Haunted House October 17, 18, 19 – 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. October 20 – 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Community Center. $6 for Adults and $4 for children under 10.