Annie Schmutzler has been part of Heisinger Bluffs since its early beginnings in 1978, serving as a volunteer, and later as an employee. And now, in retirement, she’s back in her volunteer capacity.
As she puts it, “I just can’t stay away.”
“I worked in Activities with Jerry Engelby,” she says, and, like most people who know Jerry, “I became really good friends with her. We had a lot of fun. We would meet people and invite them to the different activities. It was really great.”
In 2003, Annie was awarded the MoAHA “Employee of the Year”. Shortly thereafter, she retired as a Heisinger Bluffs employee, but began her life as a volunteer. “I still do pretty much the same things I did before,” she says, then adds with a grin, “but without the responsibility. After all these years, I feel like I’m pretty much friends with everyone, and that’s how I approach my time with Activities. Just have fun with my friends. God has been, and is, so good to me!”
Annie serves as the unofficial “welcome wagon” for Heisinger Bluffs, introducing herself to new residents with a welcome package. “Then I ask them about themselves and we do a sort of assessment,” she says. “Basically we get to know them. We find out things like their birthdays, families, church affiliation, and things like that. We invite them to activities, especially the ones with music. People really respond to those activities. It seems like even the quietest residents come around and really start enjoying themselves when there’s a band.”
Annie has always thought of the Heisinger Bluffs as her second home. In 2009, she made it official and became a resident, living in one of the beautiful upstairs apartments in the historic mansion. “I feel that I have been specially blessed,” she says. “Everybody here is wonderful, and I feel blessed to be able to work with the staff and residents.”
“I have spent the last 20 some years here and I hope I can spend the next 20 here as well.”