Unit Happenings – January 2024

Unit 6 Book Club and the Christmas Jars

Andrea Cothran

In December 2022, the Unit 6 Book Club read the book Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright. The story starts with a young woman receiving a much-needed, yet anonymous gift of money in a jar. Christmas Jars is a heartwarming story that will restore your faith in mankind and make you want to start your own Christmas jar tradition. That is exactly what the Unit 6 Book Club decided to do!

We meet once a month, reading a different host-selected book. At each Book Club meeting throughout 2023, we collected money in our own Christmas jar. The goal was to collect as much loose change as we could and donate it at the end of the year.

Much to our surprise, our little jar ended up with $600! The club selected to donate our funds to the Southwest Oasis Labrador Rescue, a charity near and dear to our founding member Elizabeth Mastro. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do in 2024!

Unit 6 2nd Annual Turkey Trot and Food Drive

Unit 6 Turkey Trot participants (photo by Katie Lundgren)

Katie Lundgren

Last year’s Turkey Trot was a success, so we thought … let’s do it again and add a food drive. What’s a Turkey Trot you may wonder? It’s a 5K Walk/Jog/Run to get your Thanksgiving morning off to a healthy start. Unit 6 residents, family, friends, and neighbors from SaddleBrooke Ranch were invited to participate. We met at 9 a.m. on a beautiful, crisp fall morning and had an enjoyable 5K walk to the dog park and back. We supported IMPACT of Southern Arizona Food Bank and requested an “entry fee” of two cans or boxes of food per person. Overall, we collected 167 pounds of food and donated $300. Thanks to the volunteers who helped with the Turkey Trot, including Marc and Katie Lundgren; Elizabeth Mastro; Dave Muck; Jeff and Erin Pricco; Cindy and Hazen Kreis, who assisted at the hydration station; Karen Handeschy, who supplied the hydration station; and Barbara Smothermon. Winners of the Turkey Trot were Dorothy Rupp, first place female, Adrian Rupp, first place male, and Buddy, first place canine. We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We hope you’ll join us next year.

Unit 8A Keeps the Streak with Happy Hour No. 93

Residents of Unit 8A gathered on the back patio of Chris and Gene Lee’s home for the unit’s 93rd monthly Happy Hour on Nov. 17. (Photo by Debbie Sparks)

Janelle Authur

When new Ranch residents move into Unit 8A, not only are they surprised by the number of ongoing, monthly unit activities, but they also become part of a unit tradition—an unbroken streak of monthly Happy Hours. In November, new Ranch and Unit 8A residents Chris and Gene Lee went all-in, hosting the unit’s 93rd Happy Hour on their back patio, the first party in their new home.

Unit 8A residents first met at the Bistro in March 2016 as a way to connect with new neighbors and grow unit camaraderie and friendships. As new neighbors moved in, they were quickly assimilated into the unit and introduced to neighbors at this monthly event.

As the months and years passed, the group continued to meet monthly, moving to new locations and formats as the unit grew, the weather changed, and residents adapted to the realities of COVID. Happy Hour started in the Bistro and rotated to the Ranch House, the pool, bocce ball courts, putting green, in homes, and, during COVID, in driveways, patios, garages, and cul-de-sacs.

When they hit Happy Hour No. 65, the group started to “count up” each month by posing for a photo with a numbered prop, ranging from props fashioned from balloons to candy to tennis balls to flowers. The Lees provided the props for Happy Hour No.93—giant gold balloons in the shape of 93 plus smaller balloons that spelled out “Happy Hour.”

As the count continues, unit residents have already marked their calendars for the annual celebration of Eight Years of Happy Hours in March 2024 as well as Happy Hour No. 100 the following June. How long will the streak continue? Stay tuned!

Unit 9 BLOCKtoberfest

Amy Donaldson

Seventy-five residents of Unit 9A and B gathered on Oct. 3 to ring in the fall season and celebrate their annual block party with a BLOCKtoberfest theme event. Residents were welcomed to the E. Heron cul-de-sac Bavarian Biergarten, where there was Ranch Hand Octoberfest Beer on tap, ice breaker games, music by KT Klassics, and great food prepared by volunteer neighbors. The pulled pork sandwiches were a big hit, along with the brats and sauerkraut.

Everyone enjoyed lively conversation, dancing, and participating in guessing games. Raffle prizes included fall-themed table centerpieces, two beautiful quilted table runners, and a bottle of wine. A big thank you to the planning committee and all the neighbors who volunteered to make the annual event a success.