Crusher, beloved crustacean and number one fan of the Maine Red Claws, NBADL affiliate of the Boston Celtics, showed off the charitable side of the Red Claws on Thursday, August 15th when he attended the Alzheimer's Association silent auction at Avita of Stroudwater, a retirement and assisted-living facility in Westbrook, ME.
Crusher, a life-sized lobster in high tops and the familiar Maine Red Claws home white jersey walked around Avita, visiting residents and guests in attendance. He could be seen posing for pictures with staff members, auction attendees, guests of the home and children, young and old.
The mascot wasn't the only representation Maine's basketball team had at the event. Heather Boutin, a Red Claws account executive was on hand as well.
"I met Helen Harvie, director of marketing for Maine and New Hampshire In-Home Senior Services while networking and through her I found the Avita of Stroudwater auction."
Boutin knew that this was a perfect opportunity for collaboration between the Red Claws, Avita and the Alzheimer's Association to bring extra awareness to the event.
"It was a no-brainer. Not only does our mascot, Crusher, brings excitement to the event and spread brand awareness, he also shows that the Maine Red Claws care about local businesses and charities."
This relationship is an important aspect of the way the Red Claws operate, and Boutin recognized that in her desire to participate in this event.
"We are all here supporting each other, and there is no better way to do that than to be out in the community where all the fun is happening."
Boutin wasn't the only one having fun at the event. Crusher took in the musical styling of the Saco Bay Jazz Vocal Ensemble and delighted in the fact that the caterers left lobster off of the menu. He was assured of this by the guest servers, represented by three of the winners of the Maine Academic Scholarship Pageant: Miss Maine Collegiate, Casey Bonville, Miss Maine Junior High, Taylor Bridges and Miss Maine Elementary, McKensi Mills.
The event was a great success, with the auction bringing in over $5,000 for the Alzheimer's Association.
According to Avita of Stroudwater Executive Director Courtney Freeman, the auction was the brainchild of Angela Mastrella, Social Program Director at Avita, along with Helen Harvie, Director of Marketing for event co-sponsors In-Home Services. The auction proceeds were donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
"I cannot tell you how diligently these two worked to ensure such a successful Auction," Freeman said of the auction planners.
Freeman went on to explain what Avita of Stroudwater does.
"We are a 60-unit Assisted Living Community that specializes solely on Memory Care. We have three smaller neighborhoods [Autumn, Summer, Spring], which allow the Residents to be less over stimulated and agitated and really feel as if they were in an independent/apartment setting."
In addition to separate communities, Freeman emphasized that Avita focuses on more than just the medical needs of their residents, a distinction they prides themselves on to differentiate from their competitors.
"I think the biggest and best thing the separates us from anybody else – is that we have a social model vs a medical model. What this means, is that we really focus on each Residents’ emotional well-being, individualize their care plan with their likes, dislikes, etc."
She also likes to emphasize the activities that the residents can participate in.
"Our social programming department is stellar, [with] programs rang[ing] from canvas art classes conducted by a professional art teacher to weekly musical entertainment and dances, gym outings, floral arranging and gardening [as well as a] resident drama club. They really are pretty phenomenal."
Harvie provided a little bit of a background on In-Home Services.
"We are an in-home care agency in Westbrook and service York County, Cumberland County and the Seacoast of NH. We provide in home care to seniors and those with short term or long term disabilities. We have been in business 20 years and are independently owned and operated."
Both Freeman and Harvie also said that everyone loved Crusher, and were pleased to have him at the auction.
More on Maine Red Claws community outreach:
The Red Claws routinely send their mascot, players, office staff and interns to several charity events throughout the year. During the 2013-14 season, the Red Claws participated in 78 charitable appearances, assisting local and national charities such as Strive, Camp Sunshine, the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Make a Wish, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the YMCA, Alzheimer's Association and the Boys and Girls Club.
They also donate team items to fundraisers around the state. For the Alzheimer's Association auction, attendees could bid on a gift basket that included a team-signed ball, an inaugural yearbook, some Red Claws merchandise and an opportunity for a child to be an honorary ball kid at a 2014-15 Red Claws home game. The Red Claws made over 200 donations to statewide fundraising efforts during the 2013-14 season.