Water guns at high noon

Eric Dobner, activities director at Narrows Glen, rides a stationary bike to earn money for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk.

The rest of the country is sweltering but this is Tacoma on a July morning so you know it’s cold. Cold enough that the residents of Narrows Glen and Laurel House that brave the cold do so for only brief periods of time usually to drop a bill in a jar or to give Eric Dobner, the activities director at Laurel House some advice or offer treats. No one wants to spray him with one of the two soaker guns he has sitting in a bucket of water because no one wants to make him catch a chill despite the fact that after an hour of riding his stationary bike, Dobner would welcome the opportunity to cool off if even just a bit.

This is the second year Dobner and his team from Narrows Glen have raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association by selling opportunities to soak him with what surely must be a quart of water wrapped up in the colorful plastic shell of a water gun.  Last year, the team raised $1600.  This year’s goal is $2000.   Dobner said he got the idea from someone that does something similar at Safeco Field all the time.  “It took me about a year to suggest it to my team,” he said.  Last year he was training for the Seattle to Portland (STP) and so the long ride (8:30 to 3 p.m.) was just more training on top of the 22 miles he rides to work a couple times a week.  But the weather was even stormier last year so that he had to ride while holding down the canopy set up over his stationary bike.  This year, it’s just cold but only if you are just standing around.  Under the canopy, Dobner and the rest of the team hold their morning roundup and while talking about what’s for lunch, staffing, and getting ready for a new resident, Dobner sheds his lightweight jacket and breaks open his first energy drink and hopes someone will come along willing to shell out the $40 to soak him.