As a salesman, Bill Mahl put his gift of gab to good use helping businesses solve problems. Now he’s using his gifts again to entertain fellow residents at Lutheran Hillside Village, a Lutheran Senior Services Life Plan Community in Peoria, Illinois, by sharing stories about their neighbors in a regular interview segment shared on the in-house television channel.
“Everyone here has a story,” said Bill. “When my wife and I would meet people and get to know them, I realized there’s a bunch of stories here and it would be fun to share these with other residents. That’s how we got started.”
Bill has perfected his formula to help his guests get comfortable before the interview while learning the information and stories he thinks his audience will be most interested in. After a resident agrees to be a guest on Bill’s show, he provides them with a short questionnaire that includes questions about their life. He always asks guests what brought them to Lutheran Hillside Village and why they chose this community.
“We laugh a little and have some fun,” said Bill. “I won’t throw guests a curveball and will never embarrass them. It’s just sharing their life with fellow residents.”
The first show Bill organized was a memorial show for a former resident who had recently passed away. Bill invited a close friend of the former resident to talk about him personally and Bill talked about the former resident’s career as a short story author including reading a story by the former resident.
Since that first show Bill has shared the stories of residents who are artists, educators, submariners, volunteers, anthropologists, political advisors, world travelers, and much more. He even had a guest surprise him once by asking to sing a hymn in the middle of the interview!
“I hear from other residents about it being great program and that they didn’t know about this person and didn’t realize they accomplished so much,” said Bill. “That’s what gets me going – knowing people are having fun and learning about fellow residents at Lutheran Hillside Village.”
To learn more about Lutheran Hillside Village, including how to set up a tour, visit the Lutheran Hillside Village web page.