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Visit from Elvis gets Sterling residents all shook up

7/30/2012

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Millie Flax claimed not to remember much about Elvis Presley and his music.

Still, there she was Saturday afternoon, smiling away while tapping her foot to Elvis' tunes and singing along while an Elvis impersonator serenaded residents of Sterling House, 1801 E. 27th.

"We were surprised she was singing the songs," said Flax's daughter, Laura Hertel, who attended the performance along with her daughter, Tara, Flax's granddaughter. "I think she remembers better than she thinks."

Flax, 75, said she likes any kind of music and musical performances at Sterling House.

"Any kind of music here is good," she said.

Beverly Hartsook, life enrichment coordinator at Sterling House, designated July rock 'n' roll month. Residents learned about that kind of music, and Hartsook thought another visit from "Elvis" would be a hit. Lew Raybern, who is from Seward, also performed at Sterling House a couple years ago.

"It's been fun this week, because I've been teasing them that Elvis is in the house," Hartsook said. "They keep saying is this going to be the real Elvis?"

Raybern, who drills water wells for a living, enjoys singing Elvis tunes. He has been doing it for approximately 12 years now.

"I love doing it for elderly people," he said. "They really enjoy it. I have fun with them.

"I've been an Elvis fan all my life."

"He knows how to charm them," Hartsook said.

Raybern went from resident to resident during his performance Saturday, singing to just about each one of them in attendance. He even sang to Tara Hertel, 12, who gave a shy smile and looked a little embarrassed.

"It was nice he came to see all the old people," she said.

Raybern alternated singing tunes with his mother, Lora Raybern; she was a little bit country. His wife, Amy, ran the show behind the scenes, getting the songs ready.

Laura Flax, 45, said she is more of an '80s gal when it comes to music. She enjoyed spending time together with her daughter and mother.

"We always try to come to these activities because that way it's something to do with (Millie) instead of sitting around visiting," she said.