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90-year-old residents celebrate birthdays

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By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Council of Aging hosted a birthday party for residents over the age of 90 at the First Baptist Church.

The Council Of Aging staff explained why they hold this celebration.

“I think it’s important that we honor those who have aged, and this is a simple way for us to tell them we care about them,” said Director of the Council of Aging Lina Arena-DeRosa.

“It makes them feel good that they are recognized,” added Council of Aging Operations Manager Trish Tucke. “It’s so impressive to see some of these people.”

Locke explained that they “find everybody in town that is over 90 and send them an invitation.” The event has lasted at least 11 years, and the staff often notices familiar faces from past years.

“A lot of [the seniors] we recognize,” Tucke said. “They come back every year.”

Senior residents over 90 years old celebrate their birthdays at the First Baptist Church. Photos by Robby McKittrick

Senior residents over 90 years old celebrate their birthdays at the First Baptist Church. Photos by Robby McKittrick

The party lasted from 11:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m. and included a musician, a birthday cake, lunch, beverages, and balloons.

There were around 35 seniors who attended the celebration, and they appeared to be having a great time.

“They love it,” Tucke said. “Just look at them. They are all so happy.”

“I think it’s a nice thing to [hold this event],” said senior resident Jeanne Manning, who is celebrating her birthday next week.

“It’s the one opportunity that they get to see their old friends, relax, have a nice lunch, and hear some nice music,” added Arena-DeRosa. “It’s pretty simple, but really wonderful.”

David Polansky has played music for the event for the past 11 years. Polansky, who has played an instrument since he was nine years old, explained why he performs at the celebration every year.

David Polansky sings happy birthday to begin the celebration for the seniors over 90 years old at the First Baptist Church. Photos by Robby McKittrick

David Polansky sings happy birthday to begin the celebration for the seniors over 90 years old at the First Baptist Church. Photos by Robby McKittrick

“I love it because … the music that I love is the same music that they love,” Polansky explained. “I have so much fun with them, and their musical knowledge … is incredible.”

Arena-DeRosa began the party by welcoming all of the members and introducing State Representative Paul McMurtry and Senator Mike Rush. Both of the government officials expressed their appreciation for the senior citizens.

“Happy birthday to each and every one of you,” McMurtry told the group. “I hope you have continued health and happiness.”
“Great things go on in this town every day and this is a testament to that,” said Senator Rush. “Thank you for having us, and happy birthday.”

Then, Westwood Town Manager Mike Gillette addressed the group.

“I want to acknowledge those who are celebrating 90 years,” Gillette began. “We have a lot of gratitude for what you do for the community.”

In addition to the State Representative, the Senator, and the Town Manager, Westwood Chairman of the Selectmen Michael Walsh also attended the event to support the seniors.

“It’s a great event for the seniors,” he said. “It’s always great to get them out of the house and socialize with friends they haven’t seen in a while.”

Overall, it was a spirited celebration for the seniors in the community.
“[The seniors] are amazing,” said Tucke. “It makes you feel good knowing that getting old isn’t that bad when you see these people.”

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