‘Outstanding Senior Citizen’ honored


EATON — A crowd of approximately 400 senior citizens and others gathered to celebrate Senior Day at the Preble County Council on Aging Senior Center on Tuesday, May 9, a day to recognize this year’s Older Americans Month and “aging unbound.”

“I was thinking it’s already been a year since our last year. And then the theme this year is ‘Aging Unbound.’ Aging Unbound. What does that really even mean? I wasn’t sure when I saw it,” PCCOA Executive Director Shelley Ratliff said in welcoming everyone to the event. “When I read it for the first time, I was puzzled and had to look it up. But we are aging unbound here. It means that we’re liberated, limitless and uninhibited.

“And that’s what we’re all trying to do as we age in our home. And you could say that some folks in Preble County have been following this even before it was our theme this year.

“Everybody knows this is our 50th anniversary,” Ratliff continued. “So a little over 50 years ago, the first articles of incorporation were filed for the Preble County Council on Aging, with the following charitable and educational purposes: to study the psychological and social effects of aging in order to improve the quality of life for the elderly residents of Preble County, promote and encourage participation by the elderly residents of Preble County in community affairs, to plan and sponsor community activities, like today, which will utilize the experience of the elderly and demonstrate their genuine concern for the needy residents of this county of all ages and social conditions; to improve the living conditions of the elderly residents of Preble county by providing health recreation and food service. Because of this mission of Herbert Long from Camden, Helen Flory from Eaton and Myra Gebhart from Lewisburg, we are still growing strong 50 years later. They were liberated, uninhibited and limitless.

“Today our focus continues to help you navigate aging without any limits, no inhibitions and to live life to your fullest. Now remember, living your life to the fullest is different for each of us. What one person may need is different than someone else. It’s time for us all to age unbound.

“Do you remember when I announced that our board was taking action to plan for our future? And I told you to stay tuned?” Ratliff asked those in attendance. “Well, you can look around the grounds today and see that our board has taken a lot of action in this last year.”

County and local officials were on hand to help in the celebration, including Commissioners Adam Craft and David Haber, and representatives from the Area Agency on Aging, as were the members of the Preble County Council on Aging Board of Trustees.

“We’re so glad to have the support of our county commissioners and other local officials. I know that I’ve said this before, but many times I hear from other senior centers all through the state of Ohio, that they don’t all have good relationships with their commissioners with their public officials, but not so here in Preble County,” Ratliff added.

Commissioner Craft presented a proclamation recognizing May as Older Americans Month in Preble County.

Karen Roberts presented the PC Senior Citizen of the Year, Alice Rickard

“She has been a main caregiver for her 94/95-year-old parents over the last 15 years. She is actively involved with the Visitation Catholic Church in Eaton where she organizes the free community meals. She organizes free coats, hats, and gloves for needy children before winter; delivers communion to elderly shut-ins; has caught, neutered, spayed and rehomed a feral cat colony to a local farm; works with companies in the tri-state area to secure free food to distribute to the poor; hosts garage sales for charities and donates the proceeds; adopts families for holidays and helps with food and gifts and also help so many individuals, including myself,” Roberts said in introducing Rickard.

“I believe God puts people in our lives at certain times. Because he knows that we’re going to need them and he knew I was going to need her. She was there for me when I lost my mom in 2017 and has been there for me ever since. I believe this person has made a difference to so many lives here in Preble County,” Roberts said. “And that is why I nominated her. I’d like to welcome Alice Rickard, the Preble County Senior Citizen of the Year.”

Rickard was presented a special plaque in her honor.

Senior Day activities included fun games, lunch, and representatives from various resources presenting information regarding available services to those in attendance.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.

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