EATON — The Preble County Council on Aging is inspiring seniors to “Age Out Loud,” a theme showcased at the annual Senior Day held Tuesday, May 9.
The annual celebration had a record turn out, with the parking lot so full they had to park people at The Grange and shuttle them over to the center.
The whole month of May is Older American’s Month and Senior Day Tuesday, May 9, was a statewide celebration. Council on Aging Executive Director Shelley Ratliff added, “So all over the State of Ohio people are celebrating Senior Day. This year’s theme is ‘Age out Loud’, so you will see, over in our booth we have photos going up where people can show how they are aging out loud and how important it is for seniors to age, age at home, age at their own pace, and we celebrate life,” she added.
Ratliff said she believes people enjoy the event because it brings a community together. She said, “Seeing new faces and seeing old faces that you don’t always see. It’s a great way for the community to all get back together and to support each other.”
As for the turnout, Ratliff confirmed it was the “biggest one ever” with close to 200 people in attendance.
The event featured food, festivities, vendors, raffle prizes, and was followed by Council on Aging’s Annual Meeting.
Before the Council on Aging’s meeting, The Silvertones, from Camden, inspired many seniors to the dance floor. This was a preview to the Silvertones weekly Thursday Night Dance. The band that includes Michael Powers (piano), Danny Witt (Bass), Mike Buckley (Lead Guitar), and Gary “Pete” Peters (Drums), plays every Thursday night at the Grange, located at 501 National Avenue in Eaton. The band plays from 5-8 p.m., with an admission of $3 single and $5 couple. The band plays an evening of classic rock and country music with a large turnout.
According to Ratliff, this was the first year the event had live music. She added, last year approximately 5,045 people total had come to hear the Silvertones.
It was during Senior Day that Thelma Swihart was announced as Outstanding Senior of the Year, due to her contributions to the community, world of education, and her church. The celebratory day also featured several speeches and a presentation from Miami University Gerontology Professor Robert Applebaum.
During the ceremony, Commissioner Chris Day took the stage to read a proclamation on behalf of the Preble County Commissioners proclaiming May 9 as Preble County Senior Citizens Day. He also said, “I would like to say thank you to Shelley [Ratliff] and the staff out here. We are fortunate enough that they ask us to ride along and deliver meals once a year. These folks do this because they have a passion to help people. They get paid very little, they don’t do this for the money. This is a great facility and it’s here for you folks. I’m tickled to death to see this crowd today. When I pulled up and had to be shuttled down from The Grange, that’s a great thing.”
Ratliff gave the crowd an update on the state of Preble County Council on Aging. She said, “Last year we had another successful year, We continue to provide balanced and nutritious meals, transportation, and homemaking and activities for Preble County residents 60 and older in order to help them remain independent. Just to mention some of our statistics for 2016, we delivered a total of 26,040 meals and in addition to our Meals on Wheels, our kitchen prepared 10,000 congregant and diner meals. That’s a lot of food! Thank you.
“Our transportation service consists of 17 vehicles that have been sitting in the rain for days, since we’ve been getting ready for today. We have 14 part-time drivers and those folks provided 15,387 one-way trips and they drove over 245,000 miles in 2016.”
This celebration, in addition to serving as the council’s annual meeting, was meant to celebrate Preble County’s older Americans. It was meant to support then and celebrate their stories. The Council on Aging wanted to inspire them to “Age out Loud” on Senior Day, for Older American’s Month, and every other day of the year.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH