Fort Rucker spouse organization members treat local seniors to party
December 10, 2009
By Jeremy Wise
Christmas decorations adorned the walls and tables in The Landing. Sounds of Christmas music and shouts of "Bingo!" pricked ears. Smiles lit up the room as senior citizens reminisced about older days.
More than 120 senior citizens participated in the Fort Rucker Enlisted Spouses Organization's 33rd annual Dale County Senior Citizens Christmas Party Dec. 2. The event allows "seniors to get out and connect with each other and the community," said ESO member Velma Bastin.
Seniors from Ozark, Daleville, Newton and Midland City nutrition centers enjoyed punch and homemade cakes, which ESO members made and served to the crowd. ESO members also recognized three participants more than 90 years old - Myrtle Woodham, Mary Wingate and Reta Fason.
After snacks, the seniors played bingo, garnering prizes spouses bought with money obtained through fundraisers. As the Wiregrass residents departed The Landing, they received gift bags filled with fruit and household items.
During the activities, Sgt. Robert Chapa of the 98th Army Band performed songs on a keyboard.
While those attending had fun, the event serves a bigger purpose.
The annual Dale County Senior Citizens Christmas Party began 33 years ago when Rose Donahue collected food items for needy senior citizens, a tradition worth continuing today, ESO President Debbie Wilson said.
"A lot of them at Christmas don't have what they need. It's giving back to our senior citizens," she said.
While it gives ESO members an opportunity to serve a cause, seniors said they enjoyed the time away from their homes and the nutrition centers.
"For some of us, this is the only social activity we attend," said Marion Claytor of Ozark, noting seniors rarely have opportunities to socialize with members of other centers.
Shirley Rumney, also from Ozark, added the event provides seniors a chance to have fun playing bingo and listening to the 98th Army Band.
Partygoers said they appreciated the ESO members' effort.
"We don't have the words to express what it means," Claytor said.
"It makes us feel special," said Niria Ammons of the Midland City Senior Citizens Center.