Local seniors celebrated at appreciation day
LANETT — Lanett seniors were celebrated with gifts, songs and a hot dog lunch Saturday afternoon in the senior center cafeteria for the second annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day. Each senior present received a gift bag and each senior center member received a box fan to help keep them cool in the hot summer months that lie ahead.
“We are so glad to see all of you here,” Site Manager Tammy Hollis told the large gathering inside the cafeteria. “I see a lot of new faces along with the members we see every day. We’d like to have you join us and visit with us every Monday through Friday.”
“It is good to see new faces along with the familiar ones,” said Mayor Kyle McCoy. “We’d love for you to join. We have an excellent program, and it’s free to participate.”
The mayor recognized council members Tony Malone, Angelia Thomas and Shirley Motley, City Clerk Deborah Gilbert, former Commissioner Rosa Dunn, State Rep. Bob Fincher and Alabama Department of Senior Services Board Member Ray Edwards in the crowd.
“It doesn’t matter to me if the senior citizen is from Valley, Lanett or LaFayette, I love serving them,” Edwards said. “I will be back here during the Christmas season for our annual Christmas stocking presentation.”
Rosa Dunn said that being in the cafeteria was something of a homecoming for her.
“This will always be a special place for me,” she said.
“Lanier High was where I had my first teaching job. God bless you, and keep up the good work at the senior center.”
After lunch, Advisory Council President the Rev. Floyd Aiken introduced guest speaker Bob Fincher.
Fincher said it was the old-school teacher in him that made him feel like there should be a chalkboard behind him every time he stood in front of a group.
“I have enjoyed myself a lot being here and talking with you today,” he said. “I feel very much at home being around my fellow seniors. I’m one of you. In a few months, I will be 70.”
Noting the presence of some people in their 90s, Fincher said it was an honor to be in a gathering of members of the greatest generation.
“You can remember World War II,” he said. “We have freedom today because of what that generation did. We owe those veterans a lot.”
In a whimsical moment, Fincher asked the seniors what are some advantages of getting old.
“Getting discounts at the grocery store,” one of them said. Fincher smiled and nodded, adding “We can say anything we want to, too, can’t we?”
“Seniors don’t walk around on eggshells afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings,” he said.
Having gone through more than one campaign for office, Fincher said he’s learned some lessons about human nature.
“If someone tells you they are going to vote for you, that may or may not be true,” he said. “But, if they tell you they are not going to vote for you, they won’t.”
“Thank you for inviting me to speak today,” he added.
“I’m enjoying aging. It gives you the opportunity to appreciate things. The Good Lord has blessed me, and I appreciate being able to serve you in the Alabama House of Representatives.”
Fincher was asked about a state lottery and what he saw as some important issues to be taken on by the legislature.
“I think Alabama will eventually see a lottery,” he said. “Here on the state line everyone goes to Georgia to play, and we are helping educate Georgia kids. Alabama kids need help too. There are lots of ways lottery money can be spent.”
Fincher also said the state is going to have to do something about prisons.
“They are old and dilapidated,” Fincher said of the current state prisons. “It’s very difficult right now to hire prison guards. It’s a very hard, dangerous job.”
The program concluded with the awarding of the door prizes and the seniors picking up their gift bags and box fans.
Lanett businesses such as Kroger, CVS, Piggly Wiggly and Family Dollar donated gift cards to be used as door prizes.