Celebrating seniors

By Chase Jordan

May 29, 2014

GARLAND — While an upbeat mix of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” came through several speakers, Marie Faircloth smiled as she talked about Older Americans Month.

“I’m just so excited about it,” said Faircloth, director of the Garland Multi-Purpose Senior Citizens Center. “This is great for the seniors.”

Older Americans Month is an annual celebration which occurs in May. Its purpose is to honor older community members and the contributions they’ve made to society.

For 2014, the theme was “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.”

The center usually has an event similar to a health fair, but Thursday was a little different and included more fun activities. Some of the attractions included carnival games and live music.

During the celebration, Faircloth was not shy about showing off some of her own dance moves, with others joining in too.

William Smith of Turkey was one of the many seniors who enjoyed the event.

“It’s a lot of fellowship and being with friends,” Smith said. “You get to be with people that you don’t see. It’s a blessing what they’re doing here in Sampson County and Garland.”

Mayor Winifred Murphy read a proclamation, which turned the occasion into Older Americans Day.

“This is a wonderful celebration of older Americans and the town of Garland is very supportive,” Murphy said. “We try to do everything we can to promote the activities that are provided.”

Murphy thanked the many volunteers who made the event a success.

Richard Carr, superintendent for Sampson County Parks and Recreation, managed a few games.

“It’s an honor to be able to support seniors at the Older Americans event,” Carr said. “I’m just excited to be here.”

Seniors from several nutrition sites in Sampson County attend the event. Gilbert Owens, site manager for the Roseboro location, said they enjoyed attending the event.

“This has always been an event that all of our senior citizens, throughout the whole county, look forward to,” Owens said. “Marie and her staff do a good job putting this together. This is an enormous undertaking. It takes a lot to plan something like this.”

Along with the activities, attendees also had the opportunity to learn about support programs. Some of them included the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Social Security Administration.

Rhonda Rich, HomeCare & Hospice Liaison, provided entertainment and wore a clown costume.

“I love bringing smiles to the faces of our seniors in Sampson County,” Rich said.