Approximately 100 senior citizens attended the Department of Social Services’ Older Persons Month 2012 Annual Movie and Luncheon at Friendship Tabernacle Church on October 23. The event was embraced by the theme: “Longevity Shaping the Future.”
First in the line of speakers was Charlamae Fernander, assistant director of Social Services, who gave the welcome address. She said the theme simply illustrated that the future cannot be separated from the past.
“We have many years among us, so we had to have had some value because the Lord put us here, of course, and [we have] something to give to the communities of Abaco and something to give to the world,” she declared. “I believe we are going to have some sort of influence hopefully on what happens in the future because it is one continuous line, and we can’t separate the future from the past.”
Fernander added that it was a worthwhile effort to bring everyone together, and although they had expected 80 people to attend the event, their expectations were certainly exceeded. The seniors in attendance represented communities from Crown Haven to Sandy Point.
During his remarks, Abaco Christian Council President Stephen Knowles was reminded of the old-time hymns that were frequently sung yet we hardly hear them anymore. In a similar fashion, he pointed out that the contributions of the elderly often go unheard as well.
Pastor Knowles suggested that seniors be recognized for their contributions, and given an opportunity to encourage and provide advice to troubled youth. He emphasized that our seniors are truly the jewels of The Bahamas.
Next, Bishop Lernis Cornish, one of the advisory committee members for Social Services, led in songs of praise and a prayer over the gathering. He said that it is always good to work together in our communities, and that we ought to be thankful to Social Services for the work that its employees do.
Meanwhile, Pastor Silbert Mills of Friendship Tabernacle greeted the seniors as well before they watched the movie – “Though None Go With Me.” The movie depicted the life of a young woman who decided to devote her life to God, but along the way she loses the people closest to her. Although her faith is pushed to the limit on many occasions, she remains steadfast by helping others. Toward the end of her life, she is able to enjoy the fruits of her labour.
During the luncheon, Estelle Pinder, an advisory committee member from Sandy Point, spoke about her enjoyment of the event. She encouraged the audience members to continue talking to their offspring and to lead them on the right path. Across the room from her, Viola Johnson provided gospel rake n’ scrape entertainment with a grater and knife.
Ninety-five year old Rebekah Russell from Cedar Harbour was the oldest person, and she received a prize. Interestingly, she was born in Cuba to Bahamian parents, but spent most of her life growing up in The Bahamas.
Fernander thanked all corporate sponsors namely the Friendship Tabernacle Church, Rotary Club of Abaco, and Chad Sawyer.
Valerie Dean, director of Rotary’s community service, and Dwayne Wallas, Rotary president, were pleased to see the camaraderie of the seniors at the luncheon. Wallas said that since the formation of the Rotary Club on Abaco they have been involved with these types of luncheons; however, this year’s luncheon has been their biggest so far.
“I try to reach as many people as I can, and you know my motto – ‘alone I can reach two; in Rotary I can reach 200,’” Dean said.
Both Wallas and Dean used the opportunity to invite people to join them as Rotarians.
“We are looking for people who are interested and who have the same interest at heart in serving their community. Service above self –that’s our motto,” Dean assured. “We need people who are willing to come out and work to make a difference in people’s lives. That is what we want to do in our community – make a difference.”