Latest News and Events - Active Living
Introducing our 2013 Silver Stars - By Drew Piers
Eunice Bragg, 83
Eunice Bragg shines as an example of an involved and active senior. Originally from Whigam, Georgia, she extends her Southern hospitality and compassion to everyone she meets.
After moving to Tallahassee in 1982, she secured a job as a licensed practical nurse at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare (TMH). She worked there for 10 years, but left to take care of her husband. She remains very much involved with TMH and serves on their board for retired employees. Bragg also currently does part-time nursing for Ness and Kelch, a medical practice here in Tallahassee.
She is an active member of Morningside Baptist - her church since moving to Tallahassee. She goes out of her way to take care of senior parishioners and coordinates the Silver Saints - organizing service projects for mission areas and in our community. Big Bend Hospice credits Bragg's efforts for the Silver Saints Ensure drive that she created and continues with persistence and commitment.
"Eunice is one of the hardest working women I know," said Judy Morris, member of Morningside Baptist Church. "She loves her seniors and is always willing to lend a helping hand."
She doesn't just help seniors though, her kindness really does extend to everyone she meets. She even keeps a dollar bill in her car to give out to people in need.
"There is always something you can do," said Bragg. "That's why I help the people I help. I can't imagine people not having someone to care for them. I hope I've made a difference."
Dot Carroll, 86
Originally from Jacksonville, Dot Carroll came to Tallahassee to study accounting at Florida State University. At the time, Florida State was a women's college and the University of Florida was an all men's college. Since UF did not have cheerleaders for their football team, they enlisted the help of a few FSU women to cheer them on –Carroll was one of the selected few. Now that FSU has a football team of its own, she proudly wears garnet and gold to support her Seminoles at games.
After graduation, Carroll went to work at the WTAL radio and TV stations. She stayed five years before moving on to work with the Sergeant of Arms in the Florida Legislature, and then on to consumer affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Since retirement, Carroll's been intertwined with many local charities and organizations. She served as president for both the Junior Women's Club, where she would organize fashion shows to raise money for children, and the TallyHo Club - an organization that introduces new people to the community. In addition, she served as chairman on the board of trustees for her church, St. Paul's United Methodist.
Although Carroll is still actively involved in many local charities, she now devotes much of her time to the Tallahassee Senior Center. "The Senior Center is a place where people can really come together and form strong relationships," said Carroll. "It's the place where your investments of time and money see the greatest returns."
Besides volunteering and raising money for TSC, she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren. One of the things she is most proud of is the fact that all her children and grandchildren completed their higher education.
Myrtle Edwards "M. E." Williams, 86
Myrtle "M. E." Williams is a seventh generation Tallahassee native with a passion for education. After graduating from Lincoln High, she went on to study Home Economics at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College, before it was a university.
From there she taught school in just about every setting one can imagine. After teaching for many years, she continued her education by receiving a master's in Elementary Education. Throughout her career she taught at every level from preschool Head Start programs to university classes.
"It is amazing the progress students make between August and June," comments Williams. "I always have students who recognize me in town, give me a hug and thank me. My students all know me as "M. E.," she says with a chuckle. M. E. has been nominated as an Outstanding Educator in Leon County.
When she isn't teaching health education to young adolescents, you can find Williams volunteering at Dr. B.L. Perry Jr. Library or Bond Elementary as a math and reading tutor. She's active in her sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha) and is a leader of her Sunday school at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church. Williams also shares health tips with seniors at Jake Gaither Community Center.
The avid gardener has made her home a beautiful sanctuary. She loves beauty in all things and finds incredible splendor in her family. When asked what she is most proud of, she proudly says, "all my children chose to pursue higher education." Her children and grandchildren are now lawyers and educators across the country – one even works in the White House.
James Fortner, 93
James Fortner, or "Mr. Jimmy," as many call him, is a man who has dedicated his life to serving others. Born in Live Oak, Florida, he served in the National Guard throughout his youth until he joined the Air Force. There he spent two years before deciding to go back to the National Guard, this time as a Lieutenant.
After his military service, Fortner joined on with the Florida Department of Agriculture as an Assistant Bureau Chief. There, he directed more than 125 employees in the assessment of food quality and quantity. Additionally, he was also contracted by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that businesses were in compliance with all regulations.
When he retired from the state in 1992, Fortner continued making a difference in the lives of others. He lovingly cared for his wife during her illness, and then at age 88, began volunteering at the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Cancer Center. At the TMH Cancer Center, he sits on the Auxiliary Board as a director and chairs the Radiation Therapy Committee assigned to the center. He coordinates the training, placement and scheduling of volunteers who provide caring support to their patients every day. He's a friendly face to all he meets. The staff at the Cancer Center says that Mr. Jimmy is a joy to work with and he inspires seniors to shine at every age.
When asked what his secret to positive aging and longevity is, he responded by saying that, "My relationship with God, family and friends is my secret and I also encourage everyone to get involved with helping people in any way they can."
Mattie Mobley, 99
The charismatic Mattie Mobley comes from a long line of Tallahassee natives. Although she turns 100 next year, she hasn't slowed down one bit. In fact, she is actively looking for more work to do and more people to help.
After graduating from Lincoln High, Mattie Mobley continued her education at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College and studied cosmetology. She opened her own beauty salon and became an independent business owner for more than 30 years. She retired from the salon at age 75. Until very recently she provided home and health care services for mentally and physically challenged individuals.
Mobley started the Pretty Hat Tea organization which raises funds for charitable causes. She serves as president of the Capital City Garden Club and helps direct their mission to "make Tallahassee one of the most beautiful places in the state" by supplying the city with flowers.
Church plays an important role for Mobley. As a member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, she has chaired and served on many boards and organizations within the church.
She's still active in the community, with her most recent endeavor being the organization of the Rev. Charles Kenzie Steele Scholarship and Awards Luncheon. The 99 year-old serves as president of the C. K. Steele Foundation. She's also the recipient of more than 100 awards, including the NAACP's Martin Luther King award, the Capital City Garden Club award and now a Silver Star! When asked what her secret to positive aging is, she said "live quiet, work hard and get to bed early."
Patty Parkhurst, 81
"I like leadership roles," says Patty Parkhurst matter-of-factly. The petite dynamo thrives on customer interaction and satisfaction. She serves on the Tallahassee Senior Advisory council, created the Tallahassee
Senior Center's greeter program, and champions lifelong learning for seniors. She bubbles with enthusiasm, and chatting with her for even just a few minutes brightens any day.
This Minnesota native has a long list of impressive accomplishments, but what people immediately notice most about her is not her accomplishments, but her love for others. In 1955 she fell in love with a Florida boy and ended up moving to Fort Lauderdale. There she began working with the Children's Home Society (CHS), an organization that advocates for adoption, as a volunteer coordinator and took her commitment even further when she adopted a son and daughter through CHS.
In 1975 she moved from Fort Lauderdale to Tallahassee, working in Governor Bob Graham's Office of Policy and Budget. Even though she worked with in the Office of Policy and Budget, Parkhurst said that she was always the people person – not the numbers person.
She's found that everyone has a story it takes her little time to get to the adventurous part of the conversation. Her energy is contagious to those with whom she speaks. She's a testament to positive aging. Volunteering is a career for Parkhurst.
She's volunteered at WFSU radio station as a fundraiser, serves as an officer with the Children's Home Society in Tallahassee, and found her true niche at the Senior Center. "All the years I worked, and all my volunteer experience, it just comes together at the center," said Parkhurst. "This place engages people."
Joannie, 76, and Britt Poulson, 78
When Joannie first met Britt, he was on the green at Allegheny College playing guitar for everyone who would listen. She paid little attention to him but he definitely took notice of her. He later asked her dancing and, after a little convincing, she agreed. Britt graduated from Allegheny College and decided to join the army while
Joannie finished her degree. Joannie went on to teach school in Connecticut. They married when Britt returned.
The Poulsons spent time teaching in Washington D.C. and later moved back to Pennsylvania to rear their three boys. In Pennsylvania, Britt became a principal in Fox Chapel where he stayed for many years. In 1971, the Poulsons moved to Tallahassee so Britt could teach at Florida State University. Joannie stayed active and involved too. She became the executive secretary of the Florida Adult Education Association and helped organize conferences for more than a decade.
In 1990, Joannie was diagnosed with breast cancer and joined the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery program. There, and with Britt always at her side, she found the help and support she needed to overcome. She now uses her story to help others.
Both stay active and involved in a variety of different ways. Joannie volunteers at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare and The couple stays involved at St. Paul's United Methodist; Britt remains very involved in education. He is frequently a judge for local spelling bees, history fairs and science fairs. He also is part of a group that does reenactments of historical figures and often dresses up as the famous John Wesley. Britt is also former president of the Faculty and Friends of FSU, a club that allows people to form friendships and share their experiences together.
"I've always felt strongly that we need to give back because people have always been so generous to us," said Joannie. "We strive to leave this world a better place than we found it."
Silver Stars Awards Gala Event - May 23
The 12th annual Silver Stars Awards Gala event honors extraordinary seniors. This fantastic event is to be held at the FSU University Center Club on May 23 starting at 6:00pm.
Tickets are now on sale at $40 each, $75/couple and $360 for a table of 10. Silver Stars is presented by Tallahassee Senior Services, the Tallahassee Senior Foundation, and Capital Health Plan.
A special thank you to our sponsors:
Capital Health Plan
Milky Way Sponsors
Capital Home Health
Eye Associates of Tallahassee
Big Dipper Sponsors
Audiology Associates of North Florida
Carroll & Co.
Centre Pointe Health & Rehab
HealthSouth Rehab Hospital
Home Instead Senior Care
Little Dipper Sponsors
Allegro Independent & Assisted Living
Broadview Assisted Living
Burke Physical Therapy
Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home
DQP Copy & Print
Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. - FTRI
HarborChase of Tallahassee
Maxim Healthcare Services
NHC Home Care
Palmer Eye Center
Seven Hills Health & Rehab
Tallahassee Memory Care
Westminster Oaks Active Living Community
Sponsorships Still Available - phone Sheila Salyer at 891-4000 for complete information.
Seniors Go for Gold - By Michael Molter
The Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, & Neighborhood Affairs Department recently hosted the 4th annual Capital City Senior Games. The games were held at 13 venues and took place over the course of seven days, starting with a Road Race 5k and ending with an 18-hole golf tournament. This year, the Capital City Senior Games saw a record-high 217 participants whose ages ranged from 50 to 88. Cindy Mead, PRNA games organizer, exclaimed, "I am so excited about the increasing number of athletes registered each year!"
Athletes of all abilities, novice to expert, competed on the same stage. Each game is broken into five-year age divisions with no limit on the number of games in which a senior can compete. This allowed more seniors the opportunity to medal in various events and, as a result, 266 gold medals now adorn our champions' trophy walls and cabinets.
Golf, track & field, bowling and table tennis proved immensely popular events. Forty-five golfers entered this year's completion held at Hilaman Golf Course. Athlete Dennis Culligan, at age 53, shot +3, 75, on the course to register the event's best score. Pickelball also experienced a huge growth in participation over previous games. The game with the funny name, (a cross between tennis and badminton, played with a whiffle ball and a paddle on a lowered net), enjoyed an increase from two participants last year to 21 this year. The pickleball contingent showed up with raving, contagious enthusiasm at the opening ceremony! One of the best rewards of orchestrating the games and making sure everything runs smoothly, according to Mead, "is watching all the athletes enjoy the fun of competition."
Many of the sports contained different event categories. Track and field, for instance, offered the javelin throw and a 400m run, among other events. Athlete Carl Maus, an eight sport athlete, competed in the javelin throw though never seeing a javelin before. When asked why, he responded, "When am I ever going to have a chance to throw a javelin in my life." This attitude was the force that kept the games strong and thriving. Other notable athletes, who competed in more than ten events, included Bob Keller, Terry Presnell, Yvonne Gsteiger, Jocelyn Lowthel, and Barney Myers.
Mead is quick to credit and give accolades to the entire PRNA team that worked so diligently to ensure success of games and now that planning is underway for the 2014 event, Mead says, "I'm hopeful that we will break the 300 mark for our 5th Annual Capital City Senior Games next year."
The City of Tallahassee recognizes the sponsors who made it all possible: Capital Health Plan, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Audiology Associates of North Florida, Friends of Our Parks, the Tallahassee Sports Council, and the Tallahassee Senior Center & Foundation. Also we would like to thank our non-city venues who hosted a sport making the games possible: Beau Turner Facility, Premier Health and Fitness Center, Killearn United Methodist Church, Capital Lanes, and Amos P. Godby High School. Results and further information can be found on the web at www.visittallahassee.com/senior-games.
Upcoming Special Events
5th Annual Patriotic Concert - Celebrate America!
Wednesday, July 3, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Presented by the Tallahassee Community College Bands and benefiting the Tallahassee Senior Center. Refreshments, fun, music and more.
$5 adult ticket, children free
July 22 - 31
The Tallahassee Senior Center will be closed for maintenance. The center will re-open on Thursday, August 1.
Active Living Expo - Experiences for a Lifetime
Thursday, September 12, 5:00 - 8:00pm and Friday, September 13, 9:30am - 12:30pm
- 80 vendors
- Product displays
- Services that can help make your life healthier, relaxed and more thrilling
- $3 for two days
- Sponsors include
National Cremation Society
- Call Kristy Carter at 891-4008 for more information & sponsorships
|2013 Senior Games
|The 2013 Capital City Senior Games attracted a record number of participants who ranged in age from 50 to 88. Determination can be seen, even felt, in photos capturing the competition. Planning is already underway for 2014 games next spring. Get ready!
|John Hall (left) takes aim with other archers at the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center.
||Anna Johnson shares a laugh with Ron Pease, a games winner in basketball. Pease "worked" the welcome reception crowd with some humorous antidotes of his attempts on the court.
||Carl Maus throws the discus.
|Jamiyu Amuwo slams the triple jump.
||Rick Ashton rides like the wind.
||Watch this lady throw! Christine Frier gets ready with the discus.
|The javelin belongs to Charles Williams as he prepares his throw.
||(l to r) Mary Tappen takes gold in the butterfly. Actually, she took home 6 gold medals.
|The Senior Games golf event breaks a record with 45 entrants. Here, Don Vaughn swings and Becky Stark puts.