By Sherrie Norris
There is never a boring day at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center in Boone, but rarely is there one any more exciting than Valentine’s Day.
This year’s celebration of love was no exception, as the center’s regular clients, staff, interns and visitors came together to celebrate the festive occasion on Thursday.
A two-hour mid-morning party, complete with refreshments, games, music, dancing, an auction and a lot of fun was enjoyed by all, with the highlight of the event , as usual, surrounding the announcement of the king and queen.
Katherine Danner, a retired school teacher and widow of a military veteran, was crowned the 2019 Valentine Queen by the center’s Director, Billie Lister. Danner, a lovely, youthful mother and grandmother, serves as a member of the senior center advisory board. She has been a regular participant since 2009 and was chosen by her peers for the coveted title and crown, which were accompanied by flowers and other gifts.
This year’s king, Clyde Muirhead — much to the disappointment of the crowd — was unable to attend the festivities on Thursday due to illness. Conley Wilcox, 2018 Valentine King, accepted the honor on Muirhead’s behalf.
As the male raking in the most votes among the center’s participants, Muirhead, a retired airplane pilot, is described as a devoted father from Boston who relocated to the area to be near his children. “He’s a very intelligent and quiet gentleman, a good friend who loves to read and has been coming to the center since 2014.”
Explaining how the “royal” selections were made, Lister said each senior center participant was able to cast a vote for his or her favorite contender daily, from mid-January until voting ended at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13.
“We always have good response to these special events and we’re thrilled to be able to provide recognition to two special people every year,” said Lister. “We have a really good time here at the senior center and invite others to join us Monday-Friday for lunch and socialization. We stay busy here, weather permitting, and love doing things on site, as well as taking trips out of town.”
Lister, who took over as director two years ago, added “It is the best place ever to work — it’s a perfect fit. We really have fun here and enjoy being together every week day.”
Lister would like to thank the community for its support in helping to make the events so special. “We have been able to share some very nice items that have been donated by local businesses,” she said. “We also have a great relationship with Appalachian State University and are grateful for our interns who work with us and bring a lot of youthful energy to our program.”
Anyone age 60 and above is invited to visit the center and participate in the scheduled activities.
Upcoming Events at/or related to The Lois E. Harrill Senior Center include:
- Free Health Talk: The Lois E. Harrill Senior Center and the Watauga County Project on Aging would like to invite all community members to attend a free training workshop on PTSD and medication management. The workshop does not require registration (professionals can request credit hours for free) but all community members are invited. The workshop will be Tuesday February 19, 10 a.m. to noon.
- Free Tax Assistance: Please call the Watauga County Project on Aging, The Western Watauga Community Center, or the Watauga County Public Library for information on free tax assistance or to register.
- Free Presentation: All community members are invited to the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center to learn about how to prevent Medicare fraud and scams. The presentation will be Tuesday February 26 at 11 a.m.
- Grief Support Group: A new grief support group has started at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center. All community members dealing with grief are invited to attend. The group will meet at the senior center every second and last Tuesday of the month at 3 p.m. For more information contact the bereavement coordinator at 828-265-3926.
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Support Group: The Lois E. Harrill Senior Center is proud to announce a new caregiver support group. All community caregivers are invited to attend. The support group will be held initially on March 12 at 6:30 p.m., after which the support group will be held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
- Pie Baking Competition: The Lois E. Harrill Senior Center is happy to announce the Second Annual Pie Baking Competition on March 14, 10 a.m. All seniors age 60 or older are invited to participate. You must pre-register by March 11. Prizes are awarded to the top three bakers. There is no charge to register or attend.
- Senior’s Scrabble Competition: All community members 60 or older are invited to come participate in the First Annual Scrabble Competition at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center on April 3, beginning at 10 a.m.
- Free Poetry Competition: Calling all poets age 60 or older. The Lois E. Harrill Center is proud to announce its annual poetry competition is open all seniors in our community. All poems must be registered and submitted by 11 a.m. on April 5. Winners will be announced at a brief ceremony at the senior center on April 26 at 10:30 a.m.
- Free Community Expo: The Adult Service Coalition invites all community members to come by and visit the Adult Service Expo at the Boone Mall on Friday May 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Agencies from across the county will be there to share with the community the various programs and services offered for adults in this community. Please join us to learn more about these services, pick up valuable resource information, free giveaways, and to honor award winners for the community’s people of the year which will be announced at noon during the event.
The Lois E. Harrill Senior Center is located at the Watauga County Project on Aging, 132 Poplar Grove Connector, Suite A in Boone.
For more information or to register for any of the aforementioned programs or events, contact Billie Lister at 828-265-8090 ext. 895 or email [email protected].