CAMPBELL HALL—The Orange County Senior Games took off on Sept. 28 with opening ceremonies at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Campbell Hall. About 200 senior citizens gathered for coffee and sweets, the opening ceremony, and to participate in a one-mile walk scheduled later.
With officials on the stage, an honor guard began the event, followed by the national anthem and “God Bless America” sung by local celebrity Sergeant Mary Kay Messenger. Catie Gordon, 9, ended the ceremony with her rendition of “Neverland.”
Vince Poloniak served on the committee for games and said the week-long activities offer some good exercise with something different for everyone and an opportunity to mix with peers. “It’s a good way to meet other seniors in Orange County.”
Betsy and George Hawes have been coming to the annual event for at least ten years. They came this day for the walk “and whatever else catches our eye,” Betsy said. George said they like the walk, the golf event, and the movie.
Commissioner of Parks Rich Rose introduced speakers and gave a warm welcome to the seniors. “We are so happy to have you here in our park and enjoy the day.” Several county officials were on hand to open the games.
County Executive Steven Neuhaus reflected on the fountain of youth for seniors and said he asked several centenarians the secret to a long life. “They all said collectively the same thing: stay active.” He also encouraged everyone to be kind to each other–“Say ‘good morning.’ Look out for each other.”
Orange County Director of the Office of Aging Anne Marie Maglione said the county is the only one in the state that sponsors a week of games for seniors. “We are really committed to exercise.”
State Senator William Larkin is a spry 87-year-old and urged the audience to keep active. “When you are running and someone runs past you today, just say ‘Dear lord, keep me running.'”
Orange County’s Senior Games is the longest running program of its kind in the nation and offers a wide variety of competitions, contests, museum tours, and social activities for men and women, ages 55 and older.
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