Birthdays are always a special day whether you are a child or an adult, and the St. Johns County Council on Aging did its part to honor residents who have had celebrated many birthdays over the years with their annual Centenarian Luncheon at THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center May 18.
There were two centenarians in attendance as Josephine Trinca was recognized for being 101 years old, while Josephine Steiner was 100 years old. They both received a rose and a plaque remembering the ceremony.
“Keep active and have a daughter that drives you nuts,” Trinca chuckled as she gave her secret to a long life.
For Steiner, her 100 years went by so fast, which must have meant she was having a good time throughout it all.
“I can’t believe how fast it went, but it’s still going and I’m thankful for that,” Steiner said.
Nineteen others 90 years of age or older were also honored and presented with a rose as part of the event.
Of those in their 90s, many had secrets to a happy life that they had discovered over the years, such as 95-year-old Vera Combs, who stressed the importance of taking things one day at a time and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.
“The most important thing is to stay joyful in the Lord and be careful how much you eat and drink because you could lose your balance on the dance floor,” Susan Kuntz, 95, said.
The event was held in loving memory of Don Blackburn who passed away February 4.
According to master of ceremonies Bruce Barber, Blackburn played an instrumental role in helping THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center get its start 16 years ago.
A portrait of Blackburn and his wife LaVonne hangs on the wall at the entrance of the center.
“Don positivity did not want a funeral, instead he said, ‘why don’t we just get together and have a lunch at the senior center,’ so this is Don’s opportunity to say thank you to all of you,” Barber said to those in attendance.
Together, Barber and Blackburn went around and spoke to several senior citizens in the area and got ideas about what they were most in need of and then they went to the St. Johns County Commissioners at the time to try and get something approved that filled the void.
The result was eventual additional community support from local businesses such as the PGA Tour, and approval and construction of THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center.
“We needed a place where we could all get together and congregate for days just like this,” Barber said.
Members of Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary were on hand volunteering during the event by helping serve lunch and give roses to those being honored.
Barber closed the lunch with his signature phrase of “see you next year,” to the crowd to close the ceremony.
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