Growing old doesn’t mean becoming obsolete for seniors who keep giving back – BG Independent News (2023)

Growing old doesn’t mean becoming obsolete for seniors who keep giving back – BG Independent News (1)Seniors gather around Wooster Green gazebo to celebrate Older Americans Month with a concert.


BG Independent News

Aging is natural … aging well takes a lot of effort.

Jenny Triggs knows this better than most. The 78-year-old teaches three exercise classes a week at the Wood County Senior Center in Bowling Green. Most of the classes are sold out – which means Triggs is doing her job of convincing fellow seniors to spend time on fitness.

“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,” Triggs said.

“It’s important for seniors to keep fit,” she said, citing the American Sports Association goal of exercising three times a week. Her fitness classes accommodate different skill levels, with participants being able to stand or sit for the workout.

When Triggs first moved to Bowling Green, the senior center fitness classes were led by another instructor. When that instructor had to leave, Triggs offered her skills.

“I said, I guess I’ll take over till they find somebody.” That was two years ago.

“They didn’t work very hard to find someone, especially since I work for free,” Triggs said with a smile.

Growing old doesn’t mean becoming obsolete for seniors who keep giving back – BG Independent News (2)

Triggs was one of eight seniors honored Monday for their volunteer efforts at the senior centers in their communities, all under the umbrella of the Wood County Committee on Aging.

Joining her was Michael Wagner, 82,of Rossford, who said he volunteers by serving food and then tidying up when mealtime is over. He credits all his volunteer work – at the senior center, with Boy Scouts, at church, and in an arboretum – with keeping him young.

Monday’s event was a celebration of Older Americans Month, and highlighted an older adult from each of the senior centers in the county for showcasing the positive aspects of aging. Following is a list of all the people recognized:

  • Dorothy Cline, 88, Wayne Area Senior Center
  • Randy Box, 73, Grand Rapids Area Senior Center
  • Barbara Brauer, 81, Pemberville Area Senior Center
  • Jeanne Ricard, 84, North Baltimore Area Senior Center
  • Carol LaBounty, 86, Perrysburg Area Senior Center
  • Jenny Triggs, 78, Wood County Senior Center
  • Mike Wagner, 82, Rossford Area Senior Center

Community awards were given to Arista Home Health, Tammy Starr PT, and Duane Shively.

Growing old doesn’t mean becoming obsolete for seniors who keep giving back – BG Independent News (3)

The purpose of the celebration is to pay tribute to older adults who contribute to their communities.

“You can age very successfully by being connected with the community,” said Danielle Brogley, director of programs at the Wood County Committee on Aging.

For the first time, the Older Americans Month was celebrated locally with a gathering around the gazebo at Wooster Green, with music performed by the band, Bliss.

“With all their trials and tribulations, they are still coming out,” Brogley said, looking at the seniors circling the gazebo.

And the senior centers throughout the county are better because of their contributions.

“They are giving back. They have this purpose. The centers become their own when they volunteer there,” Brogley said.

Following are detailed descriptions of why individuals were selected for recognition.

Duane Shively, 80, has been a volunteer for the Wood County Committee on Aging for close to 10 years. Shively started volunteering back in the fall of 2014 with the Guiding Pathways program. There he helps with the activities for those who attend the program with dementia. He has been an active member of his church St. Paul’s Lutheran in McClure. He serves as the current president of the church console, has served as an usher, and helps with the spaghetti suppers at his church. Shively is the vice chairman for the Genacross Family and Youth. He has been active with Genacross from 1996-2006 2009-current. There he helps with getting children involved in programs in surrounding communities.

Jenny Triggs, 78, has not only contributed to the Bowling Green community in the short time she’s lived here, but also all the different communities she has lived in throughout her life. Born in Chessington Surry, England, she came to America 36 years ago, finding a home in New Hampshire. While in New Hampshire she joined the Salem Athletic Club. Though only 40, the management there saw her as a “mature woman” and asked her to start a senior program there called “Young at Heart.” She was not able to get paid since she did not have a work visa at the time, so she was happy to volunteer her time to get it established. Two years later she was able to get her green card so she could officially implement the class. This program has nationally received the “Silver Eagle Recognition” by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She moved from New Hampshire to Arizona, to be in warmer weather. Then, five years ago moved to Bowling Green, to be closer to her son. She started coming to the Bowling Green senior center because she wanted to make friends and be active. She started taking the Get Moving Classic class and was a regular. Soon the class did not have an instructor, so Triggs decided she would step in temporarily to teach it. Now she is still teaching it three days a week. As an instructor, she works hard to foster relationships with those in the class so everyone feels comfortable.

Tammy Starr has been offering movement programming at the Wood County Senior Center since 2015. Her classes have included Dance Active, Dynamic Balance, Dancing with Parkinson’s, Tai Chi for Better Balance, and Delay the Disease which is designed for those living with Parkinson’s disease. As a licensed Physical Therapist, she has been giving back to the Wood County Committee on Aging (WCCOA) community for over 13 years. Starr has a passion for supporting and encouraging movement through music, dance and exercise. She was the inspiration behind WCCOA’s partnership with the Montessori School of Bowling Green to create a program for those diagnosed with cognition loss. The “Finding Your P.L.A.C.E” project started in 2016 and ran up until the pandemic started. The project was designed to use Montessori techniques with community members diagnosed with dementia to promote active learning and fine and gross motor skills. This collaborative project also involved students from the Bowling Green State University gerontology program and students from the Montessori school. This cross generational project had a great impact on the lives of participants with dementia and enabled the caregivers to connect and form close relationships that continue today. Starr shares dance and yoga with the community whenever she is available. She taught free yoga at Firefly nights and other outdoor events. She creates choreography with the BGSU dance students every fall as well.

Arista Home Care Solutions has been a supporter of the Perrysburg Guiding Pathways program since 2019. Arista is family owned and operated by Paula and Clayton Birney. They are an in-home healthcare and personal care agency that provides services to the community to help people remain comfortably in their homes.

Jeanne Ricard, 84, and her husband Tom have been very active in the North Baltimore community for all of their adult life. Jeanne retired as a school cook and worked for WCCOA, for a number of years, as an intermittent employee. During that time Jeanne could be counted on to always report to work when needed with a positive attitude and a helping hand wherever needed. During this time Tom was delivering meals for WCCOA as a volunteer out of the NB Site and then once Jeanne “retired” as an intermittent they both took on the NB volunteer meal route, once a week. Jeanne continues to visit with a number of older adults throughout the community to help them with chores and errands they may not be able to do on their own.

Barbara Brauer, 81, steps up to volunteer in the senior center any way she can help. She serves lunch every day, as well as any other small jobs that she notices need tending to. She is always available to help out fellow seniors at the center. She gives rides to many participants. Without her rides, some of them wouldn’t be able to attend the center every day. She takes meals to participants on days that they cannot attend the center. Brauer helps out in the community, volunteering in a local shop in Pemberville. She participates in many social groups; ranging from “widowed wives club” to card groups at the homes of friends who can no longer leave their homes easily. Barbara makes an effort to include everyone in her life and impart kindness to those around her.

Carol LaBounty, 86, volunteers at the Perrysburg Senior Center everyday, and is the Vice President of the Toledo Szeged Committee Sister Cities International. She has been involved with this committee for 21 years. The committee raises funds for Hungarian children in low income families. They host 3 fundraising events per year at the Hungarian Club. The funds raised buy holiday gifts for 100 children and also provides necessary education supplies for after school programs. Through the sister city committee, she also partners with the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership to host business professionals from overseas. She opens her home to these individuals to provide room and board while they are here learning about U.S. business and health practices.

Randy Box, 73, is an active member of the Grand Rapids Senior Center, Rotary Club, and toy train community.

Mike Wagner, 82, and his wife have been part of the Rossford senior center for almost 10 years. Whether serving lunch, cleaning up, or putting things away, he is always willing to do what he can to help, and with a smile. He has been a member of Rosary Cathedral since 1941 where he served as usher for 45 years, head usher for 14 years, coached baseball, built stage scenery for plays, and still serves as a part time usher today. Wagner has also been involved with the Boy Scouts for 50 plus years as serving as Assistant Scout Master, Scout Leader, participating in food drives, placing flags at cemeteries, helping many scouts with Eagle Scout Projects, and has received numerous awards, including the St. George award, The Bronze Pelican award, and recently the Glenda M. Bowman Lifetime Inspirational Leadership Award. Wagner’s other community service involves the Old West End Festival, the Agnes Reynolds Jackson Arboretum, and the Belmont Country Club lawn maintenance for 15 years.

Posted by: Jan Larson McLaughlin on May 22, 2023.


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