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Florence loses local senior citizen group after leadership steps down

Staff writer

Betty Ireland has given up leadership of the Florence Florentines senior citizens organization after 15 years as president. Secretary-treasurer Rose Vinduska also has stepped down.

“There’s a time to come and a time to go,” Ireland told her fellow seniors at their April 3 meeting. “I have to take care of myself before I take care of you.”

She said no one offered to take her place. As a result, the group will be defunct Friday as a 501(c)(3) organization. The money left in the group’s checking account was distributed among the John McKay American Legion Post 308, Harvey House, and Florence Community Gardens.

The senior citizens had their own Florentine Center in downtown Florence for many years but in recent years began meeting in local restaurants. The center continued to be used to distribute commodities, hold monthly potlucks, and host annual meetings of the Senior Citizens of Marion County board of directors.

Ireland said the group can continue to meet whenever and wherever it chooses.

In her final act as leader, Ireland recognized several senior citizen volunteers Saturday in a special meeting at the American Legion building. She presented each volunteer with a geranium.

Lenora Graham, 94, was the oldest volunteer to be recognized. She served as treasurer of the Florence Florentines for 10 years and was involved in meals-on-wheels. She lives at Marion Assisted Living.

Dale Miller, 89, served as an emergency medical technician, was on the Florence ambulance crew, and delivered meals-on-wheels. He collects cans to raise cash for his church.

Others recognized were Connie Olmstead, Sharri Wilson, Roger and Cheryl Steward, Mary Jane Grimmett, Bud and Rose Vinduska, Linda Heath, Harold and Shirley Grinstead, and Bill and Edna Robinson.

Elsie Jouanne, Hazel Clothier, Lenora Smith, Eileen Hallowell, and Jean Shipman were other members of the group.

The city of Florence joins Ramona, Lehigh, and Goessel in losing their 501(c)(3) senior citizens organizations. Lincolnville, Burns, Tampa, and Durham remain active. Hillsboro, Marion, and Peabody continue to serve as nutrition sites.

Last modified April 29, 2015

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