By Lindsay Carey
The Southington Apple Valley Chapter AARP #4943 recently celebrated 20 years of charitable service.
More than 65 members turned out along with some local and state officials to celebrate the anniversary at Mary Our Queen Church Hall.
Connecticut State Senator Joe Markley, who is from Southington, came to support the group and unexpectedly got to catch up with a special member of the AARP: his kindergarten teacher.
“The age difference back then used to seem like a lot,” said Markley. “Not so much anymore.”
State Representative Dave Zoni just recently became a member of the AARP and said he’s looking forward to helping the seniors in Southington.
When Zoni spoke at the meeting, he made some big promises that sparked interest among members.
“We’re working on building a world class senior center in Southington,” said Zoni as everyone began to cheer.
State Representative Rob Sampson recognized AARP volunteers Janet Ferracci-Carter and Laura Schiavone for their “tireless efforts” to lobby for the rights of AARP members.
Sampson also presented the Southington Apple Valley AARP with a citation recognizing the chapter for 20 years of service to the community.
Charter member Eleanor Bandecchi said that when she first joined the Southington AARP 20 years ago the meetings were always crowded. According to Bandecchi, at one time the group had almost 600 members, which is significantly higher than the current 184 members.
She said she joined the group, because it was a “do good club” and also that she wanted to get to know people in her age group that were interesting in giving back to the community.
“When you get older you want to be around people your own age,” said Bandecchi. “It gives you something to look forward to every month.
During the meeting, a new slate of officers for the chapter was elected.
Marie Sepiol was officially inducted volunteer president of the group and hopes to make some big changes in the future regarding health and residential care for seniors.
Former president Josephine Theriault stepped down from her position gracefully.
“I feel like I’m turning the chapter over to some people with new ideas,” said Theriault. “I’m happy about the direction we’re going in.”
Donna Wolicki was appointed the vice president of the group. Phyllis Wade, Alecia Magri and Barbara Mayo were installed as the board for the AARP.
Secretary Aline Dynder and treasurer Alecia Magri will continue in their positions.