The greatest generation – keepers of tradition and history. With their collective experiences and wisdom, they are a treasure.
On January 10th, Paul’s Run celebrated 22 residents who have reached the age of 100 and beyond, a contingent who most represent that generation. Their spirit, passion and energy is an inspiration.
When I realized that 5% of our residents here at Paul’s Run were 100 or older, I knew we had to celebrate them,” explains Molly Bybee, Director of Community Life.
The day started with visits to the salon for many. Residents were given special treatment. They came for haircuts or to have their hair styled for the evening. Several had their nails done, too.
The auditorium was transformed into a magnificent dining room. Tables adorned with tablecloths and gorgeous, floral centerpieces provided class and elegance. Balloons gave the room a festive atmosphere.
Mayor Kenney Pays Tribute to Honor Residents
As residents arrived, they were pinned with a corsage, an indication that this was no ordinary celebration. Greeting them was a special guest, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
Mayor Kenney personally spoke with each resident, going from table to table. He inquired about where they grew up and their neighborhoods. They talked sports, history, and a host of other topics.
When he addressed the audience, he recognized their generation’s sacrifices as well as their contributions to the world. He congratulated them on reaching the age of 100, stating that he would be distributing a special tribute for their accomplishment.
The tribute, he explained, is the third highest honor given by the mayor’s office. It was his great privilege to bestow it upon each and every one of them.
The Mayor also commended Paul’s Run. He exclaimed that he was impressed from the moment he walked through the doors with the warmth, beauty, and friendliness of the community, and the compassion of the staff.
Residents Share Their Secrets to Reaching 100
Luanne Fisher, President and CEO of Liberty Lutheran, congratulated all for living a century. “I am honored to be here among you,” she stated. “Not many of us will be so lucky as to reach 100. So, I want to ask you, what’s your secret?”
Those in attendance didn’t hesitate to reply. While many cited eating right and exercising, several gave other answers like keeping active and having joy in your life. Of course, there was also humor in their answers.
“Eat ice cream,” shouted one. “Wake up every morning,” another quipped. “Aggravation,” cried another. Perhaps the most endearing came from the couple in the room that’s been married the longest, Mr. and Mrs. Waldowski.
“Love,” shared Mr. Waldowski. “Never go to bed angry and always kiss your wife goodnight.”
A Royal Feast and a Walk Down Memory Lane
Dinner started with shrimp cocktail. As they began eating, Molly offered a champagne toast to celebrate. Michelle Wildsmith, Chaplain, read a special prayer she wrote specifically for them.
The chef had prepared a special dinner that included baked salmon and beef tenderloin with sides of asparagus, roasted and mashed potatoes and baby carrots. For dessert, residents were treated to a Paul’s Run favorite, cheesecake.
Prior to the event, Molly had requested old photos from residents and family members. With those photos, she arranged a slideshow that was shown on the big screen throughout dinner, providing a glimpse of their rich lives.
Pictures included childhood photos, yearbook pictures, those who served in uniform, and lots of family photos with children and grandchildren. As the slides rotated through, tables were abuzz with conversations about their collective pasts.
Two men discovered that they both attended Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, graduating one year apart. They never knew each other prior to moving to Paul’s Run, so it was a treat to discover their common history.
Congratulations to all our centenarians! Thank you for sharing a part of yourselves with us. You continue to inspire us daily.
Brief coverage on 6ABC 5pm News Cast on January 10, 2023 at time marker 34:52.
Special thanks to Molly, who had the vision for this celebration. It takes a village to pull off an amazing event like this.
Kudos to the entire team who planned and executed the perfect evening: coordinating logistics, preparing and serving the food, decorating the auditorium, helping residents dress for the occasion.
Corsages for residents were sponsored by Bayada Home Health Care.