Three residents of the Bill Nichols Veterans Home competed in the Alabama Nursing Home Association’s Senior State Games Friday in Birmingham.
This is the first time nursing home residents have been able to participate in the Senior State Games, designed for ages 50 and older to stay active and healthy. The nursing home residents competed in checkers, dominos and bocce ball.
“It’s a good way for seniors to be able to practice using their muscles and hand eye coordination,” said John Matson, director of communications for ANHA.
Charlie Boswell, Calvin Hall and Roger Thornton from Bill Nichols each earned an award competing in the games. Special medals were minted for seniors competing in the Senior State Games this year.
Boswell and Thornton competed in checkers for their age groups, winning gold medals for their outstanding skill. Boswell also went on to compete against all participants in the checkers group, and won a gold medal in the overall group.
Hall competed in the 60 and up age group for competitive dominos, and brought home the silver medal in his age group.
The ANHA Senior State Games is a partnership with the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) and the Alabama Sports Festival (ASF) Foundation. The games coincide with the ASF Foundation’s 32nd annual Alabama State Games. The Alabama Nursing Home Association is a title sponsor for the senior games as they kicked off their first year.
There are a total of 13 competitions for the Senior State Games including swimming, table tennis and shooting sports.
“Hopefully next year we’ll have more nursing home residents and senior citizens competing in all the categories,” Matson said. “We think this is a great opportunity for our nursing home residents to be able to showcase their competitive spirit and to show that nursing home residents are still a viable part in their community.”
On May 26 I was privi leged to attend the “Raising of the Flag” ceremony at Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veteran’s Home in Pell City. What a way to begin Memorial Day. Standing in the morning light surrounded by vet erans, I now more fully appreciate the meaning of Memorial Day. Much like Christmas, it is easy for us to become focused on the activities and traditions; not the real reason for the holiday.
Before 5:30 a.m., veter ans, dignitaries, a few fam ily members and the staff of the home started lining the walkways in front of the building. They were there because they wanted to participate. It was not a requirement.
The ceremony was sim ple and brief: the playing of TAPS; the presentation and raising of the United States flag to half staff; fol lowed by the presentation and raising of the flag of Alabama to half staff.
Veterans made their way or their wheelchairs were pushed back into the build ing. A procession of true American heroes. Many carry memories of fallen comrades and the ravages of war.
Inside the main sit ting area had been deco rated. Veterans were seat ed around tables and the Home staff served break fast. Every employee was busy serving plates, refilling drinks, making sure every one had what was needed. Some were even assisting veterans with eating.