Spreading the good news

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June 12, 2018
Escanaba Senior Center Director Lydia LaPalm and Les Elder chat after lunch at the Escanaba Senior Center. Elder first started attending center activities a couple years ago, and regularly tells friends about the good meals and fun activities at the center.
Spreading the good news
Les and Diane Elder, Wells Township, have put the practice of passing it on into high gear at the Community Action Agency Escanaba Senior Center.
Les first caught wind of the senior center a couple years ago from neighbors and friends who chatted up the meals and the positive goings-on at the center.
Les Elder
He and his wife checked it out, and liked what they found. “We walked through the door and saw all the senior citizens filling up all the tables. We were amazed. The meals not only got me hooked, but so did the pleasant personalities of all the people there. They are so friendly,” Les said.
Now Les and Diane are spreading the word about the center to their friends.
The Elders moved to Escanaba 20 years ago to return to the Upper Peninsula to be closer to family. Les was born in Marquette, and has worked in banking and finance, mining, ran a trucking company and he and Diane also owned and operated a big farm in Skandia.
Now the senior center is one of the highlights of their week. “We didn’t realize all the benefits we had right here in Escanaba. It’s beautiful,” Les said.
The Elders visit the center 15 to 18 times a month. The meals got them through the door, and it’s the visiting and camaraderie that gets them to show up early and stay a little late.
“The people preparing the food are doing an incredible job. The food is very tasty. You get more than enough to eat, and I’m a big eater,” Les said.
Then, he said, there is the support he’s able to provide to others.
“A lot of people have lost loved ones, and we chat and visit,” he said.
Les is a leader in the Delta County Amateur Radio Society, which is part of the Labor Day Weekend show at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba. He is mingling the radio group and senior center, inviting folks to the radio club’s activities and club members to the center. “We set up lots of stuff at the fairgrounds, and we welcome all senior citizens to the festival on Labor Day weekend,” Les said.
Les is part of the center’s advisory council, which was recently updated on the Aug. 7 millage vote in Delta and Menominee counties in support of CAA Senior Services. In addition to senior centers in the county, the program also offers personal care, home-delivered meals and Adult Day Services in Escanaba.
CAA Senior Services Director Sally Kidd was part of that meeting.
“Without the millage, our services would be severely reduced or even eliminated. We are thankful that voters have approved millage hikes for us three times in the past 30 years, and believe we have earned their trust and support, leading to another 10-year millage approval in August,” Kidd said.
Les is on board. “We’re looking forward to the election. I’m 100 percent in favor of it. It’s a great benefit for senior citizens in Delta County,” he said.