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Clear Spring club helps senior citizens keep in touch

August 13, 2002|BY Liz Boch

lizb@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - A Clear Spring resident since her grammar school days, Betty Renner said getting older is "for the birds," but at age 69, she stays active through the Clear Spring Senior Citizens Club.

Renner said the club serves two purposes: It keeps senior citizens active in the community and creates a circle of friends.

"It gets everybody together to help everybody out," said Renner, who is club president. "We share joys as well as hardships."

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Founded in 1968, the club has about 50 members older than 55. About 19 members regularly attend meetings at the Clear Spring Community Building behind the American Legion on the first Monday of the month.

Renner said the group holds a pig roast in March, a picnic in August and a Christmas party to keep in touch with each other.

Harriet Ankeney, who has been a member for five years, said the club may seem inconsequential to some, but it is vital to retired seniors.

"Once you retire, you're not in daily contact with people outside of family and next door neighbors," she said. "This club is a way to get together with people and stay active in town."

Renner said she feels connected to her peers through their group activities.

"We take care of our own," she said. "We carry out memorial donations for deceased members when they pass away, we visit members who can't make the meetings because of health reasons, we give gift baskets to needy families. Unfortunately, we always have enough families to choose from."

The club is one of 18 senior citizen organizations in Washington County. Renner said she works closely with the Commission on Aging to ensure the club offers opinions on government issues.

Renner said there are plans to build a senior living complex in Clear Spring in about 10 years so residents will not be forced to leave their hometown for care when they grow older.

"I don't want to leave this area," she said. "We're getting to the age where we think about this. I was in the Clear Spring school system and now my grandchildren are. It's generational."

In June, the club held a chicken barbecue and bake sale at the American Legion and raised $300 for the Clear Spring school system. The club also donated money to the Leonard P. Snyder Library and took a tour of the facility.

Ankeney said the club is planning another fund-raiser for October.

"We're going to have a soup and sandwich sale," she said. "Betty (Renner) is motivating us. She wants to keep people active."

Renner, who became president six months after joining the group, said she is trying to increase the town's awareness of the club and the members' participation through fund-raising.

"These are people I grew up with and their kids grew up with mine," she said. "We're not nonfunctioning citizens. We still have a lot to contribute. It's a close, networked community that is there for each other."

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