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Company celebrates 75 years by giving back to community

March 25, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Employees celebrated a pest control company's 75th anniversary Monday by delivering and serving food to senior citizens, talking to them and unsuccessfully attempting to beat them at cards and checkers, among other activities.

For its anniversary this year, Reading, Pa.-based J.C. Ehrlich Co. Inc. encouraged its 39 district offices to give something back to the community instead of holding a gala event.

The Hagerstown office decided to do its community service by sending its 47 employees to volunteer at seven locations served by the Washington County Commission on Aging, Patricia Davis, Hagerstown's Ehrlich district manager, said Monday. Some were also doing work for Food Resources Inc., she said.

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At the Alexander House Senior Site, 10 Ehrlich employees, many wearing company shirts, served food to the residents, talked and exercised with them and played games.

"It is important to take care of the elderly. They are enjoying it and we are enjoying visiting," Davis said.

Jamie Clopper, a company technician, faced off against several seniors in the card game UNO, losing about four games before he won one.

"These are the masters of the game," Clopper said.

Sharon Obitts, 40, said it was fun to have a new opponent with whom to play.

Nearby, company technician Doug White, 42, was becoming a game partner for Jack Eichelberger, 70.

"I got beat in checkers three times," White said.

Next they played the card game "war" but "there is no bloodshed here," White said. Eichelberger said he liked having a new game opponent.

At another table, Eugene Saville, 37, a company salesman, was surrounded by women, some of whom complimented his looks. They joked about getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while one fretted that she left her teeth at home.

"I think they are spoiling us. It is great when other people recognize us and care for us," said Betty Norris, 80.

She told those at the table about the time she injured her head while demonstrating, at age 76, how to play leapfrog. She turned down her tablemates' suggestions that she re-enact the moment.

Saville said he was having a good time visiting with the group.

"I like to find out the women's stories," he said.

Five Ehrlich employees served lunch to 34 Potomac Towers residents, visited with them and cleaned the area, said Greg Demski, a company salesman.

"I think this is great. I would like to see us do this as an annual event, whether it is an anniversary or not," he said.

Fred Otto, executive director for the Commission on Aging, praised the company's effort and said it was good for the seniors and residents with disabilities to meet new people.

"It enlivens the group a bit when they see new faces," he said.

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