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Expo at HCC celebrates generations

Event replaces former Senior Fair

Event replaces former Senior Fair

May 14, 2006|by MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN

Scott Thompson considers himself a free spirit - a self-proclaimed "nomad with white hair" who loves the open road.

At the age of 60, he still enjoys fast cars and motorcycles, and refers to his '70s Corvette as "his baby."

So it was no surprise that Thompson could be found Saturday afternoon at a classic car show, checking out a 1958 Ford Ranchero.

"It's a beauty," he said, rubbing his hand across the chrome fender.

The car show was just one of several stops Thompson intended to make Saturday during his visit to the Celebrating the Generations Expo at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

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The daylong event was sponsored by the Washington County Commission on Aging. The event replaces the annual Senior Fair, said Susan MacDonald, executive director of the agency.

"We decided on a new approach in an effort to meet the needs of older citizens, as well as their families and caregivers who might not necessarily be in their 60s," MacDonald said.

The expo is held each year during May, which is Older Americans Month. The theme of this year's celebration is "Choices for Independence, "so a lot of what you see at the expo are areas that people can explore to maintain their independence," MacDonald said.

Visitors to the event could receive free health screenings from Washington County Hospital, talk with representatives of social service agencies and learn more about assisted-living facilities.

"It's always important to be looking ahead," MacDonald said. "Whether it's modifying your home, legal issues or health issues, we hope people found the information they needed today."

The Commission on Aging also held a walk-in enrollment session during the expo for people interested in signing up for the Medicare Part D program, designed to save seniors money on prescription drugs.

With a Monday deadline, MacDonald said many people might have put off enrolling because of questions about the plan.

"This is an opportunity for them to get the answers they need," she said.

Three generations of the same family were among the visitors who browsed the many booths set up for the expo. Jackie Woodcock, 50, of Boonsboro, was accompanied by her daughter, Katie Wilkening of Williamsport, Pa., and her grandson, Alek, 1.

"My sister works with the Commission on Aging, so we decided to come out and see all the different things that were being offered today," Woodcock said.

Wilkening said she was in town for the weekend and thought "this was a nice way for the family to spend quality time together."

Both said they were impressed with how much information was available.

Outside the center, there were games for children, food vendors and the car show, presented by the Classic Car Group for Children.

According to club member Bonnie Hemler of Falling Waters, W.Va., the group typically participates in events such as Saturday's expo.

All money raised during their shows goes to Dream Come True, she said.

The event also featured entertainment, craft vendors and door prizes.

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