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Kicking the 90s: Active seniors prove age just a number (I of II)

by jmaloni

Wheatfield volunteer celebrates 90th birthday

Thu, Dec 2nd 2010 03:00 pm
From left are Flora Stone, Stephen Ash (her delivery partner) and Joy Welch (coordinator of NT Meals on Wheels).
From left are Flora Stone, Stephen Ash (her delivery partner) and Joy Welch (coordinator of NT Meals on Wheels).
There was a lot of love at Pane's Restaurant in North Tonawanda recently when two-dozen volunteers and staff from North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels gathered for a surprise birthday party for Flora Stone.

This was no ordinary birthday. Stone, a delivery volunteer for NT Meals on Wheels, was turning 90 years old. The volunteers who also work on Mondays came to celebrate Stone's birthday.

Stone, a Wheatfield resident, has been a delivery volunteer at NT Meals on Wheels since 2005. There are not many volunteers these days who begin volunteering when they are 85 years old. Stone did just that.

Joy Welch, coordinator of NT Meals on Wheels says, "Five years later, Flora continues to arrive here each Monday morning to deliver meals to clients who are, in many cases, younger than she is. As a pastime, she loves to play cards with a group of friends.  She is one of the sweetest, kindest persons I know."

Stone and Stephen Ash have been "delivery partners" on Route 8 in North Tonawanda since May 2005. Their delivery route is in the area around the Spruce School.

Stone laughingly indicated that after working with Ash for six months, he admitted, "When I first met you, I wondered how I would be able to work with this old lady. We'll never get the route done!"

Welch continued, "They are a speedy duo, usually one of the first groups to return after delivering meals."

To honor his partner, Ash and his wife, Eleanor, planned a surprise birthday party at Pane's Restaurant for the day prior to Stone's birthday. Stone was met with the gusty singing of "Happy Birthday" by fellow "Monday volunteers" as well as the staff of North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels.

Stone received many cards, gifts and a beautiful birthday cake.

Ash commented about his delivery partner, "She's cut from a swatch of different cloth; one of a kind. Flo is just a special lady.  Although my time with her on Mondays is fairly short, I wouldn't trade that time spent with her. I find one of her many endearing qualities is her honesty, coupled with her actions as a caring Christian individual who has a big heart for helping others. The world would simply be a much better place if it had more Flo's." When asked her secret of longevity, Stone replied, "Eat healthy foods and cook your own meals."

"Flora is aware of her aging and her gradual loss of hearing, but is willing to continue volunteering as long as she is able. She is one of those indomitable persons who never seems to give in to circumstances whatever they may be," said Welch.

To volunteer for NT Meals on Wheels, phone 693-1663.

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