By Lauren Zaepfel
Roughly 350 seniors from across Niagara County took part in the 16th annual Niagara County Senior Walk in the Park Thursday at Veterans Memorial Community Park in the Town of Niagara. The free event offered seniors, 55 and up, a choice of four walking courses, each of them a different distance.
A health resource fair, where representatives from local organizations were on hand to answer questions and provide information, was also available. Lunch, entertainment by Tom Bender Music, a basket raffle and 50/50 raffle were offered, as well.
"The goal is to keep the seniors out in the community, active, well-educated," said Dot Swift, secretary of the event's planning committee. "We want them to get all the information at the health fair so that they can make educated decisions on their health care or any other event that's going on in their life."
Swift, who works for the Counsel for Older Adults at the Health Association of Niagara County Inc., said the event's committee is made up of volunteers from different agencies throughout Niagara County that service the elderly. Members meet once a month to plan the event.
The walk is sponsored by about 50 local entities, including HANCI, Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Elderwood Senior Care and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.
"I just do it because I love the people," Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said after speaking at the event. "I've made a lot of good friends here. I have relatives that are part of this group."
"The big thing is the comradery for the seniors," he added. "A lot of these people are alone. So they love to get together. And it gets them up and moving, which is always good."
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour speaks to the audience of seniors and volunteers at the 16th annual Niagara County Senior Walk.