The Phelps County Senior Companions celebrated over forty years of success with a hoedown-styled luncheon on Tuesday, June 13. New companions were honored alongside those who have been with the program for more than 20 years.

The Phelps County Senior Companions celebrated over forty years of success with a hoedown-styled luncheon on Tuesday, June 13. New companions were honored alongside those who have been with the program for more than 20 years.

Commissioner Gary Hicks gave an invocation before attendees were treated to a barbecue lunch courtesy of Bandannas. After lunch, Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp  gave a brief introduction before allowing Representative Jason Chipman to take the podium.

Rep. Chipman began by quoting Ghandi, saying “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

“I’m reminded of the senior citizens of our state,” Chipman said. “Seniors that have proven time and time again their willingness to jump at the opportunity to serve others. “

Chapman added that “right now our older population is growing at an unprecedented pace…and right now they are looking at ways to give back to their communities.”

The representative’s speech talked about the “far-reaching positive ripples,” of the program. According to Chipman, the Senior Companions program in Phelps County allows senior citizens to use the skills they’ve spent a lifetime honing in order to help others to maintain their independence and live their best possible life.

Chapman said the program is “fulfilling a need and creating a purpose” for local senior citizens who are healthy enough to serve and those who need just a little help.

In the program handed out to attendees, Program Coordinator Yvonne Leuthauser wrote, “Our senior companions are the best group of people that I have had the pleasure to work with,” and she is “looking forward to many more years.”

First year companion Alice Jarret is new to being a senior companion, but said it has been an incredible experience for her. Jarret actually serves as a companion for two individuals, one being her husband and the other being her neighbor.

“I love it,” she said. “There are a lot of things you can do to help people, and there are a lot of needy people out there, more than we realize. It’s not really a job, you meet a lot of wonderful people.