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You’re invited to a USO Party at the senior center

by Nancy Hamlett, staff writer

Dance to the sweet sounds of the Douglas High School Swing band. Delight in the antics as seniors lip-sync to the Andrews Sisters. And feast on chipped beef on toast at the senior center’s USO Party in honor of Veteran’s Day.

The Carson Valley has a large population of men and women who served in the armed forces. One, as a young man, was aboard the USS Lexington when it capsized in the Coral Sea. Another woman’s husband perished when his plane was shot down, with only one survivor. She spent the next 55 years searching for that survivor. She finally found him in Carson City.

These stories and more will be shared at the USO Party at the senior center Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to noon.

Senior center director Warren Bottino said that the party idea originated with the Young at Heart Senior Citizen’s Club.

“They wanted to honor the people in the Gardnerville area that survived the wars, and respect those who gave their lives,” said Bottino. “From there, the ideas just took off.”

Members of the senior center are busy compiling pictures and memorabilia that have been donated for the event, and Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen and County Commissioner Bernie Curtis will address the audience.

“This is the 50th anniversary of the Korean War and the 225th anniversary of the formation of the Marine Corps,” said Bottino. “A Marine Corps representative from Bridgeport will be at the party, as will the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) color guard.”

Esther Hildebrand, president of the Young at Heart Club, said everyone is welcome to attend the event.

“People are very excited about this, and we are going all out to make it memorable,” said Hildebrand.

The staff at the senior center is expecting more than 100 people to show up. This number may swell as the center is transporting seniors from Topaz Ranch Estates to the party.

“We’re decorating the center with red, white and blue streamers, and the VFW is donating cupcakes with red, white and blue icing to carry out the theme,” said Bottino. “We’re asking everyone who served in the armed forces to show up in uniform or at least with their medals on.”

After the party, the senior center will serve chipped beef on toast for lunch. Hildebrand said that seniors 60 and over offer a donation for the lunch, and the cost is $3.50 for people under 60.

“This party isn’t just for veterans,” said Bottino. “It’s an opportunity for the community to meet with the veterans and hear their stories, and it’s the time for us to honor all that the veterans have done for our country.”