Personal Best Tour – November 5, 2016, Dover, Delaware
NSGA’s visit to the Delaware Senior Olympics annual award luncheon could not have been better timed. DSO just completed its 25th anniversary games and wanted to do something special for this year’s gathering. So, in addition to presenting a Personal Best Award to 77-year-old Georgia Billger (read feature here), CEO Marc T. Riker was invited to be the keynote speaker and talked at length about preparations for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana, plans for celebrating our own 30th anniversary during The Games in Birmingham, and NSGA’s growing efforts to advocate senior health and wellness.
Georgia Billger is no stranger to her athlete peers, both for her longtime participation and for having been a previous recipient DSO’s Charlie Marten Award, which recognizes perseverance and dedication to fitness much like our Personal Best program. One distinguishing characteristic of “The First State” is that Delaware is small enough that everybody seems to treat each other as neighbors. Marc and Media Director Del Moon were welcomed in the same congenial spirit.
Marc also lauded the excellence of Delaware Senior Olympics, noting their longtime wellness programs such as Walk Delaware, in which participants keep a log and walk, run, bike or swim the equivalent of the combined length and width of the state in one year. As evidenced from the annual results announced by board member Peggy Olivero, many far exceeded the required 131 miles.
He also credited DSO with lending NSGA a phrase we often use that they have promoted for some time: “Fitness, Fun and Fellowship.” The program amply covered the “fitness” and “fellowship” portion, so afterwards we decided to have some “fun,” as evidenced in the following photos:
(Left) We were honored to shake the hand of Hugh Horning, the man who created the term “Fitness, Fun and Fellowship” and contributed much to DSO through the years. No one has come up with a better phrase that captures the spirit of The Games!
(Right) Bonnie Strang has 98 gold medals from playing badminton, pickleball and softball, but her first love is softball. On a whimsical suggestion, Bonnie “stood in the box” using her award as a bat, with Marc as catcher and Del as umpire.
(Left) Bonnie also introduced us to Harriet Mair, the person who first told her about Senior Games when they were playing together in a community orchestra. Of course, the fun escalated when we asked them to reenact the meeting with their “air instruments”- Harriet on the oboe, Bonnie on the trumpet!
(Right) Stay with us here: We found out that the amazing Marion Lisehora, the woman with lifelong perfect health mentioned by Georgia in her feature, was once a rider in the famous diving horse show at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City back in the 50s! She emphasized that no horse was ever injured in the decades of the show, and that her horse couldn’t wait to jump in the water on hot summer days. Of course, Marc insisted that her feat be re-enacted and volunteered to be the horse for the photo. Watch for Marion to be a story feature down the road.
(Left) In the Personal Best story, Georgia mentioned going to other states to help athletes qualify for doubles play in pickleball, and that in each case they won gold. Three of the women she helped made the drive from outside Delaware to come witness Georgia’s recognition. Pictured are Delia Wan, Melissa Milar and Robbin Murray with Georgia.
(Right) Retired librarian-turned-triathlete Marie Neaves was featured as NSGA’s Athlete of the Month for May, 2013. The banquet provided the opportunity for Marie and Del, who wrote the story, to have a happy reunion.
Thanks again to the staff, volunteers and athletes we met at the luncheon held at the impressive Modern Maturity Center in Dover. Small state, enormous spirit!