Iberville Council on Aging hosts 26th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon

PETER SILAS PASQUA news@postsouth.com
Seniors enjoy their meal at the Iberville Council on Aging’s 26th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon on Nov. 20 at the Carl F. Grant Civic Center. The event attracted approximately 600. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

Georgia Gulf and the Iberville Council on Aging presented its 26th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon on Nov. 20 at the Carl F. Grant Civic Center.

Director of the Iberville COA Charlene Siplin welcomed everyone before a Thanksgiving Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem and Blessing were delivered by the group's centers including East Iberville, Maringouin, White Castle and Plaquemine.

"We invite all the seniors of Iberville Parish and have been averaging about 600 each year," Siplin said. "This is for the whole parish. We have centers at each end of the parish and we transport them from all over."

The event is sponsored by Georgia Gulf who coordinates the meal with LeBlanc's Food Stores and the building with the Iberville Parish Recreation Department, according to Siplin.

Siplin said vans transport seniors and the event gives them a chance to feel appreciated.

"Just so they can have a Thanksgiving lunch with turkey means a lot to them," Siplin said. "It gives them a chance to mingle with other seniors and somebody to talk to."

Siplin said support for the event begins in October with volunteers inquiring how they can help. This year, White Castle High School football coach Lamar Thomas and his players served lunches while seniors from Plaquemine High School served drinks.

"His main goal is to make sure the seniors in the parish are taken care of and it really is a big thing for him," Siplin said of Parish President Mitchel Ourso.

Louisiana Senior Medicare Patrol complex issues specialist Monique Thomas told the seniors the most important thing dealing with Medicare is to protect, detect and report.

"I want you to protect your Medicare numbers, detect fraud, errors or abuse on your Medicare summary notice and report any suspicious activates," Thomas said. "If you see a problem let somebody know. That is the only way we can do anything about it."

Board Chairman of the Iberville COA Leroy Vessel recognized dignitaries and music was provided by Al Albarez.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi also informed seniors what his office has to offer.

"We have a medical transport service so don't hesitate to call if you need help," Stassi said.

It didn't take long for Linda Barbara, a retired state worker with 36 years of service in the office of family support, to get in the holiday mood and stand up in support of the music in just her second year at the event.

"I enjoy being around senior citizens and am so proud now that I am a senior citizen," said Barbara, who turned 65 on Nov. 24. "This is all I have to do. I came here and wanted to volunteer to help. I have a good time. The lady that was singing is my friend and I wanted to support her."

As the meal winded down, a heated card game developed between John Robertson, of Grosse Tete, and Charles Sanders, Jessie Williams and O'Neil Christmas, all of Maringouin.

"We are playing podnuhs and we are winning," Robertson said.

As the crowd began to exit the center, Marie Rivet said she attempts to attend every year.

"I see a lot of people I haven't seen in a while and everybody is so nice," Rivet said. "The food is good and everybody has a good time but I can't dance."