Community Events

Area seniors recognized as Montgomery County ‘trailblazers’

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Alma Jacobs, first woman secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, cuts the ribbon unveiling a bench in Central Perkiomen Park dedicated in her honor. The dedication was part of a ceremony honoring seniors who visited five or more trails in the county during the Montco Trail Challenge. Marian Dennis – Digital First Media

By Marian Dennis, The Mercury

SCHWENKSVILLE >>A few area seniors are receiving some recognition for walking some of Montgomery County’s best trails.

Guests gathered under the pavilion at Central Perkiomen Valley Park Wednesday to take part in a celebration that recognized area seniors who traveled to different Montgomery County trails beginning on June 4.

“We’re here to get our medals because we walked five parks from June to September. So I’m here to get my medal. I’m so proud that I did that,” said Eileen Keiper of Harleysville, who walked through Green Lane Park Trail, The 202 Parkway Trail, The Perkiomen Trail and Green Ribbon Trail in Norristown.

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Kathy Metz of Harleysville, one of the participants in the Montco Trail Challenge, speaks with a fellow honoree as after they received their medals Wednesday at a celebration honoring those participants who visited five or more Montgomery County trails. Marian Dennis – Digital First Media

Seniors were honored at the ceremony after they completed the Montco Trail Challenge. The challenge, which was created by The Montgomery County Health Department in partnership with the Planning Commission and Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites, is aimed at getting older residents of Montgomery County to go out and be active on the many trails the county has to offer.

“We wanted to do an effort in collaboration with the health department,” said Susan Wenrick of the Montgomery County Office of Aging and Adult Services. “They were doing this Montco Trail Challenge so we partnered with Health Partners Plans and they gave us some money to support this effort. We also partnered with two of our senior centers, Encore Experiences of Harleysville and Generations of Indian Valley. We partnered with them because that have existing walking clubs and we wanted to encourage people to go out and experience all the trails across the county.”

After registering and receiving their official Montco Trail Challenge card, seniors participated by recording symbols unique to each park they visited. Once they completed five trails, they could then turn in the card and receive a medal.

After receiving their medals Wednesday, the group was addressed by Commissioners Joe Gale and Val Arkoosh and lauded by Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne for their successful completion of the challenge.

“Together we can continue to blaze trails to wellness and you are all trailblazers in that effort,” said Osborne. “I encourage you to continue to do that and to continue to partner with us because it’s only through partnership and communication and collaboration at the local level, in communities like this that we can indeed be successful and ensure that the resources entrusted to our care at the state level, county level and at the city level are utilized well and wisely.”

In addition to the participants who were recognized, a bench dedication was also presented to Alma Jacobs, 92, the first woman secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

After the dedication, attendees were welcomed back to the pavilion to take part in raffles and other activities.

“It was great meeting all the representatives and it was really very interesting,” said Kathy Metz of Harleysville who walked Green Lane, Norristown Farm Park, Schuylkill Valley, Perkiomen Trail and Wissahickon Green Trail. “I want to do more. I live right near Green Lane and I’ve always loved that park so that’s probably my favorite but they’re all nice.”

The Montco Trail Challenge runs until Sept. 4 and all entries but be received by Sept. 9. For more information on the challenge visit www.montcopa.org/trailchallenge .

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