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Seniors Celebrate Thanksgiving Early at Ursula's Center

Nov. 25, 2008 — Seniors at St. Ursula's Senior Citizen Center on St. John gave thanks to three people who helped them and others throughout the year when they celebrated Thanksgiving Tuesday with a party at the center.
"I've never seen three more reluctant honorees than these three," said Delegate Donna M. Christensen as she gave recognition plaques to each of them.
The seniors honored St. John resident Alan Johnson, who owns the St. John Ice Co., for his generosity in donating ice to senior events, as well as to other organizations.
St. Thomas resident Joseph "Tippy" Evans Jr., a former police officer who served as the late Gov. Alexander Farrelly's security detail, was honored for his civic-mindedness.
Riisa Todman Rymer, who lives on St. Thomas, received honors for her service to the community.
St. Ursula's also honored Annette Hodge Corbett, a St. Thomas resident, for her church-related activities. She did not make it to the party.
Clarence Scipio, who serves as St. Ursula's director, got a surprise birthday basket of fruit and a "Happy Birthday" song from the 75 people gathered for the party.
"How old are you now?" the seniors sang. (Scipio would only admit to being 20-plus.)
The seniors were entertained by a group of children from the nearby St. John Day Care Center.
"We're thankful for our friends at school and thankful for my family," they sang, to the delight of the seniors.
With thankfulness the party's theme, Helen Francis, who represented the St. John Administrator's Office, had wise words for those attending.
"Continue reaching out and your blessings will increase," she said.
The Rev. William Potter, who shepherds the flock at St. Ursula's Episcopal Church, spoke about the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims arrived in what is now Massachusetts on Dec. 11, 1620. By the time the first winter was over, only 56 of the 102 people who made the crossing from England were still alive.
"It was a horrible time," Potter said. "They worked hard, and the food supply was totally inadequate."
But, he said, while some of the remaining people were depressed and resentful, other focused on what they had.
As with every St. John senior event, the seniors entertained themselves with a rousing rendition of the "Senior Citizens Theme Song." Sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the song advises seniors over age 60 to join the center for a warm welcome.
"When we wake up in the mornings, oh how glad we are to know, that instead of sitting idle, to the center we can go," they sang.
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