About 250 guests gathered in Fruitvale on Tuesday for the annual Beaver Valley Age Friendly Christmas luncheon. (From left: Kathleen Russell, Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini, Fran Pargeter)

Beaver Valley seniors gather for Christmas get-together

The annual holiday event is part of the Beaver Valley Age Friendly program

Approximately 250 of Beaver Valley’s finest gathered for a hot lunch of chicken cordon bleu, stuffed potatoes, greens and dessert at Fruitvale Memorial Hall this week,.

Volunteers cooked and served with a smile, while police chatted and poured countless cups of coffee and tea.

Fran Pargeter, 83, was one of many Beaver Valley seniors who were up bright and early on a snowy Tuesday setting up tables for the annual Beaver Valley Age Friendly Christmas luncheon.

He’s been part of the program that, since 2009, has been connecting seniors from Montrose, Beaver Falls, Fruitvale and Area A with each other as well as with various services and age friendly events.

“The Age Friendly program is one of the best things that has happened to this valley,” says Fran, mentioning his parents left their Manitoba farm to move to Fruitvale in 1944.

“It’s really working well as you see today,” he said. “A lot of intelligent people have set this up, a lot of people here are older than me and on their own, so it’s nice to have the help.”

He added, “And Vickie (Vickie Fitzpatrick, program coordinator) and Patricia (Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini) work tirelessly to keep this going. It’s a Number One program that a lot of other communities are now using as a model.”

Fran regularly bowls, three games for $6, and taps a card to use the senior-only gym, both located in the lower level of Fruitvale hall.

He also participates in a once-a-month round table with Fitzpatrick called “Coffee with Vickie,” where seniors bounce ideas off each other for possible advancement into the Age Friendly program.

“One of the things we are proposing now is for people who live by themselves,” he said. “The home alone (medical alert system buttons) we would like to purchase a few of those and then rent them out to people at a reduced rate because they are quite expensive. We won’t be able to get one for everybody but we can start out small with maybe a half dozen.”

Another forward-thinking idea the group came up with is lock boxes for private residences.

“We are proposing to set up and buy a whole bunch of them for first responders to use to get inside a home, instead of having to break down the door,” Fran explained. “That’s another example of something we are trying to get for the community.”

Outside of Beaver Valley Age Friendly, Fran and friends organize Meals on Wheels, work the Salvation Army Christmas kettles, and just about anything else someone may need help with throughout the year.

“There’s a lot of seniors now, we are an older population,” Fran said. “I stayed here because it’s a good place to retire and there is never nothing to do.”

He suggests for anyone feeling a bit lonely, to walk downtown because there is always someone to talk with.

“If you say you’re bored, it’s your own fault,” Fran laughed.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia kindness prevails amid pandemic

School is slated to begin this fall, but classrooms will be much different than usual

Criminal charges laid against Trail man arrested in Castlegar

Clayton Clarke was released from custody on Wednesday.

As Columbia River Treaty negotiators get serious, Basin residents must speak up

Message from the Upper Columbia Basin Environmental Collaborative

Teck Trail donates to COVID-19 relief

Money will go to the COVID-19 Greatest Need Fund at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Updated: Trailer stolen near Rossland recovered, motorbike still missing

A black Nissan Pathfinder was reported to be seen hitching up the trailer on July 10 at 6:45 p.m.

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Thousands of dollars in stolen rice found in B.C. warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

NDP wants Lower Mainland MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

BC Liberal leader, some MLAs apologize for Christian magazine ads but Laurie Throness doubles down

Most Read