The Post-Journal

Lakewood-Busti Golden Agers Celebrate 50 Years

Lakewood Mayor Cara Birrittieri and Don Shriver, Lakewood-Busti Golden Agers president.
Lakewood Mayor Cara Birrittieri presents Don Shriver, Lakewood-Busti Golden Agers president, with a proclamation during the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration Tuesday. P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti.

LAKEWOOD — For one local senior society in particular, the past 50 years have been nothing but golden.

The Lakewood-Busti Golden Agers held a 50th anniversary celebration Tuesday at the Lakewood Legion to commemorate the group’s establishment and first official organizational meeting held on March 12, 1968. The celebration included a luncheon, entertainment featuring a tribute to the music of Patsy Cline and a proclamation by Lakewood Mayor Cara Birrittieri proclaiming Tuesday’s date as “Lakewood-Busti Golden Ager Day” in Lakewood.

The group was originally organized by George Barone Jr. and Russ Diethrick Jr., with the former working at the Lakewood Drug Store alongside his parents at the time. Barone’s parents were nearing retirement and, due to his having just recently established the Lakewood-Busti Youth Center and through his familiarity with the Jamestown-based Golden Agers, Barone decided a group for his parents and other seniors in Lakewood and Busti age 60 and over was needed.

Both Barone and Diethrick were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, and expressed their gratitude for the longevity and vitality of the group.

“I’m very proud of this program,” Barone said. “For a lot of people the golden years aren’t always that golden, so I just wanted to put a smile on their faces. (The success we’ve had is) all due to the hard work of our members and those we’ve had in office who really took up the program and ran with it.”

Diethrick said he saw the vision that Barone had when the concept was first introduced to him, and is thankful that it is still going strong a half-century later.

“It’s been an honor and pleasure to be working with (Barone), and it’s great to see that the excitement people had on that first day has carried over to today,” Diethrick said. “Every program, as with everything in life, has to have a foundation, and the foundation that George and his team established back then has been proved by what’s going on today.”

The Lakewood-Busti Golden Agers meets on the third Thursday of the month at the Lakewood Legion. It hosts several programs throughout the year, both educational and entertaining, along with hosting four bus trips and several dinner meetings in that span.

In the past, members have worked as volunteers to aid a Vacation Bible School for Navajo Indians in Phoenix, Ariz., and has volunteered locally for churches, the Jamestown Achievement Center, Meals on Wheels, the Blood Bank, the library and a lunch program at the Community Center.

The group’s membership currently stands at 136, 55 of which are “lifetime members” of 85 years of age or older. Anyone interested in joining or learning more about the group can contact Cecile Wilson, vice president, at 483-0101.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.