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Seniors Gather Gifts, Information
A variety of vendors set up shop for a few hours at the Escalon Community Center on May 5, settling in for the annual Senior Day co-hosted by the Escalon Chamber of Commerce and the City of Escalon.

From in home care to insurance services, banking to clothing for active seniors, there were plenty of booths with information and many had giveaway items for those attending as well.

"I just go walk around and see what's happening," said Escalon senior Gilbert Varekamp. "My blood pressure was a little on the high side ... my doctor said I should walk a little more."

The free blood pressure checks were just one of the basic health assessments offered during the day.

Co-organizer Annie Gallagher of the local Cromwell & Ney Insurance, said she was especially pleased to see vendors getting into the 'tropical' theme that was chosen this year.

"Everybody did something to decorate," she said, "It's upbeat."

Many of the booths utilized the tropical theme, with umbrellas, straw hats, even a few grass skirts found among the crowd.

The Grandmothers Club, Low Vision Support Group, Escalon Republican Women Federated, South San Joaquin Irrigation District, Escalon Fire Department, Escalon Community Ambulance, and Geriatric Home Care were among those coming to showcase their services and meet with local seniors.

Chamber of Commerce membership chair Christine Lambert was on hand, representing the chamber and the local Deegan's Funeral Chapel, and said the turnout was outstanding, both in terms of vendors and attendees.

"There definitely were more people and more booths than last year," Lambert said. "I thought it was a very good turnout, there was something for everybody and I think a lot of people look forward to it, they leave with a full goodie bag and there were some excellent door prizes."

Sandra Graham, with DRAIL, the Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living, said having a showcase for services geared toward seniors is something that is needed.

"The senior population is growing and we want to make sure they know there are services out there," Graham said. "We're a good resource for helping people become more independent."

Graham noted that today's senior citizens increasingly continue to live on their own and DRAIL is one of the programs out there that helps them maintain that sense of control in their lives, assisting in a variety of ways to keep seniors living independently.

"We have funding resources for items from ramps (for disabled access) to home modifications, we are able to get some grants through CDBG (the Community Development Block Grant program) to help."

DRAIL also has peer advising, computer classes, information and referral services and more.

Elsewhere, Daryl Curtis of Geriatric Home Care was doing blood pressure checks for attendees while co-workers Sandi Martinez and Syanne Dominguez were arranging the firm's 'goodie bags' on the table, full of informational pamphlets, mints and protein-rich peanut butter pretzels as a treat.

Local resident Gladys Nelson was having her blood pressure checked, stopping at the Geriatric Care booth as she made her way around the tables set up in the Community Center.

"I'm just looking at this and that," Nelson said.

Bill Hubkey of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District had information about that firm and about Proposition 16 on the ballot, the 'Taxpayer's Right to Vote' regarding electric service takeovers.

"We just want to give the information," Hubkey, who serves as the water treatment plant operator on Dodds Road, said.

Gallagher said organizers were very happy with the turnout and the overall event. She also said photos from the Senior Day, and other events that the Chamber of Commerce hosts, can be viewed on their website.

"This event, and our coffees and mixers, every time we do something we'll be on the chamber website and Facebook," said Gallagher.

Visit the Chamber website at