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The Super Seniors of Twin Valley

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 12:46 PM EDT
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EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s game day for Rita Copeland at the Twin Valley Senior Center.

“It’s good to be back isn’t it?” said Copeland, welcoming a returning visitor. For about 16 months, the East Montpelier day center has been closed for in-person meals and social gatherings due to COVID. “This is our first day of having everybody back here and it’s so exciting! It is just so exciting,” Copeland said.

The pandemic hit home for the long-time director. She was the first to get the virus, forcing the center to shut down. Soon after, most of Vermont also went into lockdown.

The pandemic has been hard for everyone, but for seniors especially. Twin Valley gives them a place to interact and get a little bit of human touch. “Oh gosh, how you couldn’t hug anybody. You couldn’t get near anybody,” Copeland said. Now, if you’re fully vaccinated, it’s a hug-fest from Copeland. “It’s good to see you,” she said to a visitor.

It’s pure joy with many seniors seeing each other after what for some was the most difficult time in their lives. Cliff King delivered Meals-on-Wheels to shut-ins even though he was also coping with a personal loss. “I lost my wife on January 22nd this year. And before that, she rode around with me,” King said. Through his own tears, he was the eyes and ears for the seniors stuck at home. “And you feel better when you leave than when you go there.”

And then there’s Doreen Cliche. During the pandemic, she continued helping out at the foot clinic. “Some of these people who come here, we might be the only people they see for a while,” Cliche said.

“Oh, they’re all super seniors, they’re all super, super seniors,” Copeland said. “The volunteers we have are so committed and so dedicated.”

Doris Washburn is just happy to be back playing cribbage with Walter and Merv. “Other people with families, they’re never alone. So, it’s the older people who live alone, I think, it was the toughest on,” Washburn said.

A group of seniors that are, well, super. “You know, people are strange. They need other people around them, they really do,” King said.

Not strange, just human.

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Super Senior: Charlie Bothfeld

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