The Old Guard, a group of retired and semi-retired men who meet weekly in West Hartford, held their annual spring luncheon and welcomed new officers.
With a celebratory Spring afternoon luncheon at the Hartford Golf Club, the Old Guard wound up a successful season of educational meetings, civic contributions, and social activities. Over 120 members and guests enjoyed lunch followed by exceptional entertainment provided by cast members of the Playhouse on Park.
Tracy Flater, founder and executive director of Playhouse on Park, outlined the programs for the upcoming season at the Playhouse and other educational events. She then introduced the cast members who sang songs from previous Playhouse productions, hit Broadway shows, and from “Bandstand,” an upcoming musical that will be the last production of the Main Stage Season No. 13.
The luncheon also provided the opportunity for President Don Kauke to pass the leadership gavel to incoming President Russ Jones. Jones has been responsible for organizing the weekly programs for the past year.
At their Annual Meeting a week earlier, Kauke saluted the contributions of the members to the community during the past year, all within the public health guidelines respecting COVID-19.
“Members collected and contributed over $5,000 to the Salvation Army for the Holiday kettle; 35 members volunteered to sort over 35,000 pounds at Foodshare during seven sessions at their headquarters; a dozen members worked with Habitat to put new siding on a home in East Hartford and contribute over $1,400; over the past 12 months, 35 Old Guard members delivered over 7,200 Meals on Wheels; members resumed reception desk activity at the UConn Health Center; and contributed $7,520 to West Hartford Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes, and the House of Bread; and provided leadership to the West Hartford Seniors Job Bank. Outstanding contributions of all sorts, throughout the year!” Kauke reported. “It is obvious that while these men are retired from industry and professions, they are not retired from contributing to the community.”
According to Kauke, “while COVID has made social activity difficult, the Old Guard has provided opportunities to interact while still observing public health recommendations. Members of the Old Guard have been successful in continuing their 56 years of contributions to the community.”
Secretary George Stephan was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his especially detailed meeting notes, benefitting those not able to be in attendance and the updating of the organization’s official documents.
While COVID provided many challenges throughout the September to May season of the Old Guard, meetings were sometimes held only virtually using the Zoom platform. Even when in-person meetings resumed, Zoom coverage continued for those members unable to attend the meetings, held weekly at Westminster Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in West Hartford. Total attendance between in-person and online remained the same throughout the year.
Additional information about the Old Guard is available at ctoldguard.org.
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