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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 03/01/2002


By staff writer

Pris and Dad
I am a “Baby Boomer”. I admit it and proud to be “fifty-something”, but like many others my age, I am continually amazed at how much longer people are living out their lives. Our parents are living longer than their parents and so on and so on. This means that we see more and more of the older generation moving into assisted living facilities and eventually into health care and nursing facilities.

The Town of Signal Mountain is proud to have one such facility located in the heart of Signal Place Historic District (Old Towne). Alexian Village of Tennessee is located at 100 James Boulevard. Included in the Village are the Village Residents, the Alexian Inn, the Health Care Center, and the Valley Residents (Alzheimer’s residents on Mountain Creek Road). Although wonderfully staffed and well known for it’s excellent care, there can never be enough volunteers to assist those residents who need a little extra tender care and love in the Inn and Health Care Center.

Over 50 years ago the Alexian Auxiliary was formed. It sponsors activities and provides services for residents of the Health Care Center and Alexian Inn. There are many opportunities to volunteer. Currently over 200 hours a month is the amount of volunteer time needed to meet the needs of the residents in these three facilities. What would you do? At the Health Care Center you might give a manicure or help with ceramics, a game of BINGO, or put out fresh flowers for the Super Supper once a month. Special parties, the Ice Cream Social, and birthdays are recognized with a card and balloon or gift. Another special project is the Adopt-a-Friend where a person is paired with a resident who doesn’t have anyone in close radius. At the Alexian Brothers Valley Residence, BINGO is offered and volunteers are needed to assist the Newcomers in this event.

The Auxiliary is also responsible for providing volunteers for the annual community Easter party, Halloween party, Bless-a-pet events, and other special community events planned by the Village. Not only are residents of Alexian Village encouraged to become members of the Auxiliary, but also residents of Signal Mountain are invited to participate. Dues are $10 a year, which is really just a contribution to the organization, as the only other fundraiser is the annual St. Patrick’s Bridge Luncheon. The current officers for the Auxiliary are Vicki Love, president; Angel Roark, first vice-president; Sue Leary, second vice-president; Marjorie White, recording secretary; and Martha Fanning, treasurer. The Auxiliary meets once a month on the third Monday of the month at Alexian Village. Anyone interested in becoming a part of this worthy organization can call Vicki Love at or come to the monthly meeting.

The St. Patrick’s Bridge Luncheon will again be held at St. Augustine Catholic Church on Anderson Pike this March 20th. You do not have to be member of the Auxiliary to participate in the bridge luncheon. It is open to the public. The cost is $10. The time of the luncheon party is 10:30-2:30. Tables of four will be available. Participants can play Bridge or any other game of their choosing, or just come for lunch. Pre-ticket purchase is encouraged by calling Vicki Love at or after 2:30 pm weekdays at . Tickets can be picked up at Alexian Village. Another way you can offer your services is to volunteer in the kitchen prepping for the luncheon. Help is needed at St. Augustine Church on Wednesday March 19th and also servers/kitchen helpers on the day of the luncheon.

It’s hard sometimes to pass the mirror and see, not my mother’s face, but my grandmother’s. I ask, “Where does the time go?” I get my pre-mature gray hair, however, from my Dad who turned gray before he was thirty years old. My Dad lives in Louisiana having just been accepted as a resident in the Louisiana Veterans War Memorial Home. He lives in a secure area because he suffers from vascular dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s. I went to see him in his knew home a few months ago. I wasn’t sure he’d remember me because it had been six months since the last time I had visited him. And I hadn’t been able to reach him on the phone for several months as he was in and out of different facilities being re-evaluated. When they rolled him out to meet us, he saw my face and his eyes lit up and a great big smile spread across his face. He said, “I bet you didn’t know who I was!” I knew in my heart that what he was trying to say was, “I bet you didn’t think I knew who you were.” Even though he couldn’t say my name, his mannerisms did.

I love my Dad and miss him, and I can’t help but wonder if there is a group like the Alexian Auxiliary that brings joy to him and the life he has? If you have time to share, then consider becoming a member of the Alexian Auxiliary. They need and want volunteers so very much. HATS OFF to the Alexian Auxiliary and all the loving and kind volunteers who give those 200 plus hours a month making someone else’s life a little better. (PS Check out the handsome man in the picture who married his “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” and raised me to be the person I am today!) A new group formed last month, Positive Journey Toward Aging, meets the fourth Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM in the lobby at the Alexian Inn. This meeting is devoted to helping families on Signal Mountain understand the special blessings, responsibilities and needs of aging adults. Everyone on the mountain is invited to attend. Reservations are encouraged but not required. Call to reserve your seat.

The Annual Dogwood Luncheon and presentation of the “Woman of the Year” Award is a special event of the Signal Mountain Community Guild each year. This award, began in 1969, and is presented to a deserving civic-minded woman on the mountain with the hope that this award will encourage other women to better serve our community. According to a spokesman for the Guild, a woman does not have to be a member of the Guild to receive the award and anybody can send in a nomination for the award. A committee of three Guild members makes the selection from the nominations received from residents on the mountain. Forms are available from members of this year’s committee, Mary Nelle Moreland, chairman, Nellree Berger and Sandra Woodward. Also look for the form in the Signal Mountain Mirror. They are also being distributed to other civic and garden clubs. The first woman honored with receiving the “Woman of the Year” Award was Mrs. Charles Dodd and last year’s recipient was Mrs. Alice Conner. There is no reason why the members of the selection committee don’t have a multitude of nominations! Look around town, ladies. Look at the women at your children’s schools, sports activities, organizations you belong to or ones that support our towns on the mountain, and then look in your neighborhood. Things don’t just happen up here on the mountain. Somebody is working up front or behind the scenes to make it happen. Cut out the form and send it in NOW.

The Dogwood Luncheon, this year, will be April 24th at the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. Tickets will be available at Sun Trust Bank on Signal Mountain after March 27th. The guest speaker at this year’s luncheon is Rebecca Foote who among other things is wife of Seneca (CEO at Alexian Village), mother to Laurie Ann, Jennifer Rose, and Amy Rebecca, pastor at St. Elmo Methodist Church, and storyteller. Celebrating the “Woman of the Year” is one way to say thank you to a deserving woman on our mountain. I say HATS OFF and congratulations to the past thirty-four recipients who have received the “Woman of the Year” Award.

Take time now to look at the Calendar of Events. Hilda Atkinson will be giving a program on the Festival of “Fans” at the Signal Mountain Community Guild meeting. The Literature Department will hear a book review by Dorothy Crowell. A representative of A.G. Edwards is the guest speaker at this month’s Newcomer’s meeting. Senior citizens participating in the Signal Fellowship/Highlanders program will be treated with a performance by the classical music ensemble DUO CON BRIO a.k.a. Jay Craven and Mary Catherine Gang. If you want your organization to be included in these Calendar of Events, call me at . Don’t forget to be a good citizen and attend your respective Town Council meetings. Staying informed is a good thing. Good for you and for our communities.