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Mary And Tony Alfalla Stay Active By Supporting The Wellington Seniors Club Story by Ray Burow • Photo by Abner Pedraza

The late comedian George Burns said, “You can’t help growing older, but you don’t have to grow old.” Burns may have said it, but Mary and Tony Alfalla of Wellington live as if it were their mantra. Growing older is a non-issue for Mary, who will turn 76 years of age in January. Nor is it a problem for her octogenarian husband, Tony, who partially credits good genes for his longevity. Aside from good genes, the Alfallas stay young by keeping active in the community and are leaders of the Wellington Seniors Club, serving faithfully through the years. “After 21 years in the military and another 20 with the federal government, I said to myself I would never volunteer again,” Tony recalled. “But once I saw what was there, an opportunity to give to the seniors, something that they would be able to relish, to come out of the house and so forth, it made it a lot easier.” They began their time with the Wellington Seniors Club taking part in variety shows. “We actually performed. We would sing, dance, anything. We had so much fun doing it,” Mary explained. However, singing and dancing was only part of what the couple brought to the club’s seniors. Tony has served on the board of the organization for 11 years and is currently the president, tapped for the position a second time when the former president stepped down last September. According to the Alfallas, the Wellington Seniors Club is very unique and unlike other senior clubs across the country. Mary is a director at the Wellington Seniors Club and for seven years 110

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served as the social chair. This involved intense event planning, since the primary focus of the club is to provide a social environment for seniors who live in the community. There are only two requirements to becoming a member. Members must be age 55 or older, and the club is open only to residents of Wellington. There is a nominal annual fee. Seniors only pay $20 per year. The Village of Wellington generously supports the club. This is helpful to seniors, since many live on a fixed income. The Wellington Seniors Club was a godsend to the Alfallas. Mary’s son was seriously ill for some time before he passed away. He lived in Connecticut,

“You have to continue being active,” Mary Alfalla said. “Continue the lifestyle that you have. Don’t keep changing it because the birthdays come around. Illness does come as you age, but just keep as active as you can and keep interested.”

and Mary was dedicated to his long-time care. “When Mary was going through the thing with her son, [the club] just got us involved and took us away from our thoughts. It was something to do without continuously thinking about what happened,” Tony said. Volunteering with the club and reaching out to help other seniors refocused the Alfallas’ attention and helped them through the grieving process. “We got very deeply involved, and once we got involved, I mean the grieving was still there,” Tony said. Mary continued: “It was a good feeling to have a senior walk up to you and say: ‘We just love coming to this meeting. It’s the only chance we get to go out except for doctors and things like that.’” The Alfallas also found solace in the many cards and notes sent to them by grateful seniors, thanking them for all they do with the Wellington Seniors Club. “It’s very rewarding,” Mary said. Caring for a son with a disability caused her to be especially sensitive to the needs of other people, and has aided in her role with the Wellington Seniors Club. “I’ve noticed over the last few months since I’ve had to use a cane, that people have been very considerate. I’ve had people try and open doors and just little things like that,” Mary said. That’s the good side of people, but the Alfallas have also experienced rude treatment and believe that it goes both ways. “I believe it is probably the same as it has been for years and years,” Mary said. “I think some [people] are very respectful of senior citizens. There are others

Wellington The Magazine January 2018  
Wellington The Magazine January 2018  

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