Positive outlook keeps senior going

AARP Community Action Team member Pauline Francisco gets a kick out the special candle the group lit for her as they celebrated her 99th birthday. She's been acrive in community service since the 1970s and said the key to a long life is to stay active and help others.

Pauline Francisco with the local AARP Community Action Team was in for a surprise when the group met for their Monday meeting. They were celebrating her 99th birthday.

Whether it’s helping with at Community Ever Green House, meeting with local political leaders about issues affecting seniors, or talking about the importance of voting, Francisco has kept busy since she was young.

“We all think very highly of Pauline and she’s been very active in the community for many years,” said Julia Meisner, current chair of the local group. “The state AARP chapter has also honored her for all her volunteer work.”

In 2011, Francisco was presented with the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service, the organization’s most prestigious volunteer tribute. One member in each state is recognized each year for sharing their life experiences, talents and skills to enrich the lives of others.

Born in Canada, Francisco moved to Nebraska in 1941, where she lived with her grandparents near the old Victory Hill School. Her last year of high school was at Scottsbluff.

Her first job after graduation was with the Chester B. Brown Bean Company, where she worked in the office and also with the equipment that cleaned the beans that came in from the fields.

“I was there for about two years before I got married,” she said. “My son Carl lives in Scottsbluff and my oldest son Dale is in Stockton, California.”

Francisco said AARP has been an important part of her life for all it does to promote the cause of senior citizens.

“It was about 1971 when the state AARP staff came out from Lincoln to talk about Social Security and Medicare,” Francisco said. “I was very impressed with what I heard and I’ve been involved ever since.”

She said the group emphasizes the importance of being involved in community service and keeping current with any legislation that could impact senior citizens. That includes voting.

Other important issues Pauline follows are Medicare and Social Security because both have a bearing on seniors’ overall well-being.

“You can’t just sit down and do nothing,” she said. “Keep moving, forget about age and don’t let yourself get old. Don’t ever give up. That’s how I did it.”

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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