We are in the midst of an age wave: By 2020, the number of people over 60 will more than double. But this trend has real benefits. When you look around, the contributions of people over 50 have impacted our community in a very positive way.
To celebrate, Aging Together will honor its first Five Over Fifty on June 20 with a reception, awards ceremony and benefit concert at the State Theatre in Culpeper.
These five have improved the lives of people of all ages through their professional careers and volunteerism. What they have achieved over decades deserves to be in the spotlight, even if they are somewhat embarrassed by the attention.
According to most people, the Rappahannock honoree, Hal Hunter of Amissville, is the reason that Rappahannock County has a Food Pantry serving more than 250 households. It was grown from another initiative of his, Plant a Row, a program of the Garden Writers of America in which local gardeners agree to grow a little extra for those in need.
Hunter has worked extensively on environmental and conservation efforts through organizations such as the Piedmont Environmental Council and RappFLOW (Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed). He was a founding member of the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance and was a member of the Rappahannock Conservation Roundtable, facilitating cooperation among regional environmental groups, Shenandoah National Park, the Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District, and state forestry and agricultural bodies. As a volunteer, Hunter also prepared an application for the Historic Resources department’s recognition of Flint Hill and F.T. Valley as historic districts.
He and his wife Bev were named Rappahannock News Citizens of the Year for 2009. He has served as a board member of the local Community Action Agency and advisory board member of the Rappahannock Non-Profit Center. (You also can find him playing a piano and singing with his wife to raise funds for causes near and dear to his heart.)
The other Five Over Fifty honorees include Dr. R. Merrick, founder of the Orange Free Clinic; former chair of the Fauquier Food Bank Jean Lowe; T.I. Martin, a fundraiser for Yowell Meadow Park and the Powell Wellness Center in Culpeper; and Madison County’s Jean Kane, a founding member of Aging Together and longtime advocate for people with disabilities.
The celebration of these five individuals begins at 6 p.m. June 20 at the State Theatre. The awards are handed out at 7, followed by a concert with Deanna Bogart, a jazz and blues pianist from Washington D.C. For more information and to purchase tickets ($65), visit agingtogether.org.