On Monday, April 17 at 9 a.m., Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee met with members of several organizations that serve the needs of the area’s senior citizens including members of the B.E. Murph Senior Center in Laurel, AmeriCorps Seniors/Foster Grandparents, and DJ Transit, Inc. to proclaim the month of May as Older American’s Month.
Recognition of Older American’s Month was established by President John F. Kennedy in a formal proclamation urging all citizens to pay tribute to the contributions of the seniors in their communities. The theme for this year’s Older American’s Month is “Aging Unbound.”
“Without their wisdom and joy, without them in general, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Donna Bailey of DJ Transit said during the signing ceremony.
Lula Cooley, coordinator for the City of Laurel who works with the B.E. Murph Sr. Center, thanked everyone for attending the event and spoke briefly to guests about the importance of providing meaningful community support and activities for older adults. “This is exciting and we are appreciative of DJ Transit and Donna for putting this together,” she said. “A lot of seniors sit at home but they don’t have to.”
Cooley pointed out that the City of Laurel has a long history of investing in its youth and in its seniors. “We are appreciative of the City of Laurel and Mayor Magee for doing that,” Cooley said. She explained that the city’s senior center allows older adults an opportunity to get out and enjoy time with their peers. She told the story of one member, a 91-year-old lady, who never misses chair exercise class and who loves cooking for her friends at the senior center. “She has someone to cook for because she lives by herself, “Cooley explained. “That is aging unbound!”
Deshella Butler, Executive Director of DJ Transit in Laurel, thanked the many organizations they work with who serve seniors in the community including the B.E. Murph Center, the City of Laurel, the Laurel Housing Authority, the Foster Grandparents organization, South Central Regional Medical Center, and many others. Butler said that the support was “inspirational” and that she was excited about engaging the community to celebrate seniors as much as possible. While the transit company provides services to everyone, their primary work is done with seniors and helping them to live independently and get around town safely.
DJ Transit provides transportation services for any member of the general public who needs to be taken to work, school, doctor’s appointments, or on errands. Their vehicles are wheelchair accessible and they are available during the week from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturdays depending on demand.
They do require that trips be booked at least one day in advance and trips are as low as $2.00 per stop. Individuals interested in booking transportation with DJ Transit can contact them at 601.682.0701. Those with a CDL with a passenger endorsement who are interested in working for DJ Transit can also contact them at that number or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is djtransitinc.com.
The proclamation read as follows:
Whereas, the City of Laurel includes a growing number of older Americans who contribute their time, wisdom, and experience to our community; and
Whereas, communities benefit when people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds have the opportunity to participate and live independently; and
Whereas, the City of Laurel recognizes the need to create a community that offers the support older adults may need to make choices about how they age; and
Whereas, the City of Laurel can work to build an even better community for our older residents by:
Not limiting our thinking about aging,
Exploring and combating stereotypes,
Emphasizing the many positive aspects of aging,
Inspiring older adults to push past traditional boundaries, and
Embracing our community’s diversity.
Now, therefore, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, do hereby proclaim May 2023 to be Older Americans Month and urge every resident to celebrate our older citizens, help to create an inclusive society, and accept the challenge of flexible thinking around aging.
In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel to be affixed this the 17th day of April, 2023.