The Old Guard, a group of retired and semi-retired men who meet weekly in West Hartford, held their annual spring luncheon and welcomed new officers.
With a festive spring afternoon luncheon at the Hartford Golf Club, the Old Guard concluded a successful season of educational meetings, civic contributions and social activities. Over 120 members and guests enjoyed lunch followed by exceptional entertainment provided by the cast of the Playhouse on Park.
Tracy Flater, Founder and Executive Director of Playhouse on Park, presented upcoming season programming at the Playhouse and other educational events. She then introduced the cast members who sang songs from previous Playhouse productions, hit Broadway shows and “Bandstand,” an upcoming musical that will be the final Mainstage Season 13 production. .
The luncheon was also an opportunity for President Don Kauke to pass the leadership hammer to incoming President Russ Jones. Jones has been responsible for organizing the weekly programs for the past year.
At their annual meeting a week earlier, Kauke praised members’ contributions to the community over the past year, all in keeping with public health guidelines regarding COVID-19.
“Members raised and donated over $5,000 to the Salvation Army for the Holiday Kettle; 35 members volunteered to sort over 35,000 books at Foodshare in seven sessions at their headquarters; a dozen members worked with Habitat to install new siding on a home in East Hartford and donated more than $1,400; in the past 12 months, 35 members of the Old Guard have delivered more than 7,200 Meals on Wheels; members resumed reception activity at the UConn Health Center; and contributed $7,520 to West Hartford Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes and the House of Bread; and ran the West Hartford Seniors Job Bank. Exceptional contributions of all kinds, throughout the year! Kauke reported. “It is obvious that while these men are retired from industry and the professions, they are not retired from contributing to the community.”
According to Kauke, “While COVID has made social activity difficult, the Old Guard has provided opportunities to interact while adhering to public health recommendations. Members of the Old Guard have successfully continued their 56 years of contributions to the community.
Secretary George Stephan was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his particularly detailed meeting notes, benefiting those who were unable to attend, and updating the official documents of the organization.
While COVID provided plenty of challenges throughout the September-May season of the Old Guard, meetings sometimes only took place virtually using the Zoom platform. Even when in-person meetings resumed, Zoom coverage continued for members unable to attend meetings, held weekly at Westminster Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in West Hartford. Total attendance between in-person and online meetings remained the same throughout the year.
Additional information about the Old Guard can be found at ctoldguard.org.
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