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Celebrating the golden milestone

December 24, 2012

With 1,100 members, A.V. Senior Citizen’s Club marks 50th anniversary

Story and photos by Bryan Kawasaki
APPLE VALLEY REVIEW

For the last 50 years, the Apple Valley Senior Citizen’s Club has provided a place for seniors to socialize and have fun — from playing billiards, bingo, bunco and shuffleboard to learning how to line dance or enjoy Sunday brunch.

“The club is a home away from home for a lot of people,” said vice president Sandy Hutton.

With the majority of senior citizens on fixed incomes, the club is one of only a handful of affordable places where local seniors can spend their time. It is hard to find a day when the parking-lot is not full of cars with many members attending the club five to six days a week.

“It’s the greatest thing,” said Marge Hess of the many friends she has met through the club over the years.

Hutton also believes the legacy of the club is within the camaraderie and relationships that have been built throughout the last 50 years. Hutton is continually trying to plan trips to casinos and other group activities.

“This is the greatest club in my opinion,” said Hutton. “We have a group with no internal conflict, and we’ve done it all without drugs or alcohol.”

But such admiration for what this club has done within the community has not stopped with the senior citizens of Apple Valley. The halls of the Apple Valley Senior Citizen Club are decorated with letters and plaques of congratulations. Even many of the nation’s most important politicians have taken notice, including the president of the United States, the California governor and both California senators. Local representative Jerry Lewis honored the 50th anniversary with a presentation of a flag flown over the capitol.

“I feel like the club has grown closer this year,” said Hutton. With the club composed of 1,100 members, Hutton recently started building a fund for expansion within the next five years.

On Friday, the club created a time capsule that is set to be reopened in 2037 — 25 years from now.

“I think it’s great,” said Lou Stine, former club president and current member. “It’ll be really special for those who are still around.”

Bruce Hollenbeck, a member of the anniversary committee, was the first to present the idea of a time capsule and has been orchestrating it ever since. With his parents members of the club when Newton Bass first established it in 1962, Hollenbeck had a particular interest in assuring the club’s continuance through preserving some of its artifacts.

“A lot of things have happened over these 50 years, and I was just thinking how we could preserve the history of this club,” said Hollenbeck, who also serves as a historian for Friends of the Library.

“I volunteered myself,” joked Hess, who is the longest tenured member. She has been partaking in the club’s activities nearly every day since 1983.

Club members were asked to bring an item of significance, where they were judged and then placed in the stainless steel time capsule.

“When everything is said and done, there will be a lot of memorabilia, handwritten letters, pictures, domino pieces and anything else that preserves the memory of everyone here,” Hollenbeck said.