The city of Los Banos on Friday, Sept. 29 held their 38th Annual Salute to Seniors Fair at the Los Banos Community Center.

This year’s theme was titled, “Our Seniors Are Out of This World”. The day started with seniors visiting 45 vendor booths from 9 to 11 a.m. that provided information on services and resources ranging from city and county programs, assisted living services, volunteer opportunities, medical information and much more.

After the booths closed, the audience entered the “observatory” where planetary, heavenly and celestial decorations were on display. The event was opened by the  Honorary Chairperson, Anthony Parreira and The Master of Ceremony, Los Banos Police Chief Gary Brizzee.

The posting of colors was done by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Color Guard, followed by the flag salute led by Los Banos Fire Chief, Paul Tualla, and the National Anthem sung by Los Banos resident Rhonda Lowe.

The dignitaries in attendance included representatives from Congressman John Duarte, State Senator Anna Caballero, and Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria and Merced County Supervisor District 5 Scott Silveira.

Local dignitaries included Los Banos Mayor Paul Llanez, Councilmembers Kenneth Lambert, Brett Jones, Deborah Lewis, and Douglas Begonia Jr. Beverly Brown read her original poem on all the positive ways seniors are out of this world.

Senior recognition was given to eight nominated volunteers in Merced County. The first award was for Barbara Livoni from Soroptimist International of Los Banos for her commitment to helping women and girls achieve their dreams. Accepting on her behalf was Sandy Lemas.

Larry Vierra was honored next for being a valuable volunteer for the Salvation Army-Los Banos Corps for his work in the food ministries, other programs and annual fundraising in ringing the bell.

The Hilmar Senior Club recognized Evelyn Silveira for all of her volunteer work at their club.  The Los Banos Golden Agers nominated their current president, Anthony Parreira, who was instrumental in rebuilding the club after the Covid shutdowns.

Julius Emery was recognized from the Delhi Senior club for his volunteer efforts and hard work. Los Banos Memorial Hospital recognized Frank Bailey for his dedication and volunteer efforts at the hospital.

The final nominee was Teresa Nava from Los Banos Parks and Recreation. According to Joe Heim, Interim Parks and Recreation Director, Nava is a driving force on making the Salute to Seniors events so successful and well organized. She excels in her other duties as well and is a valuable asset to the city.

Lunch was catered by Espana’s Southwest Bar and Grill. Dozens of raffle prizes were donated by businesses, vendors and the city of Los Banos.

Bingo was the grand finale and was hosted by Kiwanis Club members. This year’s event committee included: Beverly Brown, Carmen Miranda, Jack Griffin, Anthony Parreira  and Los Banos Parks and Recreation staff, including Teresa Nava. The Activism and Community Action Club at San Luis High School took care of the decor.

Next year’s Salute to Senior event is scheduled for September 27.

Photo by Gene Lieb/The Express
Central California Legal Services was one of the 45 vendor booths at the Salute To Seniors event. Gene Lieb/The Express
Los Banos city employees and elected officials helped serve lunch. Gene Lieb/The Express
Sandy Lemas

Sandy Lemas is a longtime resident of Los Banos who has volunteered much of her time to community service. She will be writing a regular column on volunteers and volunteer organizations that help their community.