Commissioner Santiago host unforgetable event
With Valentine’s Day approaching, Commissioner Luis B. Santiago bestowed “lots-of-love” to over 150 of the City of Opa-locka’s most valued residents, when he hosted the Super, Savvy “Seniors on the Move” Extravaganza from 3:00-8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 9, 2013 at Sherbondy Village, 215 Perviz Avenue, sponsored by the Mayor and Commission in partnership with the Parks and Recreations Department.
In his first affair since winning the Commissioner seat in November, Santiago said he chose to unify the community in a multi-lingual event where “our similarities will shine through the seniors of this community who laid the foundation for us all,” he stated. “We are brothers and sisters living in the City of Opa locka and no matter what age, color or nationality, we are united,” declared Commissioner Santiago.
“This is a family affair, but we must recognize, honor and respect all our seniors for the achievements of this City. I LOVE my seniors and my City,” he added!
Young at Heart, free in Spirit and light on their feet, the guests of honor, representing six to nine decades of history, celebrated their youth and razorsharp skills by line-dancing, responding with quick wit and competitively vying for prizes during multiple rounds of Bingo. Among the cash, gift cards, toasters, crock pots, coffee makers, china, flatware and other gifts, Jose Gonzalez won a stainless steel cookware set, the City’s Queen, Lola Roberts reigned with a total of $100 in cash and gift cards, six month Opalocka resident Rose Bowe and 10-yearold Imana Williams each won a 15- piece baking set. Imana was one of the youth allowed to participate in Bingo, under the condition that any prizes won would be contributed to a senior at the event. She donated her winnings to Mrs. Alice Brown. Hearing-impaired senior Judy Jones, accompanied by her daughter Dorothy, who interprets through sign language, stated her mother was born deaf, but it doesn’t prevent her from enjoying the senior life. Jones won pots and a sandwich maker when her numbers were called during Bingo and a raffle, respectively.
After many more giveaways, Maria Paulino left the Extravaganza with the most desired gift of the evening, a 40- inch High Definition Television, donated to her by another youth who won the final Bingo game of the night. Paulino who won a bed set earlier, shared a heartbreaking story about the loss of her son in December. She expressed appreciation to Commissioner Santiago for the senior’s Extravaganza, which she labeled “a blessing.”
As the seniors traveled “back down memory lane” with old-school American and Latin music by D.J. Vance Stringer, harpists Mariano Gonzalez Ramirez and Alberto Sanabria Fleitas from Amerindia Sound, the youth were entertained by a blow-up slide, bounce houses and other activities. Santiago said he wanted to accommodate everyone, so he provided a choice of “palate pleasing” delights such as cotton candy, snow cones, cake, hot dogs, hamburgers, yucca, plantains, pork, congre, yellow rice and chicken, prepared by Juanita’s Kitchen and Mama Delores.
Mayor Myra L. Taylor, Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley, Commissioner Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson and Commissioner Timothy Holmes, along with City staff and volunteers from the Swagg of Unity Non-profit Organization, were in attendance to support and assist in spreading love to the Seniors, who will never forget that Commissioner Santiago’s first City of Opa-locka event was a tribute to them.