Funds raised during the first Henry County Parks and Recreation Senior Golf Tournament on May 18 will help provide transportation for the area’s senior citizens who need assistance getting to doctor’s appointments, pharmacies, and grocery stores.
According to Tonya Wilson, who works with the county’s Senior Services, demand for free transportation is increasing and cannot be met with current grant funds designated for the service.
Senior Services provides transportation to about 15,000 seniors in Henry County and offers transportation to life and medically necessary appointments.
Participants are not charged for the service; however, donations are appreciated. When received, donations go towards the cost of fuel and maintenance for the vehicles.
County residents must call the Senior Services office at least five days before their intended appointment to make arrangements and ensure they qualify for the service. If approved, seniors would let department staff know the day and time of the appointment, and call when they’re finished to be picked up and returned home. Transportation runs Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“Senior Services is funded through a federal grant called the “Older Americans Act,” (OAA) Wilson said.
The OAA was founded in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s “Great Society,” and has continued to expand services that enable older adults to enjoy healthy, productive, and independence in their homes and communities. Funding is shared through the Southern Area Agency on Aging and varies from year to year.
“Funding runs out pretty quickly,” Wilson said. “Once that grant runs out, we do different fundraisers” to raise money for the program.
“This year we decided to take on a golf tournament,” she said, adding that the goal is to raise $10,000 to support the program. So far, more than $9,000 has been raised thanks to the response to a solicitation letter sent to local businesses and organizations.
The tournament is set for Saturday, May 18 at Forest Park Country Club. Tee times are 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. This will be Captain’s Choice for $300 per team and includes a round of golf for four golfers, one mulligan and one red tee for each golfer; lunch and water throughout the day; and various prize opportunities.
Three teams are currently registered, with availability for a total of 30 teams. The tournament is open to all ages and is not limited to area residents.
To register, or to volunteer to help work the tournament, call Wilson or Ashley Mundy at (276) 634-4644.
The county’s Senior Services department offers a variety of programs and activities to local seniors. The minimal activity fees also are used to help to defray the cost of free transportation.
Pickleball, yoga, and beginning line dance are included in a sampling of the activities, as well as a movie day, walks on the Dick and Willie Trail, and a Senior Café, where seniors meet at a different local café each month.
Although the transportation service is only available to county residents, all other activities are open to seniors in Martinsville as well.
For a full list of activities, visit the website at https://www.henrycountyva.gov/196/Seniors.