Local seniors who enjoy noontime meals, social time together, and other activities at the Civic Center will be missing the everyday, smiling, friendly and always helpful presence of Isal Shields.
Shields, who has been a volunteer at the meal site helping with table service and also in the kitchen, has decided at age 91 to retire from her volunteer service there.
She was surprised on Oct. 15, her final official day as a volunteer there, with a "thank you" for her many years of service.
"It (the celebration) was something else," Isal said. "It was a real surprise. I had no idea they were going to do that. They really laid it on."
Isal began her volunteer work when the seniors met in the former American Legion Hall, one door east of Town Hall, she explained.
"I don't really keep track of dates," she said when asked how long she has been volunteering with the seniors. However, another member of the seniors organization recalls that the American Legion was at that location around the 1975 time frame -- 40 years ago.
Maybe the habit of not worrying about dates and times is good advice for other people who intend to keep on going like Isal does. She is used to living an active, self-reliant life.
"I painted houses and picked apples," she said of work she has supported herself by. "I painted the entire Horizons building inside and out," she noted. "That was before they put on the addition."
Isal has had three children. One of them is still living, close by, in the Surface Creek area, she said, and so she gets to see him regularly. Recently on an outing to the mountains for sightseeing and hiking, Isal stopped to admire some wildflowers. She then noticed her son was setting up to take a photo of her.
"What are you doing that for?" she asked.
He replied. "I just wanted to take a picture of a 91-year-old at 12,000 feet!"
Isal said, "I give the Lord the credit. I have enjoyed volunteering and have always wanted to help out when I could."
Though her many friends in the Surface Creek Senior Citizens organization won't see her every day, there will be plenty of chances to get caught up on life as she intends to stop in from time to time for lunch and friendly conversation. "You bet I will," she said.
But from now on, Isal will still be smiling as she becomes the one on the receiving end of the friendly service at the Surface Creek Senior Citizens noon meal site.