A young Betty Ehart. Courtesy photo
A portrait of Betty Ehart hangs in the Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos. Courtesy photo
BY BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
LARSO Executive Director
While Betty’s birthday is actually in November, the Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos will celebrate 22 years next Friday, June 12 in a variety of ways.
When local senior center member Kari Lier shared the birthday idea with friend Suzanne Bell, the event took wings. Bell is the daughter of Betty Ehart, one of the driving forces behind the committee that worked to make the Los Alamos center what it is today.
“She would have been thrilled,” said Bell. “She worked so hard to see it through and now the Center is serving the community just as she hoped it would. She would have pretended to be embarrassed that it was named after her, but secretly she would love it.”
While we lost Betty in 1995, according to Bell, the center was her dream. She was in the hospital and the plans for the center were delivered for her to see. Bell believes that since she passed on shortly afterwards, she knows she waited to see those plans first. The work of that small committee would take place. LARSO, the non-profit that runs both senior centers was born and Betty’s doors opened on June 14, 1998.
When an old newsletter was discovered touting the Grand Opening, the idea to celebrate began in earnest. The focus was not to benefit just the Betty Ehart Center but White Rock too. What improvements could each make after this virus infiltrated our lives and changed our world. There was a desire to acknowledge the valiant efforts of a staff that has never worked harder then this moment. The icing on the cake, if you will, was to request donations and promise to spend every penny locally.
Los Alamos MainStreet was approached for a small publicity grant, the Los Alamos Reporter put $60 towards that and LARSO was off to the races. The first week, fresh herbs and dirt to amend the soil were purchased for White Rock Chef Mike Mason and sous chef Aliki Benjamin. The White Rock Metzger’s purchase was the starting point. The Los Alamos Metzger’s will be next with some stain to freshen the portico for Betty’s Day Out seniors. This week, both centers held their first face to face staff meeting while enjoying baked goods and drinks from the Pig and Fig and the Los Alamos Co-op.
“Right now, continues to be a critical time to support local businesses in safe ways, which includes ordering takeout or delivery, shopping their online stores, and purchasing gift cards now for use at a later time,” says Lauren McDaniel, Director of Los Alamos MainStreet. “We are excited to support community-driven initiatives like Betty’s Birthday, hosted by the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization, which continue to emphasize buying local.”
On Friday, June 12, both centers will host free cupcakes from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. with the hope you will donate one dollar toward their goal. Rumor has it that small party favors are in store and a donation allows you the chance to win prizes. Finally, if you love reserving their drive thru lunches, cupcakes are also the dessert of the day. The golden melodious tones of socially distanced and masked HillStrummers hope to boost your mood.
If you would like to contribute to the fundraiser, you may also drop off an envelope at either of the senior centers. Call (505) 662-8920 for more information.