From as far away as China, and all compass points in Allegheny County, more than 535 older adults turned out for the “Senior Lives Matters” Justice and Wellness Expo on May 10, making it the most well attended local event during last month’s national celebration of Older Americans Month. The free public expo took place at the IBEW Circuit Center on the South Side.
The gathering was hosted by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. as “a celebration of the Greatest Generation and the next-to-the-greatest-generation.” Seniors received a wealth of information on topics that really matter in their lives from local professionals from the legal and senior justice system, as well as wellness and health services providers.
“Our office works with a lot of people and organizations in our community,” D.A. Zappala, Jr. says. “It was great to see those folks all working to bring together and celebrate the people we owe so much, the people who created the legacy we enjoy today by their hard work, sacrifice and great example.”
In his welcome, D.A. Zappala, Jr. also shared the fact that, “If you took the total number of people born before 1958 living in the county, it would be the third largest city in Pennsylvania” and lightheartedly added that he would soon be a resident of that city. He applauded the work of his Senior Justice Advocates, Ron Deutsch and Dick Skrinjar, for their continued work in addressing senior interests from his office and the many successes they’ve had in helping to complete his mission around the prevention, investigation and prosecution of elder fraud, abuse and neglect.
The event began with the Senior Lives Matters Panel, moderated by Common Pleas Court Judge David Spurgeon. Assistant District Attorney Julie Capone of the Senior Justice Division was joined by Chief Ken Truever from Castle Shannon, president of the Allegheny County Police Chiefs Association, Robert Peirce from Peirce & Associates (a leading Elder Law Firm in Pittsburgh) and Tom Sobieralski from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging.
After the panel, senior fitness expert Bonnie Banze gave a demonstration of chair yoga. Gourmet box lunches were provided by the Fluted Mushroom at 11:30 a.m. Attendees then witnessed the “greatest unmanned airshow on earth” by drones, presented by John Hudson of Security Solutions, Inc., followed by a talk by Pittsburgh’s own award-winning organic gardener and “king of composting” Doug Oster; he held the attention of the avid gardeners in the audience with his wit and wisdom about the Mystic Illusion Dahlia to the Cherokee Purple tomato.
The day also included health screenings, wellness information and door prizes. IBEW Local #5 and the Allegheny County Police Chiefs Association served as event sponsors.
Feature photo caption: Lois Cain of Stanton Heights with Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Julie Capone.