If age is just a number then it will be a long time before four coast senior citizens show any signs of slowing down. A program that honors outstanding Mississippians over the age of 65 recognized Rosemary Finley of Long Beach, A.B. Taake and Bobbie McIntyre of Gulfport and Olive McKenna of Bay St. Louis as "Ageless Heroes ".
It took only a few moments for Olive McKenna to make her way through the crowd gathered at the Hattiesburg Convention Center, but becoming an "Ageless Hero" was an accomplishment 50 years in the making. That's how long the 84-year-old Bay St. Louis teacher has been introducing kindergartners and first graders to the world of learning.
"It's a matter of magic because I challenge them and I get them involved," said McKenna, who has already signed a contract to teach next year. "Then they start to join in and they're anxious to learn. They are ready."
Long Beach teacher Rosemary Finley was ready to rediscover what it was like to look through the eyes of a student. Though in her mid sixties, last year she went back to college and earned a 4.0 grade point average in the process.
"I love teaching. This is one of my students that I brought with me today. They keep me young, they keep me thinking and they keep me on my toes," said Finley.
All the Ageless Heroes had an impressive list of accomplishments. Many of them say continuing to make a difference in their golden years is less about age and more about attitude or a A.B. Taake calls it the three "Ls"
"The first 'L' is the Lord, the second 'L' is love, and the last 'L' represents laughter. If you keep these things in your life and you keep them in your career and your family as long as you keep them in this perspective then I think you'll have a happy life," Taake said.
The Ageless Hero award is sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. Rosemary Finley was a statewide winner is the Love of Learning category. Meanwhile A-B Taake, Olive McKenna, and Bobbie McIntyre were each regional winners.