Agless Heroes Honored

They build churches, tutor children and stage puppet shows.

Those are just a few of the many ways a special group of senior citizens are involved in their communities.

Tuesday in Hattiesburg, "Blue Cross/Blue Shield" recognized 24 elderly Mississippians for their ongoing contributions after retirement age.

While many seniors see retirement as a time to rest, these folks consider it an opportunity to get busy.

The young at heart, Tommy Lasorda, offered words of thanks and encouragement at the Ageless Heroes luncheon. The 73 year old baseball Hall of Famer says many seniors do little or nothing in their retirement years.

"People who have reached the age, they don't want to do anything. They just sit around and mope and walk or whatever they think. But you did something. You did something to help other people," said Lasorda.

74 year old Jack Rogers of Biloxi is busier than ever these days. He's active with elder hostle programs and the Partners in Education program.

"My philosophy basically was that you don't retire from something, but you retire to something. And we've all learned a good bit regardless of what our career is or what our field is. And it's just a shame to have all that knowledge after 65 years and not share it with somebody."

Harry Tarrt of Gulfport lives to share with others. Now 92 years young, he's still quite active with youth in his community.

Pascagoula's John Engle also keeps a busy schedule at age 82. He helps tutor children and takes joy in seeing those youngsters succeed.

"It changes their attitude altogether. They become willing to learn and seek more help. And seek to improve. They want to bring that "C" up to a "B" and then to an "A"," said Engle.

Joe Moore of Gulfport helped build a new sanctuary at his Gulfport church. While Bob Daniels of Gulfport entertains children at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

All of these "Ageless Heroes" stay busy.

John Engle may have put it best.

"No plans to slowdown. Because that keeps me busy. Keeps me young."