Six officers from CHP volunteer as part of the United Way’s Day
Gilroy – A dozen pairs of eyes watch every move California Highway Patrol Sgt. Dave Hill makes. His right hand turns a metal crank, churning a circular container filled with wooden balls.
Anxious fingers clasp red, white, and blue plastic chips.
“B-17,” he yells, reading the number off a tiny bead.
Excited squeals escape a few of the senior citizens at the Live Oak Adult Day Services center, where about 20 seniors are playing BINGO with six volunteers from CHP for the United Way’s Day of Caring on Tuesday.
“We asked for someone to come out and socialize and have an ice cream party with us,” said Program Director Cheryl Huguenor. Officer Chris Armstrong hand-picked the Live Oak program for volunteers to participate in locally.
For about three hours, CHP volunteers spent time chatting, playing BINGO and serving a pork loin lunch to the seniors enrolled in the program.
Armstrong ate lunch with husband and wife team, Aurora and Carlos.
“It was really good to speak with them on an individual basis,” he said. “We had a lot of one-on-one time. I felt very effective and it allowed them a little more freedom to share.”
Aurora and Carlos have been attending Live Oak Adult Day Services for about one year. They come twice a week for the company.
“We needed to get out and socialize,” she explained.
And socialize they did.
The seniors exchanged stories with the CHP volunteers, telling of World War II events. Others joked with the CHP officers.
Edna “The Bingo Queen,” sat in between Armstrong and officer Kevin Alexander during the game. Both kept glancing at her card after each number was read – there was personal pride at stake.
“I’m coming after you,” Armstrong said, placing a plastic chip on his sheet.
As the afternoon came to a close, the seniors applauded the volunteers for their efforts.
“They were all excited when they heard (CHP) was coming,” Huguenor explained. “(The seniors) were very honored to have them here.”