Vaccines bring joy and hope to Opelika seniors gathering again

Alabama News

OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Emotional reunions are happening for many seniors as they become fully vaccinated and begin to leave their homes and resume public life. The first visit is with family as parents see their children again and grandparents reunite with their beloved grandchildren. In

During quarantine and before vaccinations, News 3 did a few stories with Opelika Recycled Teens, a 62 plus group in Opelika. They had to stop traveling and gathering together due to the virus. The group went online and played quarantine bingo and stayed connected with Zoom. Many of the group’s 350 members are fully vaccinated and are starting to gather in person again.

Wednesday, a group gathered in person at the Opelika SportsPlex to learn the latest dances from their instructor and group organizer, Valerie White.

“You just saw Val’s Dance Party, and that’s so we can be ready for anyone’s wedding or graduation or any kind of party that might come up or group is ready. Now that people are getting vaccinated, or seniors are starting to come back and laugh together again,” said White.

Kathy Johnston says it feels so good to be back with her friends again.

“I feel like I have been let out of a cage, and it’s great. My whole attitude and my lookout for life are so much better. We play it smart and keep our masks on and stay in our little spots six feet away. We are still very careful, and I’ve had both my shots,” said Johnston.

Lori Wilheit agrees. She stayed in contact with the group via online activities and is more thankful than ever to be back and vaccinated with her friends.

“They took such good care of us during the shutdown and kept us online and on the internet, and now we are back together, and it’s a whole new world,” said Wilheit.

Madison Harrison lost his 42-year-old son due to COVID complications. It was a heartbreaking loss for his family. Harrison calls White and his Recycled Teen friends a lifeline.

“It feels good. I just missed the group. We’ve been traveling together for a while, and it’s been a while since we have been able to go anywhere,” said Harrison.

The group understands COVID-19 is still a serious issue. Ann Jenkins says while it’s a beautiful gathering, she does so safely.

” I still don’t let my guard down. I wash my hands and mask, and I think we all need to be doing that for a while,” said Jenkins.

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