About seven years ago Sara Burnett’s husband was asked if he’d been interesting in playing music at the Highland County Senior Citizen in Hillsboro. He said yes, Sara went along, and she has enjoyed the place so much that this week she was named 2016 Senior of the Year by a vote of the center’s membership.
“It was truly surprised, but it was quite an honor. It lets you know you’re liked,” Sara said.
Burnett is not a resident of Highland County. She and her husband, Larry, live in Reesville in Clinton County near Sabina. She was originally from Wilmington and he was from Washington C.H., so now they live in between their hometowns where they are close to both families.
It was about seven years ago when Larry got a call from a friend asking if he’d be interested in playing in the Sunshine Band at the senior center. The friend had tried it out and said it wasn’t for him, but thought Larry might enjoy it. Now, Sara said, Larry considers playing with Donnie Pierson at the center an honor.
“He about the best guitar player around,” Sara said.
She said that while it was the music that first brought them to the center, “We like bingo, card games, Bunco, and the music, but most of all we like the people. And we just love (executive director) Mechell (Frost). She does a great job and is a really hard worker. We have so many friends here at the senior center. We really enjoy it.”
Burnett volunteers at the center for banquets and has made crafts that she sells for the center’s benefit. She also volunteers for the center’s popular Hee Haw show, performing many crowd-favorite comedy skits, according to Frost.
“Sara is a friendly face at the center. When new people come she’s one of the first people I introduce them to because she enjoys people and enjoys encouraging them to get involved with the center,” Frost said.
A 1960 graduate of Wilmington High School, Sara went on to Ohio State University for two years and met Larry there. They have been married for 53 years. She was a stay at home mother and raised five children. After the youngest one was out of high school, she starting substituting in several positions at the East Clinton schools and did that for nine years.
“Then my husband was asked to play in the Sunshine Band and I went along with him. We both like it really well and just kept coming back,” Sara said.
So what we would she tell other people who have thought about joining the center?
“I would say there’s a bunch of friendly people there, and lots to do,” Sara said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.