By OPAL FLINN

Special to The Hays Daily News

ELLIS -- It was 17 years ago the Ellis AARP Chapter thought the older residents in the Ellis area, those reaching a special milestone in their lives, should be honored for their positive influential contributions to the community.

The chapter decided to have an annual celebration, inviting those who were 80, 90, and 100 years old to be honored guests.

The 17th annual milestone ages birthday dinner sponsored by Ellis AARP was Oct. 4 in the Ellis United Methodist Church.

The honored guests born in 1908, 1918 and 1928 and their special guests were seated at decorated tables and everyone was served a delicious meal prepared by EUMC Women.

Ellis Mayor Dave McDaniel gave the welcome including humorous memories of past days. The honorees related to these comments with smiles of approval.

As the master of ceremonies, John Rupp introduced the honorees and told funny stories. They say laughter is good for your health and makes for a memorable day. How true.

This year, there were two guests 90 years old, and 13 80-year-old guests. The 100-year-old guest, Thelma Snell, was unable to attend. The emcee gave the honorees the opportunity to tell about themselves and their families if they wished to do so. The men and women shared stories of their families, where they grew up, who they married, how they made a living, their children and happy memories.

These wonderful seniors have given their time to make Ellis a great place to live, to raise a family and to retire in. Many are still active in the church and organizations, sharing the wisdom gained through years of experience.

Everyone had a fun time. The Ellis Chapter works so well together they need a pat on the back. Job well done.

Plans are already being made for 2009. If you were born in 1909, 1919 or 1929, it will be your turn to be an honoree.