Elevator opens the door to Aging in Paradise

Vice Mayor Dave Brenner, Longboat Commissioner Pat Zunz, Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie and Longboat Island Chapel Board President Sue Reese.

Dr. Elizabeth Colebrook prepares to cut the ribbon assisted by Mike Hodges.


A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new elevator was held at the Longboat Island Chapel Sunday, April 22 in their Fellowship Hall. It culminated a year of planning and preparation before it was built by Beyond Design.

However, the elevator dedication was not only about the elevator but also about moving forward with a great community project, Aging in Paradise, which now can become an active program, headquartered on the second floor. Its purpose is to reach out to the local community with resource information, services and a wide assortment of programs that focus on aging concerns. Having the second floor accessible enables everyone to reach events focusing on quality of life enhancement for the many retirees and older members of our community, including those using walkers, canes, wheelchairs and others with health issues.

Prior to the celebration, the major donor for the entire elevator project, Arnold Simonson, took the first initial elevator ride and a plaque near the elevator was placed in his honor. Cutting the ribbon for the elevator opening was Elizabeth Colebrook, who was honored as the first donor for the project, and Reverend Charles Shook gave the blessing during the ceremony. Michael Hodges, chairman of Building and Grounds, and Sue Reese, Board of Trustees president, also took part in the event.

Following the ribbon cutting, the elevator began transporting visitors and congregation members to the second floor to reveal a renovation project, including new carpeting, fans, paint and folding closet doors that surround the main room. Members of the Interior Beautification Committee, chaired by Laurie Shuttleworth, spent hours of volunteer time working on the renovation. They gave tours of the area, while refreshments were served by Virginia Steagall and her committee.

Aging in Paradise is a non-profit organization formed to help families and older citizens address aging concerns, sponsored by Longboat Island Chapel and chaired by Cindy Clay. For more information on Aging in Paradise or The Longboat Island Chapel, call (941) 383-6491.


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