Union retirees feted at holiday party

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 14, 2002

About 90 retirees and their guests attended the annual Local Union No. 26 UAW Christmas Party on Monday at the Suffolk Holiday Inn.

According to Belinda Evans, secretary-treasurer of the union, the purpose was to host an event so the retirees could socialize with each other for all of their hard work through the years.

&uot;Last year we held the party at the Shriners’ Club; this year we decided to move it so that they wouldn’t have to decorate and work,&uot; said Evans. &uot;We wanted them to be catered to instead of doing the catering,&uot;

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The union did not have to worry about who would provide them music because its president, Benford Hunter, also works as a DJ in his spare time. He played a variety of oldies, Christmas and line dance tunes.

Attendees got a surprise visit from Aaron D. Boone, chief probation parole officer. He is a native of Suffolk employed in Franklin and has strong ties to some retirees.

&uot;Somebody prayed for me so I can’t forget from where I came,&uot; Boone said. &uot;If you see me making a mistake, don’t talk about me, talk to me. I appreciate all that you have done for me and God has also used me for what He wants me to be.&uot;

A buffet luncheon was served. Planters and the Retirees Activity Club donated gifts to each retiree.

Three door prizes were also raffled to retirees and guests. Evans conducted both giveaways.

Benjamin Tanner, vice president of the union and the photographer for the evening, shot cruise ship-style photographs. Pictures were passed out to attendees at the end of the banquet free of charge.

Helen Williams, who was an employee in the salted peanut department at Planters for 27 years, said that it was beautiful the way that retirees could get together and talk about old times and about things that happened when they were working.

Helena Joyner was an employee at Planters Peanuts for 42 years.

&uot;I enjoyed those days and today I’m glad that I’m retired,&uot; Joyner said. &uot;I’m a person who loves people and I have enjoyed seeing how God has brought us all from a mighty long way.&uot;

Eleanor Clark was a short-term employee, but said she still enjoyed taking part in all the activities the union holds during the year.

Each retiree donates $1 a month to fund activities like the Christmas party. This year two of those included a summer trip to Chicago and a luncheon on the Spirit of Norfolk.