Thursday, November 24, 2005

Those Old Folks Just Love to Get Naked

Seniors bare it all to raise funds

November 23, 2005

"The only thing worse than being asked to pose nude would be not being asked," joked former sheriff's deputy and radio personality Don Parker -- one of the men, women and couples over the age of 60 who took it all off for the Council on Aging of West Florida's 2006 Perfectly Aged fundraising calendar.

The black and white photographs feature not only some of Pensacola, Florida's most historic and popular landmarks, but a baker's dozen of community leaders as never seen before -- including cover girl and arts patron Gerda Gernon who gives new meaning to the term opera "buff" as she strikes a pose under the stage lights of the Saenger Theatre in little more than long gloves and heels.

Though it's all in good taste and fun -- it is for a good cause. "The proceeds from the calendar will be used to provide services to area seniors currently on the waiting list for assistance who are designated as in immediate danger of institutionalization if in-home services such as Meals on Wheels and Alzheimer's respite care are not available," said Council public information manager Jeff Nall.

Gernon's and Parker's fellow models include a retired doctor, his wife and their dog, Tiger, enjoying the outdoors au naturale, an educator and local artist smiling from behind her work, a drink bearing restauranteur, a real estate developer speed boating across Pensacola Bay sans tan lines, a businessman and car expert alongside his Viper convertible with the door open just right, a former ad agency owner toasting the good life -- and even the Mayor Emeritus and his wife.

"We like to do things out of the box and have fun. There is fun in aging," explained prominent businessman and Mayor Emeritus Vince Whibbs, who posed in downtown's Seville Square alongside his lovely wife Anna, clad in a black bow tie and black patent leather shoes, while holding a strategically placed heart that reads "I Love Anna." Mrs. Whibbs, posed beside her husband in heels, pearls and a big smile, as she holds her heart that proudly proclaims "Vince Loves Me," explained how they talked it over with their priest, their seven children, 26 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren before "deciding to do it for the well-being of our community."

And in Escambia County, Fla., ranked 17th in the U.S. Census Bureau 2003 American Community Survey of poverty levels by county with 19 percent of the population living below the poverty level, that is good news for the community. With the majority of those in need of services from Council being lower-income individuals, helping seniors live independently in their own homes makes sense for taxpayers. Nursing home care, a more expensive alternative, would be paid for by Medicaid funds, a combination of state and federal tax revenue.

Calendars are available at Happy News or by phone at (850) 432-1475. Unsigned Calendars are $25. Limited edition, autographed calendars are $40.

After is for a good cause, but as John Paul Whibbs, 10, said, "The best part of all is Nana's legs!"



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