Senior Spotlight

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Senior Spotlight

January 2013 - Beverly Lang

Beverly Lang began her work with the City of La Mirada in 1987 at the Kling Center serving meals to seniors. When the La Mirada Activity Center opened its doors in 2001, the City of La Mirada and the Southeast Area Social Services Funding Authority (SASSFA) created the Café on the Green lunch program, which caters to seniors in La Mirada and the surrounding communities. Beverly has supervised the Café on the Green program for twelve years and she has done it with complete sincerity. Beverly, along with her wonderful volunteers, has ensured that participants of the program not only receive a well balanced meal, but also a place for socialization. She has created a welcoming atmosphere for seniors, giving them a sense of community, which she feels is a very important aspect in healthy aging.

Beverly was born and raised in Cass County, Minnesota. In 1988, Beverly moved to the City of La Mirada and has been a resident since. Aside from working the Café in the Green program, creating lifelong friendships with staff and patrons, Beverly also enjoys staying home and watching Hallmark movies.

February 2013 - Evelyn Lejack

One year shy of being a centenarian, Evelyn Lejack recently celebrated her 99th birthday with her friends at the La Mirada Activity Center. Evelyn was born on January 7, 1914 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Evelyn has seen the many phases of fashion and beauty having worked as a cosmetologist for many years. As a La Mirada resident, Evelyn loves being a part of the senior community. She looks forward to socializing with her friends over lunch during the Café on the Green program.

On her spare time, Evelyn enjoys dancing, singing, and keeping up with current events by reading the daily newspaper. She enjoys spending time with her husband Andrew, to whom she has been married to for over 40 years. Evelyn and Andrew have 4 grown children and 4 grand children.

March 2013 - Jorge Valdes

Jorge Valdes was born in the province of Havana, Cuba. At the early age of eleven he began his art studies at the “Circulo de Bellas Artes” of Havana. Upon his arrival in the United states, Mr. Valdes worked six years for the Museum of Reproductions. While there, he conducted the final phase of work to fine art reproductions of famous art works from museums such as the Louvre Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

In 1978, he became an Art and Spanish Language Professor. In 1980, he received his Master’s Degree from the University City College of New York. Mr. Valdes has received enormous acclaim for his art works. He received first prize twice for his piece “Haitian Girl” and third prize for his “Fertility” at separate art competitions celebrated at the La Mirada Art Gallery.

Mr. Valdes has had his fine art exhibitions at a variety of galleries and venues, including the Anaheim Museum, Bata Gallery, the Arts Colony of La Mirada, Brea Civic Art Gallery, and others. Mr. Valdes currently instructs Beginning Spanish for the City of La Mirada and his beautiful art work is displayed at the front lobby of the La Mirada Activity Center.

April 2013 - Bob Barreda

Bob Barreda and his wife Linda have been residents of La Mirada for the past 42 years. Mr. Barreda was honorably discharged as a Staff Seargent from the United States Army in 1961. Soon after his service with the Army he attended computer school, where he learned how to use personal computers. From there, Mr. Barreda worked for Douglas Aircraft while attending CSULB to receive a degree in Criminal Justice. His education and experience led to a career with the California Youth Authority in Whittier where he later transferred to Adult Parole and worked for a total of 32 years, and retired as a Lieutenant.

He presently serves as the SeniorNet Coordinator and enjoys providing seniors with life long learning opportunities in computers while enhancing their quality of life. Mr. Barreda also enjoys gardening, target practice, wood working, handyman work, and short trip travel in his spare time.

May 2013 - Marlene Olsen

For over 10 years, Mrs. Olsen has contributed countless hours to the community. She was appointed to the City’s Senior Council in 2003 and served through 2011 as the representative for Lake Park. During her time on the Council, Mrs. Olsen volunteered for various City events including Mother Daughter Tea, the annual Flu Clinic, Spring Beautification, Love a Tree Poster Contest, Halloweenfest, Healthy Parks, Senior Nutrition Program, Facility Greeter, Easter Event, Birthday Celebrations, the Holiday Event, and most recently the Income Tax Assistance Program.

Mrs. Olsen was appointed to the La Mirada Historical Preservation Advisory Council when it was established in 2006, and is currently serving her 7th year on the Council. Mrs. Olsen has contributed her time and knowledge of the City’s rich history to enlighten the public as a trained docent of the Neff Estate during monthly tours. Mrs. Olsen continues to speak to hundreds of children about the City’s past, and the importance of preserving it through the Historical Council’s “Classroom Presentation Program”. 

June 2013 - Lawrence McCollum

Mr. McCollum was born on December 6, 1928 in Manila, Philippines where his father was stationed as a Naval Officer. Mr. McCollum served in the United States Army for 10 years as a Master Sergeant before graduating with his Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He was employed by the Hughes Aircraft Company for nine years before retiring from Sperry Flight Systems after 19 years of working in the Research and Development department as an Electronics Engineer. Upon retirement, Mr. McCollum moved to La Mirada in November 1996.

Mr. McCollum has been a member of the Senior Council since its inception in 2000 as the representative for Vista Alicante and is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9148. Mr. McCollum is also involved in the Current Events group and the Veterans History Project. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, walking, and continues to volunteer at various City events and functions. Mr. McCollum especially enjoys volunteering at the Veterans Observance Event and the annual Memorial Day Service. 

July 2013 - Michael Hilland

Mr. Hilland was born on February 4, 1937 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. At 16 years old, he worked at Saxone Shoe Company before joining the British Army in 1955 where he served under the Royal Scots Fuseliers until 1958. He then joined the reserve married his wife that same year.

In April of 1965, Mr. Hilland moved to the United States and resided in Bell Gardens, California. He worked for Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 1966 as a member of the fleet service before retiring as a Crew Chief in 2002. Upon retirement, Mr. Hilland started to take SeniorNet courses held at the La Mirada Activity Center. With encouragement from other members, he joined SeniorNet and has been volunteering his time and knowledge in teaching seniors their way around computers and the internet for the past ten years.

In his free time, he likes to spend time with his 4 children, 6 grandkids, and 2 great grandkids. He likes to travel, go on trips in his RV, and camp. He also enjoys the regular lunches he attends with his lifelong friends from TWA and making new ones at the
Activity Center. 

 August 2013 - Beverly Barker 

Beverly Baker was born on October 25 in Bell, California. She has been a resident of La Mirada since 1962.

Beverly is an integral part of the bread distribution program. She picks up the bread and bakery items from Panera Bread and delivers them to the Activity Center where she, along with other community
volunteers distribute these items to seniors every Monday.

Beverly worked at local markets in their Accounting Department for over 34 years before retiring. In her spare time, she likes to knit and crochet. Beverly also attends the Café on the Green program and
enjoys playing Bingo with friends.  

September 2013 -  Lorrie Larson

Lorrie Larson was born on September 6, 1923 as the youngest of four children in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Lorrie and her family moved to
California in 1937. She lived in Lincoln Heights before moving to
Highland Park with her husband, Gil, then relocating to La Mirada in 1955 with her two children, Linda and Scott.

Lorrie became a charter member of the La Mirada Ebell in 1955 and after retiring as an office manager in 1993, she also began
volunteering her time with Meals On Wheels. After  58 years in the
La Mirada Ebell, and 20 years with MOW, Lorrie continues to enjoy making a difference. She also enjoys playing Bridge, reading, and
being involved with her church.

October 2013 - Elisa Botbyl

Elisa Botbyl has been a La Mirada resident for the past 32 years, she  was born on
December 11, 1940 in Soekaboemi, Indonesia.  Elisa was a six time Netherlands
National Champion in fencing and was given the opportunity to travel across the globe. At the age of 20, she represented the Netherlands in the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Elisa retired as a Financial Controller for the Skin and Beauty Supply Company. In her spare time, she enjoys staying active with sports, including sailing and tennis. She also enjoys attending the LMAC to socialize with her friends, many of whom she’s met through playing billiards.

November 2013 - Charles Geitner

Charles Geitner was born in East Peoria, Illinois on January 23. 1929. Drafted into the service during the Korean War, Charles served in the United States Army from 1950 through 1955 under Company C, 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th infantry division. Through the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, Charles was able to obtain a Bachelors of Arts Degree in History and went on to receive his Masters degree. Charles spent 3 years as a Social Studies teacher at a middle school and 37 years teaching high school History and Political Science. He also spent 10 years as a tutor in the Naperville School District and helped create a high school class focusing on local and State governments. Charles coordinated the Veterans Oral History Project in Naperville which had some 500 Veterans’ accounts including those from the Hines Central Blind Rehabilitation Center. After moving to Fullerton, California in 2010 to be closer to his son, Charles continues to cater to his interests by attending a weekly poetry class and the Veterans History Group at the La Mirada Activity Center. Charles is also an avid fan of gardening and holds a brown belt in karate.

Charles has two children, Lorin and Susie.

December 2013 - Robin Miller

Robin Miller was born on October 4, 1955 in Los Angeles, California. In 1967  Robin and her family moved to La Mirada. Robin was raised in La Mirada and graduated from La Mirada High School before attending Cerritos College. She has been a resident for 46 years and has selflessly served her community all her adult life.

Robin’s volunteer work began at the La Mirada Volunteer Center and the City’s Human Services Department located in the former Kling Center, by delivering daily meals to homebound seniors Robin was gratified knowing she was assisting those in need. As the Meals on Wheels coordinator was preparing to retire she advised Robin to apply for the position.  Robin accepted the position in 1985 and has been the Meals on Wheels coordinator for the last 30 years. In 1990 Robin began working with Straight Talk Incorporated, an organization offering counseling services to local individuals, families, couples, groups, teens, and seniors.

After several decades working with Meals on Wheels and Straight Talk Robin continues to feel blessed in having the opportunity to serve others. Robin is also committed to several local animal rescue organizations, including those for dogs and farm animals.