Volunteers throw patriotic party for senior community

Site manager continues holiday tradition started by her mother
By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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A day to let down their hair, kick up their heels, and socialize with other Rocklin seniors gave the city?s older residents every reason to celebrate the nation?s 236th birthday. Seniors First Site Manager Kat Lombardi-Weeks works daily to make sure Rocklin seniors have a hot meal. Lombardi-Weeks is also known for throwing her own ?over-the-top? holiday parties that include live music and a savory smorgasbord. ?Kat just cares about everybody and likes to put on these parties for us,? said June Tortorello. ?Isn?t that goodie table amazing? It just brightens my day. I wouldn?t miss the excitement.? About 40 folks joined in on the festivities on July 3 at the Rolling Oaks Apartments off Springview Drive. But, Lombardi-Weeks would like to see more interest in her community events and the hot meal program. ?I want the community to know this is not just for the residents that live here,? she shared. ?This is for any senior, 60 and older you know in the whole Rocklin community. I?m here every day and I serve lunch at 11:30,? she said. ?Our whole point is to get each senior to have one hot meal a day. I know there are some seniors who don?t get that. We want to make it happen.? While Lombardi-Weeks is paid to ensure the Meals on Wheels program provides nutritious meal choices and daily social calls to homebound seniors, she loves to give back to her community with out-of-her-own-pocket Christmas and Fourth of July parties for the seniors she serves. It?s a family tradition she grew up with while watching her mother, a site manager in Lincoln until the age of 83, throw parties to brighten the days of those who could not always get out and about. ?We played for Kat?s mother for senior lunch events and now we play for Kat,? said Wasted Youth guitarist Bob Sherer, who grinned as he revealed his country folk band?s name stems from the unique backgrounds of the four band members. ?We walk out amongst people and we talk to them. It?s so great to watch these people mouthing along with the songs from the '50s and '60s. And we love Kat. She?s so sincere and she?s a giver just like her mother,? Sherer said. As Wasted Youth pianist Paul Daher joined in on a John Fogerty tune, partygoers enjoyed the festivities, including a raffle and party favors. ?I?ve been here at Rolling Oaks for four weeks now after moving here from the state of Missouri,? related John Ratcliff, a former Marine who fought in the Korean War and then spent his career as a United Methodist minister. ?I?m very impressed and very surprised with this party. We?ll have to get up and dance.? June Tortorello is a retired truck driver and a big fan of Wasted Youth because they bring the old train and truck songs such as ?Six Days on the Road? back into her life. ?The first time I shifted without the clutch, that song was playing,? she chuckled. ?I drove for Trans-Western Express. This band is just so upbeat.? Lombardi-Weeks encourages others to join the volunteer effort and give the older community a chance to celebrate in party fashion. ?We want them to come out of their apartments,? she shared. ?We want them to socialize with other people. What better way than to throw a party? And then you get these big smiles on their faces. It?s a way to give them something to look forward to,? she said. ?The goodie table is something we?ve done ever since Mom?s parties. We have appetizers, desserts, and everything in between.? Husband and wife band members Mike and Carol Percy enjoy bringing a beloved harmony back into the lives of seniors with loads of heart and soul. ?We just want to be able to give back,? shared vocalist Carol Percy. ?There?s nothing more wonderful.? Sherer wouldn?t have it any other way. ?Some of my friends from other bands say ?You?re going to play for free??? he said. ?And I laugh and say, ?You?ve got to be kidding.? If you could see the looks on these people?s faces you?ll know why I call it ?psychic income.? It is just a thrill to play for them and watch them. They come in with a walker and, if we can get a smile on their faces, you can?t buy that.?