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WICHITA, Kansas – At 100 years-old, most centenarians lead a slower paced life. That is certainly not the case for Opal Wilson of Hutchinson, Kansas.
At 100, Ms. Wilson has been the state’s outstanding senior volunteer for the year.
Ms. Wilson has done just about everything, including volunteering at the local Red Cross, at the courthouse and at her beloved Elmdale Wellness Center in Hutchinson.
“We have card bingo on Wednesdays and i have to set that up and get the prizes for that and Bunco on Monday afternoon, I get it ready” said Wilson.
She is quick to go through her role as event organizer.
“OK. Ya’ll just settle and when I get through announcements you can eat but you can’t eat before I get through,” Wilson says with a smile.
“When they found out I had worked in the school lunch service they said we need help in the kitchen would you help us in the kitchen?” Wilson said.
Wilson has long been a volunteer.
She worked on the county sheriff patrol and at the local college radio station.
So, what drives her to keep giving to others?
“Being with people. Talking to somebody. Being around people. I love to be around people,” said Wilson.
A lifelong resident in Hutchinson, Opal and her husband Bill had two kids.
Bill passed away 16 years ago but Opal still lives in the home they bought in 1974.
She does her own laundry and cooks, though not often she admits.
She still drives and flies once or twice a year to visit family.
“When I go down to Texas I get to fly in his powered parachute and that is a lot of fun,” Wilson said.
She says she feels like she’s 70, loves to dance and could be found at the weekly dances.
Her lifestyle was tested when she hit a few bumps in the road these past few years.
“I had two knee replacements, a mastectomy and broke my hip but I never let any of it bother me,” said Wilson.
A lesson for those following behind her.
“As soon as I was able to get up and go again I did. And i think that’s what you have to do is take what comes and make the best of it and keep going,” she adds.