March 8 deadline to submit names of Tucson centenarians for celebration

Anyone who knows of a relative, neighbor or friend turning 100 years old or older this year can submit the centenarian’s name for recognition at a celebration.

The deadline for submission is March 8 for those age 99 and older living in Pima County. Names can be submitted to Jan Baker at 790-0504 or email jbaker@pcoa.org, event organizers said.

Tucson Medical Center and the Pima Council on Aging are hosting the 32nd annual Salute to Centenarians at a luncheon in May at the hospital. The theme is “Engage at Every Age.” Last year, 48 centenarians, accompanied by their guests, attended the event.

“When we recognize our centenarians each year, it is an opportunity to celebrate the experiences they have collected, the ways they have enriched the world and what they have taught us about the art of living,” said Maya Luria, TMC’s director of senior services.

“It’s a reminder to each of us to honor traditions and draw hope for the future,” Luria said. “And importantly, it is a chance for all of us to look at these role models and ask: How do we want to spend our years on this planet?”

A life story of those celebrated at the event, including photographs as youngsters on up through the years, will be shown during the program. Local politicians, among other community leaders, will present certificates to the honorees. Entertainment will be provided over lunch.

Students from The Gregory School will give memory boxes they made with a 3D printer to the centenarians.

The Pima Council on Aging, a nonprofit group that serves and advocates for older adults and their families, estimates there are more than 240 people age 100 and older living in the county and over 830 statewide.

Last year, the council identified 145 centenarians living in the Tucson area. There are an estimated 72,000 centenarians in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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