High-Flying Silver Angel’s Volunteerism is Well-Grounded

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John Knox Village honored 11 distinguished senior volunteers from the area this past June during its Eighth Annual Silver Angels Award dinner and ceremony.

Nominated by their respective places of worship for volunteering above and beyond the call of duty, these Silver Angels selfishly and tirelessly aid others with their time, talents and efforts.

The John Knox Village Silver Angel Awards celebrate these humble heroes who quietly go about their good works in a genuine sense of humanitarian charity.

Ours is a richer, better community thanks in great measure to these Silver Angels.

It might seem a bit obvious to describe as high-flying a John Knox Village Silver Angel award winner. Certainly such is the case with one of the honorees – Anita Terraneo, nominated for the distinction by the adult activities director at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale.

Three years ago, at the tender age of 90, Anita celebrated that birthday by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. “I would skydive again tomorrow if they would let me; it was the closest to Heaven I’ve been to. . .yet,” said the deeply religious now 93-year-old.

“I’ve never been afraid of heights and skydiving was such a feeling of freedom. I lived near the top of South Mountain Reservation in Millburn, New Jersey, so growing up I always felt on top of the world.”

Anita has seemingly always had a thrill-seeking streak to her. She and her husband moved to the rather undeveloped wilds of Broward County in 1952 from New Jersey after he struggled with post-World War II health issues.

Once here she raised a daughter and son and went on to a successful nursing career at Broward General, Holy Cross and the one-time Cypress Community Hospital, now a Christian conference center called The Forum, just outside the John Knox Village campus.

“It might have seemed daring to come down when there was hardly anything in Fort Lauderdale, but the weather was literally what the doctor ordered. And it worked. My husband lived to be 73 years old.”

Spending her lifetime as a personal and professional caregiver offers a more relevant perspective on staying healthy for which Anita has a two-word not-so-secret philosophy that has kept her going well into her ninth decade—“Stay Active!”

To that end Anita plays tennis twice a week, exercises the other days and spends as much time as possible in Fort Lauderdale volunteering at First Presbyterian Church.

“I’ve outlived all my friends,” she said. “They used to play bingo and take pills. I decided a long time ago, not me. Some of it is family genes, but I’ve always had the outlook of ‘use it or lose it.’ So, I use it.”

Anita’s spirited volunteerism and nearly endless supply of energy are what led Tricia Young, the church’s Adult Activity Center (AAC) Director, to nominate Anita for the Silver Angels Award.

Among the accomplishments for which Anita was lauded were the hours she spent as an AAC Board member, while also helping feed more than 100 people every week by setting the tables, helping the chef prepare the meals, serving the dishes and then cleaning up.

After she leaves the dining hall, Anita can then be found serving in First Presbyterian’s Craft Ministry sewing dresses that are given to homeless families as part of the Hope South Florida organization.

“Anita is one of most reliable and hardworking volunteers we have (at any age but) at the age of 93,” Tricia wrote in her nomination to John Knox Village. “Anita inspires everyone that she meets with her youthful attitude and her willingness to serve others.”

John Knox Village Voice readers interested in learning more about First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale can visit its Website at (www.firstpres.cc) or by calling (954) 462-6200.

Even though John Knox Village is a non-denominational Continuing Care Retirement Community, we take extreme pride in providing free transportation for our residents who attend 10 area places of worship. In addition to which we also have our own services every Sunday—at 10 a.m. in the Health Center and 10:45 a.m. in The Village Centre Chapel within our Auditorium.