About 100 Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community seniors whose birthdays fall between October and December came out on December 17 to celebrate their birthdays at a special party hosted by Casino Arizona.
This event was more than just a birthday party—it was also a moment in time for the seniors to get together to reminisce and catch up with each other’s lives.
For the past several years, Casino Arizona has hosted these quarterly birthday parties for the seniors of the Community. Casino Arizona President and CEO Jon Jenkins said that he felt it was important to celebrate seniors’ birthdays and knew that it would be impossible to have a party each month, so he came up with the clever idea to host a quarterly party, which is held at the casino’s Eagles Buffet.
Willardine Sampson, whose birthday is on December 30, enjoys coming to the quarterly birthday party, because events like these remind her how much she misses her “big family gatherings.” She received birthday hugs from many of the other honorees. Today Sampson is a judicial studies major at Scottsdale Community College. She said she feels young still, but, “My body is saying different—[it’s saying] take care of me.”
Twin sisters Gale Biakeddy and Dale Waters came out to celebrate their 65th birthday, which was on November 5.
Rose Ringlero, whose birthday is in December, said that sometimes she misses “being a child” going to the Phoenix Indian School, but that she has nothing but good memories of growing older.
Jenkins made sure everyone had a great time and had enough to eat.
The marketing manager of Casino Arizona, Ramon Martinez, joked that this year would be the first year that he was not only a host, but also a guest, since this year he is considered a senior.