BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County still intends to honor its centenarians this year. The celebration just will have to wait a bit longer.
The seventh annual birthday party recognizing residents who will attain their 100th year during the ensuing 12 months has been delayed from its usual January date until perhaps April.
Jean Rags, director of the county's Health and Human Services Department, said the event had to be postponed because of the increased workload in her department and others under her jurisdiction, several of which help organize the celebration.
While the Health and Human Services Department has not had its staff cut during the ongoing county budget crunch, others areas such as the neighborhood outreach grant program have been trimmed, Rags explained.
The county contributes no money for the celebration, but it allows staff time to make the preparations, she said. For instance, for each honoree, contacts must be made to acquire celebratory and congratulatory letters from the president, members of Congress, Florida's governor, state legislators and Hernando County commissioners. Health and Human Services Department personnel also interview and write for publication brief biographies of each intended celebrant.
SunTrust Bank will once again donate its services, specifically a room festively decorated, individual family-sized cakes for each celebrant and his or her invited guests, punch and favor treats, as well as corsages or boutonnieres for the honorees.
An average of 10 centenarians have been recognized each year, Rags said.
The call seeking names of those who will reach their 100th birthday in 2010 will go out this month to social service agencies, assisted living facilities and home nursing providers, Rags noted. Individuals may submit the name of someone who qualifies for recognition by calling the Health and Human Services Department at (352) 540-4338.
"It's a nice project," Rags said. "We like to honor these citizens."
Beth Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.