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Bolton Seniors honored at annual cookout

By Ann Needle

The Friends of Bolton Seniors annual cookout at Davis Hall on Aug. 20 (Ann Needle photo)

Summer is winding down, but the season was in full swing last Tuesday, thanks to the Friends of Bolton Seniors. FOBS hosted its annual cookout for Bolton seniors on Aug. 20, and once again filled the First Parish of Bolton’s Davis Hall with seniors, friends, and the many volunteers who make it happen.

With volunteers that included the Bolton Lions, Harvard Boy Scouts and Trinity Church youth groups, FOBS offered a variety of barbecue fare, salads, sides and desserts in salute to the end of summer. Once guests filled up at the ample buffet, the scouts and other volunteers kept drinks filled, plates re-filled, and tableware delivered and collected.

State officials Rep. Kate Hogan and State Sen. Dean Tran dined with the guests, along with Bolton Town Administrator Don Lowe and Selectman Bob Czekanski.

The Best of Us

In a new tradition this year, the town’s senior supporters presented honors to some special residents.

Bolton Cane holder Ruea Baum

Ruea Baum, 97, was presented the “Bolton Cane” as the town’s oldest citizen. Presenting the cane on behalf of the selectmen, Czekanski told the audience that the Bolton Cane was a direct descendant of a renowned gift from the former Boston Post newspaper in 1909 of “Boston Post canes” to the Post’s surrounding cities and towns. In turn, each town was to present its cane to its oldest citizen.

Czekanski noted that Baum was not the first Bolton recipient of the cane, but the tradition had simply faded for a while. He reported the Bolton Cane would be kept on display at Bolton Town Hall after the presentation. In exchange, the selectmen presented Baum with an engraved glass apple to mark the occasion.

As for Baum, she spoke of being born Ruea Wheeler on a farm on Sugar Road, which had no electricity until her teen years. She recalled her days of serving in World War II as a U.S. Army nurse in England and France, something she has detailed for history chronicles kept by the Bolton Historical Society and the Worcester Women’s History Project.

Asked about her first name, Baum smiled. “My mother thought there were too many Wheelers,” and her name would help Ruea stand out.

Outstanding Senior of the Year
Bob Johnson

Also honored was Bob Johnson, who was named Outstanding Senior by the Bolton Council on Aging for his devotion to several volunteer activities across town. COA Program and Outreach Coordinator Heather Goodsell explained this was the first year the COA used public nominations to determine who received the honor.

In listing Johnson’s many volunteer activities, such as the Bolton Conservation Trust and Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley, Goodsell focused on his work with Bolton Access TV, where “Bob has fixed so many things you couldn’t list them.” Later, Johnson shrugged off his involvement with Bolton TV, praising his next-door neighbor Rick Merrill for starting the station and bringing in Johnson to help. Johnson also heaped praise on the Nashoba Rotary, which he credited with accomplishing much locally and internationally in its seven years.

Looking back at his years in town since moving to Bolton in 1987, Johnson’s advice to others was, “Get involved in activities and volunteer.”

Reflecting that spirit was the Rev. Richard Jones of First Parish, who told the seniors during his blessing, “You represent the best of us.”



The Friends of Bolton Seniors 19th annual Senior Cookout held on Tuesday, August 20, was a smashing success.  For the approximately 80 people who attended, there was plenty of delicious food, lively entertainment, and genuine camaraderie. 

None of this would have been possible if not for the many groups and individuals who stepped forward and provided goods and services and worked very hard with setting up the day before and on the day of the cookout. 

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the following:  the First Parish of Bolton, especially Shirley Sefton for her hard work and tireless energy; Herb Cabral, Guy Tucker and Rene Goutte of the Bolton Lions Club, for mastering the grill;  Applefield Farm for providing the flowers and Teresa Sauer and Martha Remington for turning them into stunning arrangements; Tim Fiehler and Roland Ochsenbein for the jazzy music; Advisory Committee member Brian Boyle for doing a commendable job as Bingo caller; Bolton Orchards for the refreshing watermelon; Troop 1 Harvard Boy Scouts, and Holy Trinity CCD members for all their help setting up and serving; Linda Day and our new Town Secretary Jenny Jacobson for coordinating the salad donations; and the many town employees, FOBS and COA members, and residents who brought salads and helped serve. 

A thank you also to our State Representative Kate Hogan and State Senator Dean Tran for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend. 

And, of course, a special thanks to the Bolton seniors who came out that day and had a great time.

Mary Ciummo, president of Friends of Bolton Seniors