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Friday, October 30, 2020
Opinion Commentary: Empowering Seniors 2020 Goes Virtual

Commentary: Empowering Seniors 2020 Goes Virtual

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Empowering Seniors 2020

Cost: Free

Location: Virtual event available on computers, tablets and smartphones

Date: Friday, Oct. 2

Time: 10 a.m.-noon

Websitewww.EmpoweringSeniors.com

To register or for information: call (817) 248-6295

This award-winning event for seniors, caregivers and baby boomers is going virtual this year due to the pandemic. It will feature “Ask the Doctor” panels, health and senior-focused workshops, entertainment and Bingo

As the pandemic’s impact grew we made a commitment in June: We would move forward with Empowering Seniors in a virtual fashion. And so it will: Friday, Oct. 2 – on your desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone.

GARY FICKE

Empowering Seniors 2020 Goes Virtual

How do you respond when a worldwide pandemic threatens to interrupt not just our American way of life, but also one of your major events that has positively impacted the lives of thousands of attendees?

Gary Fickes

That’s what I was facing in early April as we tried to predict the trajectory of the pandemic that closed our schools and so many of our businesses. This crisis has dramatically altered life as we know it.

Starting at that time, my team began to receive a trickle of calls, and the stream continued to grow as seniors kept asking, “What will happen to Empowering Seniors?”

This amazing event began 12 years ago and has grown to attract more than 3,000 seniors, caregivers and baby boomers for the past several years. They have consistently enjoyed free access to our “Ask the Doctor” panels, senior-focused workshops, health screenings, celebrities and food.

Throughout the years, these luminaries have included NBC5 Entertainment Reporter Bobbie Wygant; Texas gardening guru, Neil Sperry; Dallas Cowboys legends Bob Lilly and Randy White; Texas Rangers all-star Jim Sundberg; and WBAP’s Hal Jay and Brian Estridge.

And let’s never forget iconic weatherman and Care N’ Care member, Troy Dungan. We have also enjoyed the presence of Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Scott Murray, who has helped emcee the past three years.

As the pandemic’s impact continued to grow, and we saw events of all kinds canceled, we made a commitment in June: We would move forward with Empowering Seniors in a virtual fashion.

We reached out to a producer who was specializing in this type of event and I am happy to report that Empowering Seniors will indeed take place on Friday, Oct. 2 – on your desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone.

Welcome to Empowering Seniors 2020 – The Virtual Event.

Attendees won’t need to worry about how to access Zoom or any other technology – they simply log onto our website – www.empoweringseniors.com – and everything will be there.

The online platform will allow us to deliver a website that offers a wider menu of programming than ever before. Imagine the old Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, where Jerry and his co-host would anchor the broadcast and send the audience to entertaining experiences – very much in the same way that Carson Daly’s New Year’s Eve Show takes place.

We will be offering five areas of involvement:

– Commissioner’s Plaza: Our live segments featuring Scott Murray and me, where we will anchor the show.

­– Healthcare: Workshops from our top-level hospital and insurance sponsors, sharing insights on timely medical and insurance issues including COVID-19, Medicare and Medicaid.

– “Ask the Doctor” Panel: Two panels featuring physicians from our area hospitals, moderated by our Tarrant County Public Health officer.

– Entertainment: A custom cheer from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Alumni from the ‘70s; a custom new song about Empowering Seniors, written and performed Sinatra-style by Frank Sinatra tribute artist Ken Nelson; plus, additional dance performances (No, not by your favorite commissioner!) and many more.

Exhibitors Expo: A virtual experience where you can tour senior-focused exhibitors to read their materials, watch videos and pick up virtual goodie bag items

And check out our special guest celebrities:

– Drew Pearson: Dallas Cowboys hero who caught Roger Staubach’s “Hail Mary” pass

– Neil Sperry: Guru of Texas Gardening and Horticulture

– Troy Dungan: Iconic weatherman and Care N’ Care member

– Bobbie Wygant: Broadcasting legend and NBC5’s original Entertainment Reporter

– David Finfrock: NBC5’s highly accurate Chief Meteorologist

– Bob Tallman: Hall of Fame Rodeo Announcer

– Ruth Buzzi: Star of Laugh-In and all those Dean Martin TV Roast events

– Jerry Reynolds: Nationally syndicated Car Pro radio host

One of the unique aspects of this year’s event is that all the segments listed above – every single one of them – will be archived on the website for 12 months. This allows you to watch the features at your leisure, and also forward those links to friends anywhere.

I have been pleased to hear comments from some of our key partners because they reaffirm that we are moving in the right direction.

– Presenting sponsor: With all the touchpoints you are providing, we feel we will experience more long-term value than in the prior format – and it was wonderful!

– Hospital sponsor: We’ve seen a lot of technology in this pandemic and you are well ahead of the curve with what you are doing.

As in the past, we continue to distribute most of the proceeds of our event to such transportation organizations as Mid-Cities Care Corps, CARS (Call A Ride Southlake), NETS (NorthEast Transportation for Seniors) and STS (Social Transportation for Seniors).

Each of these organizations has provided valuable and much-needed transportation access for our seniors, caregivers and their families.

We look forward to “the new normal” of Empowering Seniors – at least for 2020. Please join us on your computer, tablet or smartphone for more fun and engagement than you could possibly imagine!

Gary Fickes is the commissioner for Tarrant County Precinct 3.

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