On June 29, residents of Lehigh Acres Place, friends, family and staff members helped bring a smile and a little joy to Gwen Hutchinson, a resident celebrating her 106th birthday.
The event was held inside the assisted living facility, and kicked-off with live entertainment, a Jamacian-style feast, birthday cake and a visit from Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson.
Hutchinson also got a special surprise when family members came from various parts of Florida to help her celebrate the momentous occasion.
“She had a great time today with her family and friends.This is the sixth year that I’ve come down to help celebrate her birthday. My aunt is a very outgoing person and enjoys being involved with the other residents, doing activities and even plays the piano. Always full of life. She actually lived by herself until the age of 103,” Hutchinson’s niece Yvette Maitland-Vargas said.
Following lunch, guests serenaded Hutchinson with a happy birthday song and enjoyed a piece of cake with other residents at a table decorated with balloons and flowers. Mayor Anderson also presented her with a “Certificate of Celebration” from the City of Fort Myers.
The celebration and warm wishes meant a lot to Hutchinson who always keeps a zeal for life and stays involved with other residents in the community. She has a long history of giving back to others and was a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital for more than 15 years. Even after retirement, she went onto work at a welfare center taking care of children.
“My birthday was wonderful. I’m 106! I still feel good. My secret for living long is my complete trust in the Lord. I trust him at all times and I still like to eat my 10 pieces of bacon every day,” Hutchinson said.
This isn’t the first time the residents and the community came out to wish Gwen a happy birthday. Last year, when Hutchinson celebrated her 105th birthday, she was greeted by a parade of vehicles, fire trucks and police vehicles that lined up outside Lehigh Acres Place Assisted Living Facility. Lehigh Acres Fire District fire engines turned on their sirens and showed signs to help Hutchinson and fellow residents celebrate the momentous occasion.
For Hutchinson’s 104th birthday, two Lee County Commissioners, Cecil Pendergrass and Frank Mann, came to her birthday celebration.The commissioners each surprised her with their own special gift. Commissioner Pendergrass brought and read a ceremonial resolution recognizing her on that special day, and Commissioner Frank Mann serenaded her with a song entitled “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, which brought a smile to her face.