Retirees' Day 2007
July 5, 2007
On July 5, 2007, the DAR Party Central in Delap was alive with merriment and local music while almost three hundred retired senior citizens and guests enjoyed the day-long field activities organized by MISSA in their honor, the fourth annual celebrations since 2004.
Four years ago, President Kessai Note and his Cabinet approved and declared July 1st of every year as “Retirees’ Day”, as a tribute to all retired senior and disabled citizens who have served the Marshall Islands in various employment capacities in the Government and Private Sectors.
The Cabinet also approved that July 1st shall serve as MISSA’s anniversary date, as it was on July 1, 1968 when the Trust Territory Social Security System (TTSSS) was first established.
This year’s event marked the commemoration of MISSA’s 39th year anniversary. But since July 1 fell on a Sunday, it was decided that the celebrations be held on July 5 instead.
A short program was opened with a prayer led by Pastor Lawrence Edwards, who is a retiree himself. It was followed by brief but inspiring messages from Bill Joseph, MISSA’s new Deputy Administrator for Retirement & COO, Kaname Yamamura, President of the Retirees’ Association of the Marshall Islands and Jack Niedenthal, MISSA’s Board Chairman.
Live musical entertainment was provided by DAR’s own band, M-Polen, while refreshments and packed meals were served throughout the day. Anniversary T-shirts were also distributed, courtesy of the Bank of the Marshall Islands (BOMI).
The number of participants in this year’s event surpassed that of the last three years since the annual affair was first organized in 2004.
The Ministry of Health provided a medical team of a standby nurse and a doctor upon the request of the Administration. Although most of the field activities require minimum physical exertion, MISSA felt that there was still a small chance for injuries and accidents. Fortunately, there was none.
It was also a very appropriate time for several retirees to have their blood pressure checked and consult to a physician about their medical problems.
The main highlights of the day’s festivities were about a dozen games played by both retirees and MISSA staff that included musical chair, coconut grinding, passing the orange, banana eating, egg toss, basket weaving, balloon bursting, treasure hunt, dancing, ro-ro (chanting contest) and many more. Cash prizes ranging from $10 to $25 were handed over to the winners of the field activities.
At the end of the celebrations, everyone left with a smile, either with at least a $10 prize in his or her pocket, take-out packed foods and drinks, or both.
Those who were not able to personally join the event did not totally miss the fun. An artistically produced videotape of Retirees’ Day 2007 was continuously aired on television (Channel 18) by the Marshall Broadcasting Company (MBC) a week after the event.
The videotapes and anniversary T-shirts were also made available to retirees who met with the MISSA Administrator during her recent trip to Honolulu.