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Lookingbill aiming to form senior commission

Stephanie Long
Thurmont Dispatch

(11/1) Thurmont Commissioner-Elect Bob Lookingbill has not even been sworn into office yet but has already met with Thurmont senior citizens to discuss plans to start a Thurmont Senior Commission.

While stressing the importance of senior advocacy and the necessity of a senior commission to ensure that the voice of the seniors is heard, Lookingbill held an open discussion with the seniors to find out what issues most concerned them.

A range of issues were discussed from the seniors wishing to expand the Thurmont Senior Center or building a new center to the seniors concern over the workload of Thurmont Senior Center Director Anna Rollins, which many said was too much, and their wish to have a second employee help out.

The lively discussion, which lasted nearly 45 minutes, was a fact finding mission for Lookingbill, who was looking to get at the heart of the seniors’ concerns and garner support for a senior commission.

“We’re coming away here with some good ideas. Together we can do better,” Lookingbill said, stressing the importance of forming a commission.

Lookingbill said he will work with the Thurmont Commissioners to address the seniors’ concerns. He hopes to partner with the Frederick County Commissioners to ensure that the commission’s voice is heard.

Harold Ehart, Junior Chair, Commission on Aging in Frederick County, attended the meeting and assured seniors the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners will listen to their concerns and that change can come from the county commissioners, but it will only happen if the seniors advocate for themselves.

“Seniors have got to start speaking up, writing your commissioner… attend meetings if your can,” Ehart said.

In addition to addressing the concerns voiced at the meeting, Lookingbill has other concerns he would like to address on behalf of the seniors, such as the building of an urgent-care facility in Thurmont.

Due to Thurmont’s lack of medical facilities, which means that seniors must travel long distances to receive urgent care, Lookingbill said an urgent-care facility would benefit seniors by giving them the care they need without the hassle.

Although it is early in the game, Lookingbill feels confident that he can address the concerns of the seniors and bring about some positive change.

“I don’t like to hear no,” Lookingbill admitted, “I won’t take no for an answer until we get where we want to go.”

No formal commission has been formed yet, as Lookingbill will have to wait until he is sworn in to propose the idea to the town commissioners for approval, but he will hold another meeting on November 19 at 1 p.m. at the Thurmont Senior Center.

Lookingbill said Carolyn True, Director of the Frederick County Department of Aging, will be in attendance at the meeting to “listen, understand and try to address the concerns” of the seniors.

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