Senior Star shines bright

Elsie Henderson stands in front of a Red Hat Society quilt made for her by her daughter. Henderson was given the Senior Star award for her community involvement. - Photo by Rachel Brant
Elsie Henderson stands in front of a Red Hat Society quilt made for her by her daughter. Henderson was given the Senior Star award for her community involvement.
— image credit: Photo by Rachel Brant

At 86 years old, there’s no slowing down in sight for Elsie Henderson.

The Crista Shores assisted living resident received a Senior Star award from the Washington Association of Housing and Services for the Aging (WAHSA). Only two awards are given each year throughout the state.

“It’s just unreal,” Henderson said. “I’m just plain me.”

The Senior Star award is presented to one male and one female who continue to be inspirations into their older years. Henderson will be recognized at the annual statewide conference June 4-6 in Spokane. Crista Shores is a member of the WAHSA.

Henderson was “quite incapacitated” when she moved into Crista Shores a few years ago, but she has since blossomed, according to Cindy Courtier, the Crista Shores resident life services coordinator who nominated her for the award.

“It’s neat to see her come here and not just survive, but thrive,” Courtier said.

Henderson volunteers at the Central Kitsap Food Bank, Senior Outreach Service program, Chuckwagon program, participates in Crista Shores’ Intergenerational Program and attends two bible studies a week. She also is an active member of Central Kitsap’s Church of Christ and three Red Hat societies.

“She goes to almost every scheduled activity program we have here at Crista Shores in addition to all of her volunteering,” Courtier said.

Aside from her many activities, Henderson finds time to swim in the Crista Shores indoor pool six days a week at 4 a.m. She also works out in the facility’s gym.

“I like to keep busy,” Henderson said with a smile.

A video crew recently came to Crista Shores to make a video about Henderson. The video will be shown at the conference in June.

“The video crew was trying to keep up with Elsie,” Courtier chuckled.

Henderson enjoyed being the star of her own video. Several friends attended the video session to show their support.

“A lot of my church friends were here (for the video),” Henderson said. “It was very nice.”

Henderson was born in Kansas. She lived in Arkansas and California before moving to Washington. She has one son and two daughters. She is a grandmother of four, great-grandmother of seven and a great-great-grandmother to four children. Like many people, Henderson proudly displays family photographs on her refrigerator.

“I need a bigger refrigerator, I’m running out of space,” she said with a smile.

Henderson is looking forward to attending the conference in Spokane. She enjoys participating in her many activities and programs at Crista Shores.

“Crista Shores is a very, very nice place,” Henderson said. “It’s so clean and the girls who help us are all so nice.”

Courtier enjoys seeing Henderson stay active and inspire other senior citizens to become involved in their community.

“She’s our social butterfly,” Courtier said. “She’s pretty amazing.”

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