Westlake man turns 100, celebrates with Meals on Wheels

Preston Symon listens as Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough reads a proclamation in his honor.

Westlake Meals on Wheels’ oldest client turned 100 years old and the City declared Dec. 14 Preston Symon Day.

Volunteers and family gathered to celebrate this milestone. Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough read and presented a proclamation from the City outlining Symon’s distinguished military career – he earned a Purple Heart in WWII – and other major milestones in his life. Symon married Olga, the girl across the street, who was the love of his life until she died in 1998. They had a son, Dennis, who married Angel and had two children, Nichole and Michael. Preston has three grandchildren.  He was an avid golfer and bowler until his early 90s when health reasons slowed him down. Preston continues to live on his own watching sports, old westerns and his grandson Michael on "The Chew."

Westlake Meals on Wheels (WMOW) volunteer drivers and staff serenaded Symon with a special birthday song, and presented a flower cake, balloons and more than 100 birthday cards from people around the area including pre-school children. Santa presided.

“I am overwhelmed,” Symon said. “I enjoy the time I spend with each and every one of you.” He then turned to his son and joked, “You will have to read all those cards for me.”

In honor of Symon’s birthday, head cooks Al Stasa and Judy Askins ensured that all WMOW clients received a bowl of Pap’s Turkey Dumpling soup, a recipe of Preston’s featured by his celebrity chef grandson on "The Chew."

“We are so delighted to be here for this big day,” said Wendi Schwartz, executive director of WMOW. “These volunteers who planned your party love seeing you and listening to your stories when they deliver your meals. We hope to see you for many more years.”

In addition to the celebration, Westlake Meals on Wheels is giving Symon and all other clients winter emergency kits – non-perishable food and a blanket – for days the weather prevents hot meal delivery. Mayor Clough delivered several of those kits to Westlake residents on Thursday along with their meals.

The emergency kits for clients were made possible through the generous donations of food, cash and blankets the organization’s Subaru Share the Love/Stuff the Trunk Event last month. Local high school students and volunteers assembled the kits.

Westlake Meals on Wheels’ daily meal deliveries help seniors like Symon and the home-bound live independently. They provide daily security checks along with fresh-cooked meals. One-third of the organization’s clients are over 90 years old. WMOW serves Westlake, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township.

Sharon Kanareff

Sharon Kanareff bakes, assists in the kitchen and serves on the Board of Westlake Meals on Wheels when she is not traveling or hiking with her dog.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 9:55 AM, 12.19.2017