By Don Backman
Loud music blared through the doorway. Inside the Tillamook County Elks Lodge, flashing lights lit up the floor, and patty balloons decorated the room. Couples dotted the dance floor. The 2022 Senior Citizen Prom was rocking on!
The Senior Citizen Prom is an annual event put on by the Rotary Club of Tillamook. Begun as an annual event in 2016, it ran through 2019, then was interrupted for three years by Covid. This year’s Senior Citizen Prom was also Tillamook High School Senior Hailey Ellerbroek’s Service Learning Project. “I’m just thankful for that generation who helped my generation get where we are,” Ellerbroek explained, answering the question of why she decided to take on this project. “It is only right to give something back to them.”
The free 2022 Prom took place from noon to three o’clock on Saturday, October 22, in the Tillamook County Elks Lodge, Every retiree and senior citizen in Tillamook was invited to attend. Lunch was provided. According to Ellerbroek, the idea was, “…To have a community dance, the kind that we don’t have anymore.” She paused while Lynda and Richard Martin thanked her on their way to the door.
“Abby Werner suggested it to me,” she continued. “We met and planned it out. I went to several rotary meetings, distributed fliers to the businesses, and we set up yesterday and today.” Then it was time for Hailey to answer the summons of the MC and walk out in front, take the microphone, and speak to the crowd.
The event had strong community support. “Sarasota’s donated cupcakes,” Abby Werner explained. “DJ Mike Bentley provided music, Napa donated helium, and the Tillamook County Elks Lodge #1437 provided the facility.”
Out on the dance floor, it was time to crown the Prom King and Queen. The MC called Barry and Judy Mammano out on the floor for the crowning, which was followed by the King and Queen’s dance. The floor quickly filled with other dancers joining in.
“It’s great that we are doing it again after not being able to for three years due to Covid,” Brett Hurliman said. “About 50 people attended.” Judging from the smiles in the room, a great many others were happy as well.