Sporting Blue Friday gear, seniors gathered at Sno-Valley Senior Center in Carnation on Dec. 13 to meet Seattle Seahawks legends.
For 12 days in December, Seattle Seahawks legends join the 12 Days of Goodness program and visit local senior centers and retirement communities throughout the greater Puget Sound area. On this particular Friday, the celebration came to the senior center in Carnation.
Seahawks football legends Alonzo Mitz and Edwin Bailey shared memories with the seniors and opened the floor for a question and answer session.
“It’s nice to have a group come and be able to put this on for the seniors and give out prizes and gifts,” said Kira Avery, Sno-Valley Senior Center program coordinator. “[The seniors] appreciate that the Seahawks would come out here and meet with them and just take time to come and spend time with them. Especially around the holidays.”
For the past eight years, the 12 Days of Goodness has visited seniors and community centers to say thank you to the original 12s who were there in the early days when the team started in 1976.
It all started when Suzanne Perkins Newman learned statistics about senior loneliness. Newman said 60 percent of seniors are without regular visitors, and the loneliness is especially difficult during the holidays. To bring joy and to touch the hearts of seniors, Newman created 12 Days of Goodness.
“We get so busy over the holidays that we forget about our seniors,”she said. “What we try to do is find a way to celebrate them in a safe environment, like here where they know it and where they can connect with something that’s meaningful over the holidays.”
The culture of the 12’s started with “our seniors.” Newman said it was important for her to connect with that generation. Seniors are the original 12’s that are part of who the Seahawks are today.
“It’s been a very worthwhile adventure,” she said. “I am very blessed because this is how I celebrate my holiday. It’s incredible to celebrate the people that we do.”
Newman, host of Answers for Elders Radio show and lifelong Seattle football fan, said the legends take as much ownership of the program as she does. The legends have made it their own mission to come out for the holidays. Nearly 40 legends have participated in the program over the past eight years.
For Alonzo Mitz, former defensive end (1986-1989) it’s all about serving the seniors.
“It’s important to give back,” Mitz said. “You hear it over and over again, but you can’t just talk about it — you have to do it. By showing up here and mingling with [seniors], it allows us to help in giving back to the people who made it better for [us]. They are my pathfinders.”
The Seattle football legends began their visit on Dec. 12 and will continue until Dec. 23.