Two former presidents of the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre can now stay as long as they like.
At the centre’s annual general meeting on June 19, Peter Isaak and Bill Hickerson received lifetime memberships to the 55-plus organization.
Hickerson, 81, was heavily involved in the centre when it was set to move into a redesigned Bronx Park Community Centre at 720 Henderson Hwy, which it did in 2009. Hickerson said the process of getting the centre together was an inclusive one, as the architect was far from domineering.
"The architect took a very good approach — he didn’t tell us what we needed, but he asked us what we needed," said Hickerson, a longtime East Kildonan resident who now lives downtown.
Hickerson was thrilled to get a gym and plenty of multi-use space, but regrets not allowing more room for small-group space. Still, he’s happy with how it turned out overall, especially in terms of its accessibility, as he has some difficulty walking.
Hickerson’s wife, Elaine, was initially involved in the club’s choir, and he joined soon afterward. He’s still involved in the choir, which has about 40 members.
Isaak, an 80-year-old North Kildonan resident who has been involved with the centre since 1993, will make use of his membership. He still attends the Nice-N-Easy fitness class which focuses on cardiovascular and muscle-conditioning exercises.
He’s proud to have been involved in a community institution.
"I’ve been very much involved through the years," Isaak said. "People come there for exercises. They also come to socialize. Readers can come (here) and read."
Isaak has taken on "a short dealing with cancer" and is now in remission. He plans to keep showing his face at the centre.
"I have no thoughts of not staying involved," he said.
A third major contributor to the centre, Gordon Kroeker, was set to be honoured with a lifetime membership, but he passed away before it could be presented. He was instead posthumously awarded a Distinguished Service Award that was presented to his wife, Anita, at the meeting.