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Senior citizens engage with community through free Golden Passes

Residents over 60 can receive a permanent Golden Pass, which are good for a lifetime. This allows senior members to attend athletic and cultural events for free.

IRMO, S.C. — In an effort to help senior citizens get engaged in the community, Lexington-Richland School District 5 is giving out free Golden Passes to residents over 60.

Seniors are asked to fill out a form and have their picture taken to receive the card.

This pass, which resembles a credit card, helps them get in to athletic and cultural events. Laura McElveen with the school district says this is good for students.

"We know that when the stands and the seats are filled at all the events, it makes the students feel good to know that they’re supported and then that can help them learn and grow in our schools," she said.

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It’s also a way for residents to engage with the community. Danny Garnett says his sons used to play sports in the district. 

"I still have a good memory of that, but they’re grown now…married…so I still enjoy going and seeing some coaches that were back there when my sons were there," he said.

Some can reflect back even further. Debra Knight came with her husband and the duo got their passes together.

"I was in the band - I’m not gonna tell you how many years ago," Knight said. "And so I really enjoy going and watching them."

While residents can reminisce on old memories, they can also meet new people and reconnect with old friends.

"Sometimes when you’re coming, it’s nice to reminisce about my sons playing," Garnett said. "But it’s also nice to just see people that I’ve not seen in a while."

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Not only does the pass make events accessible, but resident Darlene Mason says it’s convenient.

"You don’t have to stand in no long line," she said. "You can just walk up and show them that pass and go right on."

And it’s completely free. The card is permanent, which means it lasts a lifetime.

Robert Byrd said he and Knight hear about it from their daughter.

"She said ‘go down there and get it.’ And I said ‘How much is it gonna cost?’ And she said ‘No, it’s free’ so I said ‘Wow! That’s wonderful. That’s cool," Byrd said.

For McElveen, she says the district sees free passes as a way to say 'thank you' to senior community members.

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"The seniors in our community already volunteer in our schools, they are invested in our schools, they have grandchildren, they have children in our schools," McElveen said. "So we just want to foster and encourage that relationship that we have with our community members and give them a way to come and support our students and support our schools."

If you’d like to get your own permanent pass, you can stop by 1020 Dutch Fork Rd. on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can’t make it, you can visit the district administration building any other time of the year for a temporary pass. That one is printed on paper and won’t last you as long, but it will work until next year when the permanent cards are available again.

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