FRYEBURG – More than 300 people showed up at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds on Friday to enjoy the 11th annual TRIAD Senior Appreciation Day picnic.

Linda Hooker, coordinator for The Right Idea and Direction, says the organization focuses on crime prevention and the well-being of senior citizens. Several organizations and health care representatives were on hand to offer information about their services.

Chief Deputy Dane Tripp of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office said seniors are mostly targeted by telemarketing scams. He said seniors tend to be polite and baffled by the scam’s sales pitch, and may be lured by false promises during difficult economic times.

“When they have promises of untold riches, they jump at the chance,” Tripp said. “It’s a vile intrusion into their lives, that’s for sure.”

Sheriff Wayne Gallant said that while TRIAD is dedicated to seniors’ protection, the organization is also able to guide seniors to resources for other issues, such as health care. He said he is concerned that increasing fuel and medication costs are hurting seniors, and that some may begin to choose between the two.

“These oil issues that we’re going through are a health issue for our senior citizens,” Gallant said.

Myrtle Cadenelli, who belongs to two senior organizations in Oxford and Paris, said senior concerns include transportation needs, having to give up their homes to live in residential care, and financial difficulties.

Chris Davis, coordinator for client services and the Sexual Assault Response Team with the Rape Education and Crisis Hotline, said the organization was present to let seniors know of their services. Davis said seniors or their families may be affected by sexual abuse, or may have been at a younger age.

“It’s never too late to talk to an advocate,” she said.

While TRIAD deals with senior issues, the picnic offered seniors and volunteers a chance to mingle and socialize.

“A lot of times these people don’t see each other except for this event,” Gallant said.

The event included a color guard presentation by Sgt. Timothy Ontengco, Cpls. Chancey Libby and Brian Landis, and Deputy Michael Halacy.

In a surprise act, Lt. Walter Grzyb of the Maine State Police performed a mock arrest on Gallant and escorted him, handcuffed, to an antique police cruiser. Gallant was released shortly thereafter.

“It’s some sort of civil violation,” Grzyb joked.


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