“This group here is about you, what your community needs and what you want for yourself,” Johnetta Guishard, community outreach coordinator from Herring’s office, told the group of about 20 gathered at the library.

TRIAD is a cooperative effort between senior care providers, senior citizens, and law enforcement to help reduce crimes against seniors.  Its name is derived from the three founding organizations that established the program in 1988: the American Association of Retired Persons, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

“The power you had before, you can still have again,” said Fluvanna TRIAD coordinator Sandra Patterson.  “You used to [do]…whatever you want to do, and now as a senior citizen people are telling you your limitations…. We’re going to give you back your power.”

The first step for Fluvanna’s TRIAD moving forward is to figure out what its Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) council will look like, said Guishard.  SALT councilmembers are elected by their local TRIAD organizations and attend regional SALT meetings on their behalf.  “Ask yourself if you want a role in it,” Guishard urged the group.

Next steps will also include shaping the local chapter by possibly establishing officers, doing fundraisers, and applying for grant money. “It looks like whatever you decide it looks like,” Guishard said.

“Get us the ideas you want us to have,” Patterson said.  “We can have a shindig run by you.”

There will be a senior resources fair on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Calvary Chapel off Rt. 53.  After the fair, the sheriff’s office hopes that the local TRIAD chapter will come together for another meeting in October.

Those present filled out surveys stating how much of an impact on their daily lives they felt from issues such as going out after dark, fear of personal abuse, and sense of personal isolation.

At the beginning of the meeting, the people present introduced themselves and shared a little about what brought them there.  Sharon Sutton said she attended the meeting because she is interested in safety and the ability to stay in her own home as she grows older.  Pat Podwysocki said that as a widow, she knows the pitfalls of people trying to scam her out of money.  Ruby Schumaker came to learn if there is something she can do to be more independent so that she may continue to live where she is.  Paul Hanson, who cares for his aging mother, said that it is very hard for her to say no to people when pressured.

“I care for my elderly parents and every day is a struggle to teach them what to do [to be safe],” said Sheriff Eric Hess.  “We are very, very excited about this program coming to this community.”

Those interested in becoming involved with TRIAD are urged to contact the sheriff’s office at 434-589-8211.   PHOTO by Christina Dimeo Guseman

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