“I needed more to do,” she said, noting she’d just retired from Macy’s Inc.
Already a volunteer with her neighborhood watch program in Soleil at Laurel Canyon, Walz also began volunteering with the Canton Police Department, which had an extensive partnership with Cherokee Triad Seniors And Law enforcement Together, or SALT.
Walz seized the opportunity and two years ago joined the organization’s ranks.
Just in the last month, Walz was announced as the organization’s new chairwoman at its annual meeting. Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jay Baker was announced as vice chairman.
Other new officers include Shelley Redden, secretary; Glenda Hinton, treasurer; and Alice Irving, deputy treasurer.
Walz said she hopes to expand on what the organization does, which now promotes senior safety and reduces the fear of crime that seniors experience.
“We’ve been stationary for a while,” she said, adding she’d like to get the Ball Ground Police Department and the Canton and Woodstock fire departments involved.
Other recent recruits include Assistant District Attorney Shannon Wallace, who won the Republican primary nomination as the county’s new district attorney in July, and Cherokee County Senior Services Director Nathan Brandon.
Waltz also noted she hopes to reach out to the Bethesda Community Clinic in Woodstock and other areas in the county that have higher senior citizen populations or who have high senior citizen clientele.
The volunteer hopes to increase the number of vendors for the organization’s annual Senior Extravaganza, which usually is conducted in May. The event includes scores of vendors showcasing products and services as well as free health screenings, fitness demonstrations, entertainment and lunch.
Walz said the show in May had 70 vendors and the group is shooting for 100 for the event next year.
Other initiatives Walz would like to start include lunch and learn events, more programs on identity theft and a File of Life program. The file contains a medical card that seniors can fill out with their medical history and the prescriptions they are taking. It also includes a sticker seniors can place on their door to let emergency responders know they participate in the program.
Baker added SALT would also like to continue its Restore and Recovery program, which provides gift cards to law enforcement agencies that can be used to help seniors in need of food, shelter or clothing. The cards are used for when no one is available to help seniors and “they have no funds for food or shelter,” Baker said.
As expected, the organization runs off donations and Walz said they can always use money to reach out to seniors and to help them purchase the basic necessities.
For Baker, he said he’s excited to have Walz come aboard as the new chair.
“She is a very genuine person who cares deeply for this community and volunteers her time to make it better,” he said. “I think she will make an excellent chairperson and represent SALT very well.”
County Commissioner Jim Hubbard agrees.
Hubbard has been involved with the organization since its inception, and believes Walz will “perform very well” as the new chairwoman.
“She is very enthusiastic about it and she’s very organized,” he added.
Walz, 70, served as the secretary of the organization before ascending to the chair. She and her husband, Jim, who is the incoming chairman of the Laurel Canyon Optimist Club, have two children and two grandchildren.
Walz said she’s excited to get more people on board to make the organization’s cause widely known throughout the community. She also said she hopes the organization can also broaden its education to learn more about the crimes that often target seniors.
“Unfortunately, seniors can be very naive and trusting, so they are taken advantage of,” she added.