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Veterans home residents mark Elvis’ birthday

Residents of the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City celebrated Elvis Presley's birthday Sunday with a performance by an impersonator, trivia contest and more.

Presley was born Jan. 8, 1935, and would be 81 if still alive. The average age of residents at the veterans home is 86. This audience couldn't be more receptive to letting the good times roll with Elvis in the house.

For the festivities, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Elvis stood outside the entrance of the main hall, where the crowd assembled. Wheelchairs and walkers dominated the floor. Several veterans sported black pompadour wigs, gold aviator glasses and sideburns. Elvis is the icon of their younger, more agile years and they were ready to celebrate.

Professional disc jockey and singer Walter Turner made his entrance wearing a black rhinestone jumpsuit with a cape. A 90-something man in an Elvis wig left his walker to dance to "Hound Dog." Blue-eyed, raven haired Turner resembles a younger version of the king and was joined by Ryan Remark, who sang tribute to Frank Sinatra.

He worked crowd, dropping to one knee to sing for a 95-year-old woman, while a volunteer in a red poodle skirt and bobby socks visited with other residents.

Activity Director Dotty Campaign said she remembers seeing Presley in concert. She told a story of her friend who refused to leave until the concert ended and then being rushed into the emergency room with appendicitis.

Turner's serenade for residents continued down the hall into the room of quadriplegic Linda Bennett, where he presented her with a plush musical bear that sings "Teddy Bear." Bennett recalls seeing Presley in concert at the Las Vegas Convention Center when she was a teen.

As the resident Elvis expert, Bennett was able to help trivia teams via telephone as they competed for prizes in three round about his life, movies and song lyrics. Additionally, there was a photo round of competition. The trivia teams were named after some of Presley's hit songs: "Hound Dogs," Teddy Bears," "Girls, Girls, Girls" and the "Hunks o' Burning Love." For their efforts, they received certificates for prizes at the facility canteen.

 

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