Bethany Towers get new van with money raised from calendar sales

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A group of senior citizen women bared almost all for a calendar last year: it was a fundraiser and their efforts paid off. 
Only a year ago, a new vehicle was just a dream for the residents of Bethany Towers, a Mechanicsburg senior residence. Now, they have top of the line transportation after decades of a crowded, unreliable van.  
Ruth Gusler, who posed on the July page of the calendar says this is a day to celebrate and congratulate.

“Damn, we're good! … We are!,” said the 88-year-old Gusler.

That's the attitude that inspired a head-turning fundraising campaign last fall to purchase a badly needed bus.  Borrowing an idea from the hit movie, “Calendar Girls,” twelve lady residents posed discreetly for a calendar layout. The models ranged in age from 74 to 87.  They ordered a thousand calendars to be sold at 10-dollar each, then held their breath.

“Two days later I get a call: 'We've run out,'” said Vi Montgomery, 82, who posed for the January page. “I could not believe it.  We sold 4,250 calendars in two months.”

The calendars were a smash hit, generating orders and attention from all around the country.

“I knew it was gonna sell, but not that much,” said Gusler. “I didn't think it would go over that big.”

The calendar money, added to the $28,000 raised through earlier events, was more than the $60,000 needed for the roomy, 14-passeneger-bus, with a  hydraulic lift that ensures all residents can ride along.

Following a brief victory lap around the property, the van got a thumbs-up review from it maiden voyage passengers.

“Oh, it's wonderful,” said Lydia Divecclia, 80, who posed as Miss August. “Top of the line.  Its got everything extra in it.”

Montgomery said the new bus will also help the citizens of Bethany Towers get out in to the community. 

“They can go out to lunch now,” she said. “They can go to the play. Before they could not … I am so proud. And when I saw our bus, it made me cry.”>

The ladies say they have no plans for another photo shoot. They say, they don't want to mess with success.

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