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On her bucket list: Ms. Senior USA – The Register

Having a bucket list full of new, adventurous experiences led a Eugene woman to become Ms. Senior Eugene, representing all of Lane County, in the 2018-2019 Ms. Senior USA competition.

Debbie Aharoni, 65, said that seniors can’t always afford to travel the world — a common bucket list goal — but trying new things can be just as rewarding.

“Whether that means learning to ride a horse, standing up on a paddle board, becoming a gourmet cook or moving from a familiar comfort zone to a brand new place and starting all over,” she said. “Bucket lists should be full of new experiences in any form.”

Aharoni grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and spent the past 22 years living in Las Vegas working as an elementary school teacher and convention and trade show spokeswoman. She moved to Eugene in July and quickly became invested in the community.

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“Eugene is an affordable, aesthetically pleasing city that’s perfect for retirement age,” she said. “It has all of the wonderful elements of art, nature and is centered around a university that creates a great community for senior living.”

Aharoni said she became familiar with pageants from her time in Las Vegas. After moving to Eugene, she was appointed by the state director to be Ms. Senior Eugene representing Lane County — which has never been represented before.

“People just don’t always know that this amazing experience is out there, so I’m very pleased to be the first ambassador representing this community,” she said.

Aharoni will compete for the state title in September, where each contestant must have a talent, a platform — something they are passionate speaking about — and a passion to represent the senior community well.

“It’s more than just a pageant: Women have to have accomplishments, passions about things that matter and a desire to best represent our community,” she said. “And there’s no swimsuit portion — thank God!”

For Aharoni’s talent, she will be a “comedic pianist,” inspired by Danish and American musician and comedian Victor Borge, who played the piano traditionally while adding jokes and anecdotes throughout the performance.

Aharoni’s platform is called “No Place for Hate,” which is about tolerance and inclusiveness for all people, regardless of race, religion or anything else.

“With everything happening in the world right now, people are terribly set so apart because of their race, religion and any of their differences,” she said. “Standing for this platform is undoubtedly the most important part of this entire competition.”

Outside of the competition, Aharoni spends time walking her fox terrier — “I will never, ever live without a dog” — exercising, traveling and embracing the many opportunities within the community.

Aharoni has no biological children or grandchildren of her own, so she has become a “local grandmother” to an 8-year-old girl in Eugene.

“Many seniors don’t have grandchildren nearby or any at all, but you can still immerse yourself in the joy of children in your own community by finding children who need a local grandparent and be that for them,” she said.

Aharoni is also very involved with her temple, Temple Beth Israel. She said she is one of few contestants of the Jewish faith to represent a region, and said her platform speaks closely to her religious values.

The winner at the statewide Ms. Senior Oregon USA competition in September will proceed to compete in the televised national Ms. Senior USA in June 2019.

“Regardless of what happens, I plan to make Eugene my home forever,” she said. “I am very honored and pleased to represent the community of Eugene.”

Follow Morgan on Twitter @morgan_theophil . Email morgan.theophil@registerguard.com .

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Article source: http://registerguard.com/rg/life/lifestyles/36418053-74/on-her-bucket-list-ms.-senior-usa.csp

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