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Sanibel resident celebrates 100th birthday with celebration at Rec Center

September 11, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A Sanibel resident of 38 years, and frequent visitor of the Sanibel Recreation Center, was surprised with a party after his workout Friday afternoon to help celebrate his 100th birthday.

"I've been overwhelmed. I worked out this morning. I was walking out and there was a crowd waiting there for me. People from the Rec Center, the library, neighbors and friends. It really was something," Robert Emmett said.

The celebration included a cake for the milestone birthday, as well as some healthy alternative snacks.

Article Photos

Robert Emmett was surprised with a party Friday afternoon to help celebrate his 100th birthday.


Emmett said he goes to the Sanibel Recreation Center three times a week for two hours each day walking the treadmill, riding the bicycle and doing a few of the arm and leg machines. He said he enjoys going to the Rec Center because "it keeps me alive."

Sanibel Recreation Center Recreation Director Trish Phillips said Emmett is definitely an inspiration for all of them at the Rec Center. She said they first met him when he and his wife starting coming. After his wife passed away, he continued to work out, and now his kids join him.

"He is really a nice man. It was a pleasure to do it for him," she said of the celebration.

In addition to working out, Emmett also volunteers at the library every Wednesday.

"I was on the board for many years. I was the treasurer when going through the initial building of the library," he said.

When the WWII U.S. Army veteran was ready to retire from doing financial work in New York City he began to look around first on the east coast of Florida before realizing it was too crowded, leading him to the west coast.

"We spent some vacation here and looked at sea shells. We looked at the west coast and decided Sanibel was the best place, and it was," he said.



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