Every Wednesday a group of seven men ranging in ages between 61 and 78 have breakfast together at a local diner. These dashing young men have named their group the ROMEOs, or ‘Retired Old Men Eat Out’. They have dined at various places around the area but consistently gather at Gibby’s Diner which is only a few minutes from the Duanesburg YMCA.
The ROMEOS are a collaboration of intelligent, active men who met one another at the Duanesburg YMCA. Each member of this group has their own unique and quirky qualities that define them. They have been dining together for nearly a year and a half now.
Same day of the week, same great group.
The Gibby’s waitresses reserve “their” table each week without having to ask. It is tucked in the corner, by the windows, in the back room and each Romeo has “their seat.” They order breakfast, which includes something with gravy, bacon or syrup.
“I exercise just so I can eat,” said ROMEO member Jerry Kamiler, 69.
“They are a great group of guys who are always having fun together and having the best conversations. They make our day more interesting,” said Melissa, a long time Gibby’s waitress.
They are very much individuals and that’s what makes them such an interesting group. They have varied hobbies, opinions, beliefs, styles, and families, which is not only intriguing, but it’s also a constant learning environment for one another. Together, they have new experiences, constantly surprising themselves with what they can accomplish with a little encouragement from the group.
Because of the ROMEOs, Bill Blance, 72, has gained a fellow outdoorsman for his hiking and kayaking excursions.
“I rarely get people my age who like to be outside and active as much as I do,” said Bill.
Jerry exercises five times a week, but after meeting fellow ROMEO members John and Bruce, he began taking group exercise classes, too.
“I’m a kid from the Bronx who lives to eat. We don’t do exercise classes. But I have found myself looking forward to taking them every week, and get upset if I have to miss one.”
Jerry also advocated for a stretch class to be created and added to the schedule. After generating the interest of other fellow YMCA members, the stretch class was successfully added to the schedule!
The ROMEOs are a great example of never being too old to try or learn something new. They are not only active in their personal lives, but also at the Y. They participate in yoga and strength classes, attend Y events, and volunteer their time and talent to help during the Y’s special events and programs.
Thanks to the Y, these individuals have become lifetime friends and created a camaraderie they are forever thankful for.