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Love of people wins award for retiree

Jan Dillan and Glen Melin of Crista Retirement Community take a moment to celebrate Dillan’s recent reception of the Aging Services of Washington’s Senior Star Award. Dillan was one of two seniors in the state to win the annual award and award officials cited her ability to encourage others as a reason for giving her the honor.  - Patrick McDonough/staff photo
Jan Dillan and Glen Melin of Crista Retirement Community take a moment to celebrate Dillan’s recent reception of the Aging Services of Washington’s Senior Star Award. Dillan was one of two seniors in the state to win the annual award and award officials cited her ability to encourage others as a reason for giving her the honor.
— image credit: Patrick McDonough/staff photo

For Jan Dillan the recent reception of the Aging Services of Washington’s Senior Star Award is just part of a life-long love of people.

One of only two recipients of the annual statewide honor, Dillan was given the award for her work to encourage and inspire fellow seniors in the community.

A resident of the of Crista Shores Retirement Community since 1995, Dillan said she was “astounded” to even be considered for the award, but said it must have to do with her love of people.

Dillan’s life-long love of people began at a young age. Born and raised in the small community of Proctor, Minn., where Dillan said everyone knew every one else in the town.

She said her grandmother lived with her family, and her mother’s siblings would come to visit and she loved hearing the stories and being a part of the gatherings.

“We all just had a really good time visiting together,” she said.

When she later moved to Duluth, Minn., to work in the banking industry, she continued to help others by serving in the local chamber of commerce and other organizations.

“I just like people, I always have,” she said.

At age 62, she decided to take early retirement. She said her husband had passed away and without any children she decided to travel and see more of America.

She found the charms of the Pacific Northwest appealed to her and she settled in Silverdale in 1995.

Since that time she has enjoyed volunteering at local hospitals, church and especially at Crista Shores.

Glen Melin, executive Director of Crista Shores, said Dillan had always been a positive and energetic member of the community.

“Jan emerged early on as someone who wanted to make a difference in the smaller community of Crista Shores,” he said. “As well as the larger community outside.”

Melin said Dillan had taken her love of decorating and beautifying her environment and made the center a better place to live.

“She helps to make it the kind of place you can call home,” he said.

Dillan also makes a difference at Central Kitsap Presbyterian Church where she attends church and where her nomination for the award was initiated.

Lee Riley, reverend of the church, said Dillan helps in countless ways at the church, but said she had a true gift for hospitality.

“She is just an engaging lively spirit with a servant’s heart,” he said. “She is always, always positive, always optimistic.”

Dillan said, for her, the secret to life is to always be positive.

“I think it is very important in life to keep a good spirit and not get discouraged,” she said.

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