INDIAN ORCHARD, Mass. (WWLP) – State Representative Orlando Ramos will present the oldest resident of Indian Orchard with the Purple Cane.
The tradition is like the Golden Cane tradition that is in other towns, which recognizes the oldest person living in their respective communities, and the color purple is Indian Orchard’s official color, according to a news release from the Office of State Representative Orlando Ramos.
“You know it’s great to be here on Mother’s Day to award the purple cane to a mother, a grandmother, and great-grandmother. It’s just fitting and it fits in with the tradition that we have here in Indian Orchard,” expressed Representative Ramos
Ramos will be joining the Indian Orchard Citizens Council and Indian Orchard residents for the presentation. The recipient is Stella Soja, who just recently turned 99 years old.
“The idea of the Purple Cane came from life-long Indian Orchard resident Pat Voisine, who served on the Indian Orchard Citizens Council for 36 years,” said Representative Ramos. “She contacted me in 2014. I thought it was a great idea and I decided to donate the cane. It’s fitting that this tradition takes place here, in a community filled with great history and tradition.”
“I am so proud to be a part of the purple cane ceremony in Indian Orchard,” said City Councilor and Indian Orchard Citizens Council President Zaida Govan. “This ceremony acknowledges the most senior person in the Orchard, and I am so happy that we can award this honor to a mother on Mother’s Day.”
The first Purple Cane Award was presented to Margaret Popko in October of 2014. She was 103 years old before her passing. The second award was given to 100-year-old WWII veteran Walter Alexander in 2017. The third recipient in 2021 was 100-year-old Joaquim Pereira, who spent over 50 years living in Indian Orchard, but Pereira passed away in November at 101 years old. There is a plaque at the Indian Orchard Citizens Council building that lists the 4 recipients of the Purple Cane Awards.
The presentation took place on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in Indian Orchard.