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Helen Kowal, 100, recognized as Hadley’s oldest resident

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, receives the Boston Post Gold Cane and a certificate from Jane Wagenbach Booth, who is the Hadley Council on Aging senior services director, Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, receives the Boston Post Gold Cane and a certificate from Jane Wagenbach Booth, who is the Hadley Council on Aging senior services director, Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, wipes a tear after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, wipes a tear after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, sits beside grandchildren Steven Konieczny, left, and his brother, John, after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, sits beside grandchildren Steven Konieczny, left, and his brother, John, after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, holds the Boston Post Gold Cane after receivng it Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, holds the Boston Post Gold Cane after receivng it Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, receives a pin after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane and a certificate from Jane Wagenbach Booth, who is the Hadley Council on Aging senior services director, Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, receives a pin after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane and a certificate from Jane Wagenbach Booth, who is the Hadley Council on Aging senior services director, Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, cuts her cake after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane last month.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, cuts her cake after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane last month.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, receives the Boston Post Gold Cane and a certificate from Jane Wagenbach Booth, who is the Hadley Council on Aging senior services director, Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, wipes a tear after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, sits beside grandchildren Steven Konieczny, left, and his brother, John, after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, holds the Boston Post Gold Cane after receivng it Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, receives a pin after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane and a certificate from Jane Wagenbach Booth, who is the Hadley Council on Aging senior services director, Thursday at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Helen Kowal, 100, of Hadley, cuts her cake after receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane last month.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

— A Hadley woman who turned 100 in December is being honored with the gold-headed cane recognizing her as the community’s oldest resident.

Helen Kowal was set to receive the Boston Post Gold Cane at a short ceremony Thursday evening at the Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northampton, where she is living temporarily.

Council on Aging Director Jane Booth said Kowal succeeds Fred Mastendino, who died at 103 earlier this month. Mastendino received the cane in October, when Victoria Drabek, who held the honor for more than six years, passed away at age 105.

Booth said the council tries to locate the oldest resident with connections to the community.

“Our council has attempted to keep it with a Hadley person,” Booth said.

The tradition began in 1909, when more than 400 canes were distributed to towns by the Boston Post newspaper. Each town was to honor its oldest male citizen with the cane. The honor has been widened to include all residents.

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