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Yosemite job keeps senior citizen young at heart

Dave Anzalone, 63, believes he’s found the fountain of youth, even if a sip requires him to collect empty cans and patrol for black bears during the evening.

Next month, the Merced resident will begin a 6-month-long summer maintenance job in Yosemite National Park, a working retreat that has kept him hiking, laughing and feeling young.“My blood gets going just knowing that I’m going up there,” he confided, while he took a break from oiling his bicycle, his main mode of transportation in Yosemite.

Anzalone's one of the 750-some workers that Yosemite’s concessionaire Delaware North Companies hires to run the service-side of the park during the peak season from March through October.

Though he’s considered a senior citizen, spent 14 years working as a housing manager at Yosemite and saw his dot-com business bust, Anzalone’s not ready for the rocking chair and slippers.And he’s not alone.

More and more 55-plus citizens aren’t settling into retirement as past generations did. Slightly more than 60 percent of Californians between 55 and 64 years old held jobs in 2006, according to an April report by the California Budget Project.

About a quarter of 65- to 69-year-olds were employed.

The reasons often include extra money, health care coverage and the ability to regularly connect with coworkers and customers, AARP communications coordinator Christina Clem said.

“With this generation, they don’t want to sit at home,” she explained. “They’ve been movers and shakers and they don’t see that changing.”

Read the full story in Friday's Merced Sun-Star.