Floating on air at new Senior Center

Published 7:36 pm Friday, November 27, 2009

To the Editor:

I would like to express my appreciation and delight with the community and our county officials for our new Polk County Senior Recreation Center facility. The building on Skyuka Road (the former Carolina Classical School) is excellent and the environs are spectacular. The space is versatile. We can now&bsp; provide a greater variety of programs and events. We can now begin work on becoming a certified Center of Excellence with the assurance that our facility will not deter us. We can become what County Manager Ryan Whitson has declared as our goal to be the best senior center in North Carolina.

I am very grateful for Ryans support and involvement in the lives of our older citizens. He has a great respect and genuine concern for them which has created the necessary energy for moving forward with the new facility.

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The overwhelming support and interest of the community was in evidence at our grand opening last week. We estimate 500 people visited the new facility on the 18th and weve had calls from several who drove past and decided there was too much traffic!&bsp; Many more have dropped by since the opening to admire the building and make plans to come again.

There are so many people who have supported this effort past and present commissioners Harry Denton, Ray Gasperson, Rene McDermott, Tommy Melton, Ted Owens, Tom Pack, Cindy Walker, and Warren Watson; the Polk County Council on Aging under the leadership of John Hart and Laura Lynch; the Veterans Services officer Darrel Moore, The Meeting Place staff Donna Carson, Gail Dyer, Brenda Fowler, Hattie Jackson, Lula McDowell, Tena McDowell, Barbara Blizzard, Judy Moore, Morton Poliakoff, and Dessie Sheppard; and so many individuals in the community.

And as is so often the case, it is the volunteers and participants who really make things happen. Wynona Joye who served as our advocate with commissioners and county manager is an excellent example. I have to share a story to emphasize how important this new center is to the people who come regularly.

On the day the county manager emailed me to let me know the county had closed the deal on the new property, there was great celebration in the halls of the old Jervey-Palmer building. When the whooping and hollering (okay, that was me) died down, Wynona came to me and said, Okay, its official. We have the building. How are we going to furnish it? As we walked down the hall for lunch, I said we would have a series of fund raisers to buy what we needed. I said, I think that if every citizen of Polk County who is either a senior or knows a senior or will be a senior gives us $10, we should be able to get everything we need.

Well, when we reached the dining room, Wynona opened her belt pouch and took out her wallet. Faye Lynch, who was already seated, said, what are we paying for? Wynona explained that she was giving her $10 for the center. Before Wynona could get her money out, Faye whipped out $10 and said, Im going to be the first to donate. I was flabbergasted, but pleased as I accepted the proffered $20. Then others at the table asked what was happening. Again, Wynona explained. There were 29 people in the dining room that day and I left with $300 for furnishing the new center.

Thats how important it is to the people who have been coming regularly for a long time. I invite the rest of the citizens of the county to make a donation as well either because you are a senior or you plan to be one someday. And come join us for meals, trips, valuable information and a variety of activities. With the new facility we are poised to reach new heights. Your support and participation are invaluable to you personally and to the community.

Sincerely and still floating on air,

Pam Doty, Director, Polk County Senior Recreation Center (Meeting Place)