by Kate Shunney
Berkeley Springs’ Senior Center had modest beginnings in a small space in the old county courthouse. That “Senior Stop” – the first place designated for senior citizen socializing and activities in
Morgan County – would move several times, but grew over half a century into a multi-service agency serving local older residents.
Senior Life Services of Morgan County, which also oversees the Paw Paw Senior Center, celebrated their first 50 years during a special lunch and reception last week.
Nearly 80 people filled the current Berkeley Springs Senior Center space – from clients to family members, board members and public officials.
The smells of a turkey dinner rolled into the gathering area as Senior Life Services officials recognized the people who have supported local senior programs through the years.
A photo slideshow, narrated by board member and County Commissioner Bill Clark, told the history of the county’s senior citizens service which was born on November 26, 1971 as the Morgan County Commission on Aging.
Once just a place to socialize, the senior center now supplies meals, bus transportation, legal and tax help, home care services and still offers a place for socializing and entertainment for older county residents.
Speakers at the anniversary celebration noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had cut into many of their usual activities, but staff kept calling seniors and delivering meals when many older residents were urged to stay home. Reopening the senior centers in Berkeley Springs and Paw Paw was a big step toward ending the isolation felt by many of the centers’ usual visitors.
Representatives from U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito’s offices, plus U.S. Congressman Alex Mooney’s office, shared legislators’ congratulations and appreciation for all the services being offered.
West Virginia Delegates Ruth Rowan and George Miller said lawmakers recognize the value of the agency’s dedication to senior citizens, and to their communities.
Executive Director Tammy Kees recognized past and present board members, who provide oversight and guidance for the agency’s operations. The Senior Life Services board of directors are: Bill Clark, Kimberly Galeone, Brenda Hutchinson, Barbara Norton, Pat Quirk, Nancy Wheeler and Early “Smiley” Whisner.
Kees has worked at the center for more than 20 years, both at the former location in the old Bath District school on Green Street and at the current center in the former U.S. Silica corporate offices. She thanked the center’s many supporters and families, before asking for a blessing and letting the turkey dinners roll out onto the tables.