Senior Center in Western Orleans celebrates 50 years
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent
MEDINA – The Senior Center of Western Orleans celebrated 50 years of serving the senior population of the Medina area during an open house Saturday.
Six of the Center’s members who are 90 or older were in attendance, including Stanley Stack, who will be 96 July 3; Jack and Mitzy Bellack, Pete Amos, Paula Mack and Anne Albone, who just turned 90 on June 8. Albone is also the longest paying member of the Senior Center.
The open house included a visit from Barry Flansburg, representing Assemblyman Stephen Hawley. Flansburg read a proclamation from New York State Assembly, in which the Senior Center was recognized as “an exceptional organization worthy of the esteem of the community and the Assembly of the State of New York.”
The center was founded 50 years ago when several seniors got to thinking there should be a place in Medina for seniors to gather and enjoy camaraderie.
The village was approached about using the New York Central railroad depot on West Avenue, and an agreement was reached to allow use of the building.
The late educator Clifford Wise was the first president and the Rev. Burt Entrekin was the first speaker.
The group at one time had 600 members, but as president Lynn Creasey told the crowd on Saturday, many senior organizations are closing their doors. The Senior Center of Western Orleans has shrunk to 250 members, but the center is still active and thriving.
Creasey said he became a member at the urging of the late Lee Roberts, who loved to play cards.
“He asked me to join, but I told him I didn’t have time,” Creasey said. “He even offered to pay my $10 dues, but I told him that wasn’t the issue. I just didn’t have time. He finally convinced me and I joined. It was the best thing I’ve ever done and I have the most fun playing cards.”
The Center has euchre games every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and players are always welcome. Cost to play is only $2. A group also plays pinochle in the back room.
There are exercise classes on Wednesday mornings and one can expect to find a jigsaw puzzle in the works any time.
The Center has a gift shop which is always full of unique gift items, puzzles, clothing, jewelry and hand-knitted and crocheted items.
Many seniors and members of the community turned out for the open house, to enjoy refreshments, browse through scrapbooks of articles and pictures chronicling the 50-year history and share memories.
There was talk of the Blizzard of ’77 and how 50 years ago, all the ladies in the pictures had dresses on.
Creasey said the organization was blessed and it was important to thank all the members – those who support it financially and physically. He said the Senior Center had made changes during the years, such as new signs and new LED lighting which is just being installed.
He thanked the village and the community for their ongoing support and the volunteers who help with special events, sit at the front desk or just buy a ticket for a fundraiser.
The Senior Center has dinner meetings the second Monday of the month, an annual rummage sale and a basket raffle twice a year. Tickets for the spring raffle went on sale Saturday.
Donations are always welcome for items to sell in the gift shop, merchandise for the rummage sales and baskets for the basket raffles.