Some 100 people gathered Monday at White Rock Baptist Church to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the White Rock Senior Center.
After a meal featuring salmon and tri-tip, courtesy of Los Alamos Retirement Community (LARC), the audience was treated to a documentary film created by PAC 8 Executive Director Jean Gindreau. The film documents the history of the Center.
Mary Venable remembered how a nucleus of seniors, meeting at Katherine’s Restaurant in White Rock, first came up with the idea of starting a Senior Center in White Rock.
“From that nucleus, we stepped out,” Venable said.
Del Dyche of the Los Alamos Family Council and the staff of the Los Alamos Senior Center were excited about the idea, she said.
The Los Alamos County Council got behind the idea enthusiastically, remembered Sharon Stover, a longtime supporter of the Center.
“It made everyone realize, ‘I can get involved and make things happen,’” Stover said, adding that the White Rock movers and shakers were the ones who really made the Center a reality.
The Center began in 1995, in a small space in the current location and from there grew larger and larger, encompassing more space at 137 Longview Dr., as more and more seniors discovered the Center and began attending activities. Jack Clifford remembered how he enticed a group of men who met at the White Rock Quik Stop to visit the Center for the first time with homemade brownies. Soon they were regulars.
Meanwhile, the Center began offering more and more activities, from exercise classes, woodcarving, bridge, pinochle and needlework to all day getaways and hikes. The investment club founded in the early days continues to meet. Flu shots and blood pressure checks were offered. Volunteers stepped up and donation jars were filled. The Center acquired a weight room in 1997.
But the most important thing for most of the seniors in the film was getting out of the house and meeting others. “You can’t just stay home and watch TV … you need to get out,” a senior volunteer said.
Los Alamos Retirement Organization (LARSO) Director Pauline Schneider presented flowers to Mary Nunz and Mary Venable for their contributions to the White Rock Senior Center. Nunz was the driving force behind the film, gathering information and archival material and getting the whole project organized.
White Rock Senior Center Coordinator Annie Bard at Monday’s celebration, which she helped organize. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladaily post.com
Venable, along with her husband Doug were there from the start and every step along the way until Doug’s death. She continues to be a mover and shaker at the Center.
“There’s life after 65!” Venable assured the group.
Stover told Venable, “You created a home. Now your home is going to get bigger and better.”
The Center is in temporary quarters until its new facility is ready in six to 9 months. Current quarters are cozy, but everyone is looking forward to the totally renovated Center, Schneider said.
Schneider thanked Center Coordinator Annie Bard for her hard work organizing the event while moving into temporary quarters, all in one week.
The video history of the White Rock Senior Center is available at PAC 8, 475 20th St. Call 505.662.7228 for more information.