By Meg Dickens
The ladies at the Johnson County Senior Center are always working hard to bring a smile to someone’s face. The center also hosts other organizations such as MyRide TN Johnson County. Ladies Kathy Motsinger, Danae Marshall, and Laurie Easley work as a team to keep local seniors happy, healthy, and well fed.
Motsinger is a Johnson County native. She worked for Johnson County Schools for 25 years before starting her current position as director at the Johnson County Senior Center. She had no experience with the elderly beforehand, but the center has completely transformed in the few years she has been at the head.
Motsinger has a tragic past.
She lost both her son and husband 13 years ago. She uses her new perspective to empathize with grieving seniors and create an effective and helpful support system. Motsinger’s goal is to make each senior aware that they have a purpose in life and help them age with dignity. The center acts like a family and provides an excellent support system.
“We are all unique and different people,” said Motsinger. “I truly believe everyone has a special gift, and these ladies are irreplaceable.”
Her former pastor, Derl McCloud and his wife Gladys’s example, heavily influenced Motsinger. They showed her the importance of Christian love and service. Her strongest influence was her grandfather WWII Veteran, Hugh Walker a genuine and kind person whose humble attitude clearly made an impression on Motsinger.
Marshall was raised in Johnson County and discovered the senior center while working as a Home Care Specialist through Ballad Health. She currently works as the MyRide Johnson County TN Transportation Coordinator, helping seniors get around the community. ,Marshall also has tragedy in her past. She lost her husband in an accident in November of 2017. Her position with MyRide allowed her to be closer to her young children and to meet a need in the community. She channeled her pain into a force for good.
Marshall works continuously to become a better person. She makes an effort to be there for others and is passionate about protecting seniors from those who wish to take advantage of them. Volunteers inspire Marshall to work even harder. Everyone at the center works together. Titles are not important. Everyone is equal. The trio is family-oriented, and the center is a big family.
“We all think alike, get along well, and have a lot in common,” said Marshall. “We all check in with each other and pitch in whenever help is needed.”
Easley spent every other weekend of her childhood in Mountain City. Now, as the FTHRA Food Coordinator at the senior center, she prepares meals for homebound locals through Meals on Wheels and serves food at the center. Easley worked at the Social Security Disability law office before it closed. A mutual friend told her about the work at the center, and she knew she had to be a part of it.
Human connection drives Easley as she interacts with kind and appreciative people daily. These interactions help her become more assertive. Easley has found herself doing tasks she probably would not have volunteered for previously, while she strives to further improve her self-confidence to help others.
“Honestly, the wonderful people make coming to work worth it,” said Easley. “Every day, you learn and grow. I have learned to listen more and speak less. Be grateful for everything.”
Volunteers are the foundation for all the work these ladies do. Anyone interested in volunteering should come put in an application at the Johnson County Senior Center at 128 College Street, Mountain City, TN. Any help is appreciated.