Former Shady Valley Elementary School principal Richard Blevins (center) enjoys the company of former students and residents during a recent event revisiting the school. Photos submitted.
Submitted by Meg Dickens
Volunteers and staff from the Johnson County Senior Center loaded up and headed to the former site of Shady Valley Elementary to spend time with Shady residents on Wednesday, September 1. Despite the weather, the event drew a crowd, with final check-in numbers coming in at 79.
Participants enjoyed soup beans, cornbread, and other foods catered by the Shady Rock School ladies and paid for by a Danny Herman Trucking donation. The Senior Jam musicians accompanied the event with live Appalachian music on stage. Food Lion donated various baked goods, and each participating senior won something in an old-fashioned cakewalk. In addition to the cakewalk, seniors also won mums and Dollar Store gift cards in a few rounds of Shady Valley trivia.
According to Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger, the Shady outreach day originated with the former elementary school principal, Richard Blevins, and his desire to revisit the school.
“He is really the reason I wanted to do the Shady day,” Motsinger explained. “I delivered meals to him once, and that’s what he talked about. He said he would love to go back one more time. He had a big beautiful painting above his fireplace and all kinds of memorabilia from Shady.”
Although the idea began with Blevins, it extended further. Center officials delivered meals to many seniors in Shady Valley, but when funding ran out for the project, they wanted to show citizens that the Center was still there for them. As a part of that, van drivers will start a route on Tuesdays to Shady Valley to pick up any residents who would like to come to the Center.
The Senior Center presented two ladies with awards for their work during the pandemic and delivered meals to the Shady Valley community, Diane Cole received the Extra Mile Award, and Jackie Sluder Grindstaff received the Above and Beyond Award.
The Johnson County Senior Center is a nonprofit organization serving adults 60 years and older in the community. For more information about the Center and its activities, visit johnsoncountyseniorcenter.com or check out Facebook.