Johnson County Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger, left, presents retiring bus driver Terry Hodge with a plaque of appreciation. Dr. John Payne, right, assisted in hosting the Senior Thanksgiving storytelling event. Submitted photo


By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center staff, volunteers, and members make it a point to show they are thankful throughout the year. Thanksgiving triggers this emotion even more. As a part of the holiday spirit, the center hosted a Thanksgiving storytelling event featuring Director Kathy Motsinger, former Bus Driver Terry Hodge, and Board of Directors Member Dr. John Payne.

The three speakers focused on the meaning of being thankful among the tragedies each member faced. Motsinger mentioned the loss of her son and husband, Hodge recounted the recent loss of his daughter and in-laws, and Payne recalled his close brush with death itself. Each speaker mentioned the members’ and center’s support that helped them traverse these arduous paths. Each speaker became emotional.

“God hasn’t made a mistake with me being here,” Hodge explained about his time at the center and the support he receives emotionally. “He knew what was coming down the road.”

What Hodge was unaware of is that the staff had a

special surprise awaiting him for this day. The center presented him with a plaque for his 11 years of service, a set of dish towels themed for Thanksgiving, and a cake to officially commemorate his retirement. Because of the pandemic, the center could not previously offer him a proper send-off for his retirement.

The center still served

the public on Thanksgiving Day through the help of another community entity despite technically being closed. The center partnered with Danny Herman Trucking (DHT) to host a drive-through Thanksgiving dinner event. Volunteers showed

up to help pass out and

deliver food. According to Motsinger, they provided meals for more than

1,100 people through this event. These people reserved their meals with DHT earlier this month to reserve their meals.

The Johnson County Senior Center is a nonprofit organization serving seniors age 60 and over. For more information on the center, visit, the center’s social media accounts, or call (423) 727-8883.