EDITORIAL: A welcome return for a local staple

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Over the past several years, the Sybene-Chesapeake Senior Center and its members have been valued contributors to Lawrence County.

Located next to the Chesapeake Community Center, the senior center hosts regular activities and events.

Center director Darlene Green and her board have organized trips and holiday gatherings and have created a wonderful camaraderie for their members.

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But, as was the case with basically everything in the county this past year, the center had to shut down in March, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only were the center’s activities called off, but their regular monthly luncheons at First Baptist Church in Proctorville, which were a major draw for the area, had to shut down.

It was a difficult year for the center, as Green said they lost a few members to the pandemic, while the rest were unable to meet and see each other face to face.

Green spent the year reaching out to all of them, checking to see if they needed anything and working to keep them connected on Facebook, sharing photos of their individual lockdown activities.

In addition, working with the county commissioners, the center would do things, such as prepare Christmas baskets, which were picked up through a drive-thru giveaway at their modular unit.

While they could have reopened earlier in some capacity, Green wisely decided not to, not wanting to take the risk of creating a hot spot among a vulnerable population.

The current center’s small size would have made meeting capacity restrictions extremely difficult.

But, last month, with vaccinations on the rise, the center reopened. And, last week, they had a day they long anticipated – the return of their monthly luncheons in Proctorville and a much-needed chance to catch up.

We hope the next year makes up for the lost one, with the long-awaited construction of a new senior center at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds becoming a reality and, hopefully, a return of the annual Senior Day event, held at the fairgrounds each spring, which draws thousands.

The Lawrence County Commission honored the group on Friday, celebrating their reopening and the return of the luncheons. The commissioners praised the center and its members and described them as valued contributors to the county.

We agree with this sentiment and commend Green and her board for all they do, and for meeting the challenge of the past year, and wish them a happy resumption of their activities.

And we at The Tribune would like to add that we look forward to again covering these many public events, as things begin to return to some normalcy from the pandemic, not only at the senior center, but all activities across the county.

From the Memorial Day parade to school events to community fairs to council meetings, the last couple of months have been enjoyable as we reconnect with everyone in our region in person.

It’s been a while, but we are glad to see all of you again, too.