Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Hedley Senior Citizens in new home

A decade of planning and praying paid off last Wednesday, May 3, when the Hedley Senior Citizens served lunch for the first time out of their new facility.

“We cried all day yesterday we were so excited,” longtime director Patsy Spier said as she stood waiting for people to line up to be served. “I’d come out, walk around the building, and go back into the office, and just cry. We’ve wanted this almost forever.”

The new facility on Hedley’s Main Street encompasses about 5,000 square feet, features a modern commercial kitchen, a large dining room, an office, and plenty of storage space. The $210,000 price tag was covered largely by numerous fundraisers and the help of a couple of grants, said Kathy Spier, who now serves as the group’s executive director.

Shirley Hall and Betty Greenhaw prepare the first meal in the Hedley Senior Citizens new building last Wednesday. Enterprise Photo / Roger Estlack

Working out of a building that was more than 100 years old and showing its age, the Hedley Senior Citizens started exploring the possibility of a new facility about 12 years ago.

“I went to the USDA, the Bivins Foundation, and many different places to discuss it,” Kathy said. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”

Undaunted, the group set out to raise the money on their own through a series of raffles and fundraisers over several years – work that has now paid off to the benefit of the Hedley community as a whole.

“This is not just for us but for everybody,” Kathy said.

Hedley’s pride for the new facility is evident by the number of people who have supported the project as well as the volunteers who helped the group move into its new home.

“Several men helped move equipment,” Kathy said. “Jim Mitchell, Roger Hagar, Leon Ward, Gwan Wilkinson, and Jimmy Taylor did that. Jean Taylor, Tonya Metcalf, Gwynne Howard, and Lon Adams and his students helped clean the building and move the office.”

In addition, the Hedley classes of 1965 and 1964 donated money to the project, and the Zephyr Foundation also provided some assistance, Spier said.

Gwynne Howard credits the mother-daughter duo of Patsy and Kathy Spier for making the building happen.

“Those two ladies are the reason we have it,” Howard said. “If someone takes the lead, other people will help. But first someone has to put it on their shoulders and take it on.”

Jimmy Taylor, who is a regular at the Hedley Senior Citizens and whose wife, Jean, ran the organization for several years, is proud of the new facility.

“It’s real nice, first class,” Taylor said. “They put a lot of work into this. It’s been a long time since we had a new building downtown.”

Taylor also said the senior citizens provides a good service to the community and the food is always good.

“I’ve been eating here a long time,” he said. “If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault.”

The Hedley Senior Citizens Club, as it was originally known, was founded in 1974 by J.S. and Verda Hinds. Mr. Hinds was a former school superintendent. The group moved into its first building in October of 1978. That building will now be used for storage until its final fate is determined.

The Hedley Senior Citizens serves lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Meals are $6 for those under the age of 60 and cost nothing for those age 60 and over, although a $6 donation is appreciated.

An average of 50 people a day are served on site, and home delivered meals average 15 per day.

“We don’t just serve seniors,” Kathy said. “We have a lot of cowboys a­nd farmers that come in as well as people from Clarendon and Memphis and even Amarillo. Anyone can eat with us.”

A formal opening and dedication for the new building will be held this summer.

“We want to get used to the building first,” Kathy said. “It is just so nice and we are so thankful to have it.”

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