Wednesday celebration packs the house

    The Golden Link Senior Center celebrated 30 years Wednesday with an evening meal and gathering that packed the house, literally. Close to 100 people filled every room of the center to commemorate the building that area senior citizens call “home.”

    In 1985, three community members, Lil Snyder (a retired Polk County nurse), June Shaver (business manager at the local clinic) and Bill Kiewel (radio owner), were approached by other local residents about obtaining a building that senior citizens could utilize. The three met and envisioned a place where people could gather, eat together, play together and enjoy each other’s company. Soon, they developed an organizational committee of 30 people representing seniors, advocates, city officials and friends. After some consultation with former Crookston Mayor Doug Oman and looking at various buildings within the city, it was determined that the former Diamonds building would be the most eligible place to be utilized.

    The group then applied for and received private, non-profit tax exempt status and developed plans for obtaining sponsorships through grants and fundraising drives within the community.

    Brainstorming for activities and opportunities that would be offered at the new senior center included minor health checks, meetings and advice given on things like Social Security, medicare, insurance policies and other senior services; plans for group travels and activities, and combatting loneliness through social contacts and activities like exercise, dance, card games, and movies.

    The present building was obtained for $135,000 with a loan from what is now called Bremer Bank and improvements made like making bathrooms handicap accessible, additional windows and light fixtures, new dishwasher and shelving, and more for approximately $34,000.

    In early 1987, a 12-member Board of Directors was elected and annual dues for members were determined. After multiple donations and fundraisers, they held a “Burn the Mortgage” party in 1989.

    “This was truly a community-wide project made possible by the generosity of all the people in the community, the Senior Citizen’s Club, various community organizations, grant-giving groups, area farmers, and especially by all of the volunteers who contributed their time, energy and talents,” boasted Golden Link executive director Patty Dillabough. “Without each of them, this would still be just a dream festering in a corner.”

    “As time goes on we find that our Center becomes a home away from home for many,” she added. “We have many people who have lost their spouse so to avoid the loneliness and empty house feeling, they come to our Center, have a meal, play some cards, crochet, do some visiting, and even shed a tear or two.”

    “It helps to make their days go by quickly, yet they are up and about, and have an excuse to get dressed for the day,” she continued. “The coffee pot is always on, there are people around whenever you need them.”