As she prepares to retire as executive director of the Smithville Senior Center, Wanda Poss says what she will miss most are the seniors whom she has gotten to know.
“The best part of this job has been helping people needing help.” said Poss, who will officially step down as director of the senior center August 31 after serving in that capacity for the past 17 years. “I have enjoyed being out there associating with the seniors, playing cards with them and organizing activities for their benefit. The seniors here are very important to me," she said in an interview Friday with WJLE.
Poss took on the job as director of the Smithville Senior Center in 1997 after working in the private sector. "I was working at Kingston Timer but my orthopedic surgeon took me off of repetitious work. I went home and stayed for a while but when I heard about this opportunity, I decided to put in for it," she said.
Over the years, Poss has seen more programs become available to help seniors live more productively. "The Silver Sneakers Fitness program has been a big help and has grown. We also have the HELP Program. The Rotary Club joined up with us several years ago to help us take food out at Christmas time. We deliver about 80-90 boxes at Christmas time. At times I have gone into homes and taken food when they (seniors) call," she said.
In addition to her daily duties as Senior Director and Coordinator of the HELP Program, Poss has helped organize other activities and events including community fund raising dances for the senior center as well as the annual Veteran's Day lunch. Last year, she said more than 200 were fed as a way of honoring local veterans.
A dream long held by Poss finally became a reality after the county bought the building now known as the complex and developed a new senior center there. " The existing city hall was built during the 1970s and they (senior citizens center) were there on the second floor. We were fortunate and blessed to have the city let us use the city hall for all those years. But when the county bought this building (complex) I went to County Mayor Mike Foster and asked to get the seniors (a new center) on the ground floor. He said "we'll try to". He did and it's a beautiful center and we're very proud of it," said Poss.
While she looks forward to retirement, Poss said she plans to remain active. "I'm going home and rest a while. I'll rest until September and that's when we'll leave on our Colorado trip", she said. Called Wanda's Traveling Friends, Poss will continue planning vacation trips for seniors and others who want to join her on visits to places around the world.
Poss said she wishes to thank all those who have supported the senior citizens program over the years including local businesses, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, UCDD, the City of Smithville including past and present mayors and aldermen, past and present county mayors and county commissioners, the Smithville Police Department and Sheriff's Department, the Smithville Rotary Club, DeKalb EMS, and the senior citizens.