|Gering Senior Center manager retires|
|August 30, 2012 Jerry Purvis|
Margarete Neumann, who has served as manager of the Gering Senior Citizen Center for the past 29 years, has called it a career.
Margarete came on as site manager in September of 1983 at a time when the center was operating in the red. Through a number of fundraising events, memorial funds and other contributions, along with support from the City of Gering, the budget is now back in the black.
“The center opened in 1978,” she said. “It’s important to have a place were people can come and have a good meal. It’s a place where seniors can also socialize, play pool and cards.”
Another event at the senior center is Wednesday evening dances featuring local musicians. Margarete said many people from both Scotts Bluff and Banner Counties who don’t join them for lunch will show up for dancing.
“One of big changes I’ve seen since I started is the age group that attends the center,” she said. “We used to have 60- to 65-year-olds come here. Those people are now back in the workforce because of the economy.”
Margarete also said when she started, there were an average of 75 people coming for lunch and the center home-delivered one meal. Today, the average is 35 people for lunch and another 35 home deliveries.
“Most of the people who come here are now 70 and older,” she said.
For the future, Margarete and her husband have bought a motor home and plan to take to the road. “We’re going to see a lot of the United States,” she said. “Our first trip will be to Illinois, where I have some family.”
She added she also plans to come back to the senior center occasionally to visit. “I’ve made some great friends over the years and that’s what I think I’ll miss most. There’s a lot of wisdom in here that was passed on to me.”
Eva Ramirez, who has been the cook at the Gering Senior Citizen Center for the past 13 years, will take over as site manager.
“I hope I can be as good at the job as Margarete has been,” she said. “I’m hoping to add some more activities to bring more people in. I want to get bingo started again and organize some exercise classes.”
New staff members at the center include Maria Byrd and Dustina Barnholtz as cooks and Jessica Driscoll as delivery driver.