'Like a family reunion' as Brownwood Senior Citizens Center reopens

Facility had been closed for 16 months because of COVID

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
John Franklin relaxes at a table in the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center Monday, a few minutes before seniors began enjoying hot lunches.

Brownwood’s Senior Citizen Center opened Monday morning for the first time in 16 months, welcoming seniors to the home-away-from-home where they can enjoy hot lunches, fellowship and a myriad of games and activities.

The center at 110 Greenleaf was already a welcoming place before it closed for COVID — even more so when it re-opened with a revised look. The facelift includes new tables,  a lounge-like sitting area and a frozen drink machine.

The old artwork that had adorned the walls is gone, replaced by a dozens of framed, historical photos of Brownwood. A cappuccino machine and salad bar will be added.

“Wonderful, wonderful,” senior Lila White said after arriving with about a dozen others at 8 a.m, as the center opened for the activities of the day. “We get to see all of our friends — like a family reunion.”

When the center was closed, the staff had provided meals to seniors in a curbside drive-through. That’s gone.

“They’ve been sitting at home for 16 months, and I’m just thankful that we got them back,” program director Angie Dees said as she and other staff members welcomed seniors with hugs, big smiles and invitations to “come one in!”

Seniors — finally able to be together — greeted each other:

“Morning! Seems like I know you!”

“Well hello there!”

“Hey, there you are!”

Senior Shirley Miller declared it had “been too long.”

Her friend Shirley Blevins agreed, saying, “we’re just glad we can all be back and play games and play Bingo and have fun.”

Senior Brenda Chambers added, “We’re very excited and happy that we get to come back and make friends. It’s been a hard year.”

The center’s hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.