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USD 410 outlines possible cuts

Managing editor

Mary Dudley has big plans for Hillsboro Senior Center. And she is determined to make them work out, one way or the other.

The senior center manager is a newcomer to Hillsboro, moving to the city in April 2008.

Coming from Wichita, where she had lived for 45 years, she wanted to retire in a community where she could safely walk or drive, one that had a college for activities, and, of course, a senior center.

Dudley was not a regular at the center when she first arrived, but did attend about once a month. She was asked to serve on the center’s board of directors, which she graciously accepted.

“At the first board meeting I attended, the manager resigned,” Dudley said. The board then interviewed applicants when Dudley decided none of them would do.

“I wanted the job,” she said, and the board hired her.

“This job is so rewarding,” Dudley said with a smile. “People are glad I’m here.”

Beginning her new “career” March 18, the former real estate agent is determined to do the best possible job she can.

On Dudley’s “to-do” list is to have the senior center building inspected with volunteers providing the necessary labor to make repairs and improvements. She also would like a public address system for programs, a newer computer and printer, and windows that are more efficient. With a limited budget, Dudley knows the center will have to rely on the generosity of residents and civic organizations to see her dreams become reality.

Current board members are Kermit Ratzlaff, president; Ray Franz, vice president; Betty Barr, secretary; and Velma Hadley, treasurer. The board is seeking another member to serve in Dudley’s place.

“I would love to see younger people become volunteers,” she said. Dudley appreciates all volunteers and admires the older ones who continue to be faithful but is concerned when the older ones can no longer provide their services. What will happen? she asked.

When Dudley moved to Hillsboro, it was somewhat of a change from the largest city in the state.

“Hillsboro is more social,” she said. Wichita is a working community and she said she never saw her neighbors or friends until after work.

Since the first day, she moved into her house, the friendly single woman has enjoyed meeting and visiting her neighbors and attending church.

Dudley’s goals with the senior center are simple — she wants it to be more successful.

“We have to keep something lively going on at the center and keep it positive,” she said. Dudley also wants to double the current attendance within a year.

Outings are being planned to the Crown Uptown in Wichita and a trip by bus to Branson.

Last modified May 7, 2009

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