By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
Monday evening the Belton Senior Activity Center held their Senior Appreciation Dinner where seniors in the community could visit together, enjoy some entertainment, have a meal, recognize a few outstanding individuals, and celebrate their fantastic facility.
The Belton Area Citizens for Seniors (BACFS) Board “is a great group of people that come up here and meet every month and help out in so many ways,” said Jay Taggert, who is a board member for the BACFS. “Tonight we are celebrating this wonderful facility that we have here in Belton, the Belton Senior Activities Center.”
“It’s a great honor for us as the board to have the opportunity to provide this meal and this program for this fun evening for those of you who come up here to the Belton Senior Center,” Taggart continued. “It’s all about you and we appreciate you very much so this is our way of saying thank you for all that you do in making the Belton Senior Center what it is.”
During the evening, a special award was given out: the Belton Senior Star Award. For the past three years the award has been given to “honor individuals in our community that go above and beyond in supporting our senior citizens, not just here at the Belton Senior Activity Center, but throughout our community, and not just once or twice, but repeated over a long period of time,” explained Taggart. “It is a special award that we wanted to start and had an outstanding first recipient (Richard Schigut) who is here with us tonight.”
The Belton Senior Star Award was presented to Dennis C. Turk. “If it weren’t for him, not only would be not be here tonight at this dinner, but I’m not sure we would still have the Belton Senior Center as we know it today,” said Taggart.
About 8 to 10 years ago, home delivered meals were on the freeze as funding was being cut at the local, state, as well as national levels. The future of the Belton Senior Center was unclear as no one was in ownership.
In 2005 Dennis served with a small group of concerned Belton citizens to examine conditions and operations of the Belton Senior Activity Center and the home delivered meals program. Stemming from this, the BACFS was formed and became a non-profit organization in 2007. Dennis led the organization as well as served on the Board of Directors up until 2013.
“Through Dennis’ vision leadership, and passion, BACFS has ensured the success of the Belton Senior Activity Center and continues to provide a place for our senior citizens to enjoy daily meals and activities and a healthy and fun environment,” said Taggart. “He has been very special to me and to all of us on the board and tonight we are honored to present him this award.”
As a surprise to everyone, Taggart announced that a second Belton Senior Star Award would be given. The recipient was Barbara Elaine Murray, the Director of the Belton Senior Activities Center.
In 1994 she came to the Center to inquire about a position to help provide meals to the homebound. As a result of that initial meeting she was actually hired as the Director of the Center.
“She has dedicated her love and time to assisting in anyway all of those she has come into contact at the Center,” said Taggart. “Over the past 20-plus years, Elaine has become the face and heart of the Belton Senior Activities Center. On account of the countless seniors that have been touched by Elaine, we are proud to honor her tonight with this special award.”
“In 2005 I came over here and sat down in the office with Elaine and decided that anybody who gives that kind of compassion and love and care to this place, their purpose needed to have somebody to help them,” explained Turk.
Over the years many organizations have continued to show support to the Belton Senior Activities Center, to include the BACFS, Hill Country Community Action Association, United Way of Central Texas, the City of Belton, area churches, the Garlyn Shelton Companies, and the American Legion Post #55.
Dinner was provided by Mungia’s Barbeque, desserts from HEB, entertainment by Clayton Capps and Mike Middleton, as well as raffle drawings and a silent auction.
“Thank you for this community and all the support we have that make this facility possible,” said Taggart. The Belton Senior Activities Center “helps provide food to homebound citizens, food for those that come, and just a fun and safe place for all our seniors to come and enjoy each other and their day.”
For more information on the Belton Senior Activities Center and their ongoing projects, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities, please visit beltonseniorcenter.org or call (254) 939-1170.