La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield speaks after words from Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton. Left to right are County Commissioner Scott Kitts, Missy Tackett, Executive Director of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, Morton, Stanfield and Senior Citizens Center Director and Campbell County Commissioner Butch Kohlmeyer.

By Charlotte Underwood
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – The Campbell County Senior Center held a grand reopening and ribbon cutting on Monday morning. The center had closed its doors on March 16 of 2020 due to the pandemic, but is resuming normal activities as of this week. During the down time, the center also had plumbing updates done to bring everything up to code, according to Pat Ort, Assistant to the Director at the senior center. 

“The Campbell County Commissioners were gracious enough to help us with that,” Ort said. Commissioners helped with $7,000 in funding toward the plumbing repairs.

Pat Ort, Assistant to the Director at the Campbell County Senior Center, welcomes the large crowd that attended the grand reopening on Monday morning.

She also said it had been “a long 16 months” and she and everyone at the center were “thrilled to be back.”

“We are so happy to be back open; we are ready and raring to go!” Orta said.    

Despite being closed for 16 months, the center continued its Meals on Wheels program, serving approximately 45 disabled and homebound seniors a day with hot lunches. Even when plumbing repairs were being done and the kitchen couldn’t be used, the center put together bag lunches for the program.  

“Meals on Wheels is a very important part of what the senior center does,” Ort said.

Lunches start going out by 8 a.m. for delivery around the county.  If any seniors would like to request a meal, call the center (423.562.6672). Meals can be picked up, eaten at the center or delivered. Hot lunches are served daily till 11:15 a.m.    

The center is also back to its full schedule of activities, including Thursday night live music starting July 8. Live music events feature the senior center’s house band The Knockabouts. Doors open at 5 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. Admission is a donation of $5 at the door. Half of the proceeds go back to the senior center and half goes toward gas money for the band. There will be a hamburger and hotdog snack bar. Live music will continue on Thursday nights. Other regularly scheduled activities include the Silver Sneakers Exercise Program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am to noon. Tuesdays feature a line dancing class at 9:30am. Needle point, crocheting, quilting and sewing crafts are Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays feature a prayer service at 9:30 a.m. led by Pastor Chuck Kohlmeyer. Friday also features bingo at 10 a.m.

Orta said if enough interest is generated, the center hopes to re-start its monthly field trip to Harrah’s in Cherokee, North Carolina. “We try to stay busy and always have tons of activities going on,” Ort said.

The crowd began gathering around 10am Monday morning to celebrate the grand reopening of the Senior Center.

The Senior Center also accepts donations to go toward its Meals on Wheels program as well as daily operation costs. Donations can be mailed to the center or dropped off at the center in the donation box.

“We do get money from the county, and the LaFollette Medical Foundation is wonderful about giving us grants for our Meals on Wheels program, but it still takes a lot of funding to keep it all going,” Ort said.   

The Campbell County Senior Center is located at 102 S. 8th Street (at East Central Ave.) in LaFollette and can be reached at 423.562.6672. Check them out on Facebook as well at Campbell County Senior Citizens. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/29/2021-6AM)