Senior center gets new director

Gray Hughes

The Hill City Senior Center has a new director— Mary Walton.

Walton took over as director at the beginning of the month, and since then has been thoroughly impressed by Hill City and the members of the senior center.

“My husband and I are both native Nebraskans,” Walton said. “Hill City is a place we have come every year for over 20 years. So we have always wanted to live here, and we found a place in March—we closed on a house. We have been looking for employment up here for years, and we thought ‘well, at least we have a retirement house and a weekend house,’ and then this job became available. I applied, and here I am.”

Even before she took over as director of the senior center, Walton and her husband always used to say to each other Hill City gets in their souls and there is something about the city that draws people in.

This is the first time Walton has lived outside of the Cornhusker State. She said she was attracted to the Black Hills, which, she said, are a lovely place to come.

Even when she came and visited and wanted to live here, Walton said she wondered if it would be the same if they did move here.

While she said it was too soon to tell, and it is a little different so far living here rather than visiting, Hill City is a great place.

“How can you not love it — no matter what?” she asked.

The people in Hill City, too, have been incredibly welcoming to her.

She said she would talk to people when she came to visit the city and ask them how the city is and how residents treat people who are not from Hill City.

Without fail, everyone she asked said something similar—it’s wonderful, and the town is wonderful.

“And it has been,” Walton said. “Very much so.”

Walton said this year will be her “learning year” at the senior center, but she has been thoroughly impressed by the members of the organization.

They work so hard it “isn’t even funny,” she said.

She pointed to the rummage sale held earlier in the month as a prime example.

“They are on their feet,” she said. “You would not believe the bags of clothes and the items that came in were phenomenal, and they worked and worked and worked.”

Walton then referenced the then-upcoming monthly breakfast, which the members were setting up for at the time.

The members are in the center, Walton said, and they are setting up the cooking utensils, the tables and everything else needed for the Sunday breakfast.

The members, she reiterated, are fabulous.

Walton encourages anyone who is interested to join the senior center. Even those who are not considered seniors are allowed to join for the normal price (those 45 and under, though, do not have voting rights at the annual meeting in September).

The individual and business memberships along with the monthly Sunday breakfast and the breakfasts held during the Rally are what keeps the senior center up and running, she said. They center will  look into obtaining a federal grant once the senior center addition is in place, she said, but that is still being investigated. Overall, though, Walton continues to be impressed with Hill City.

“I am in love with this place,” she said. “I cannot say that enough.”

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