People making a difference

Jamie Lee's last day  as director of the Churchill County Senior Center was Friday. She is showing the plans for the new senior center.

Jamie Lee's last day as director of the Churchill County Senior Center was Friday. She is showing the plans for the new senior center.

After a little more than four years as director of the Churchill County Senior Center, Jamie Lee is leaving the program as the facility begins a new chapter in its life with a ground breaking for a new building on South Maine Street. Her last day was Friday.

The move to another position may not be coming at the right time for Lee, but she said her heart will always be with the senior center because of all the memories she shared with her staff, the seniors and the community.

“Our mission is so vital to people’s lives,” Lee said from her office, as she looked back at her tenure. “It’s an important job.”

She is leaving as the groundbreaking ceremony for a new $2 million senior center is set for today at 11 a.m. north of the Churchill County Museum on South Maine Street.

Since becoming director in November 2011, Lee said seeing how happy the seniors are tickled because of the accomplishments undertaken at the center. Lee said the younger residents need to take care of the seniors now and in the future.

“Everyone will be a senior at one time or another,” Lee said. “When I came here, there were limited activities and services, and we let the seniors guide us to what they wanted to see and to make services and activities available for them.”

County Commissioners Bus Scharmann and Carl Erquiaga said they were saddened when they first learned of the news. Scharmann said Lee has done a good job as the center’s director. Likewise, Erquiaga said he was surprised to learn of her resignation.

It didn’t take long for Lee, her board and staff to wheel into action when she was hired. An Aging and Disability Resource Center opened a small office, and Lee said it has been a success.

A grant from the State of Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services Division funded the center.

“It’s been very helpful for seniors and family members,” Lee said.

In a seven-month period up to January, the center provided 444 hours of assistance to clients with information, referrals, benefits access and counseling.

“They do a lot of connecting of seniors with resources,” she said.

Furthermore, the number of seniors using the entire facility has increased, especially with the dining-room program and Meals on Wheels. Lee said from October to February, the dining-room programs served 494 individual seniors 6,672 meals.

During the five-month span, Lee said the center served about 500 additional meals than what were budgeted. Meals on Wheels serve 22,662 dinners, almost 1,400 more than budgets.

Lee said no senior went without and the center covered the cost.

“We fundraised to pay for the difference, and I am proud we never instituted a waiting list for services.

During an eight-month span that began last year the Housekeeping Program has provided 2,289 hours of assistance to seniors who still live in their homes. The services include housekeeping, doing errors, cooking and providing transportation. Lee said the program plans to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible.

Lee is now the operations manager for Pinenut Livestock Supply and is responsible for three locations.

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