Senior Center discusses expansion plans during Rotary meeting


BUCKHANNON — The Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur met on Tuesday, August 2 at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church at noon. A wonderful Greek-style lunch was presented for the meeting by members of CHUMC.

After opening with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the club’s Four-Way test, the meeting commenced.

Special guest speaker, Upshur County Senior Center Executive Director Traci Thompson was in attendance to talk about the center’s future expansion. Thompson is a Wheeling native and graduate of Fairmont State University where she studied Business Administration. Thompson has 26 years of nonprofit management, financial management, operations, marketing and fundraising experience: 10 years as a Director of Operations Nature Conservancy of West Virginia; 10 years as a Transit Manager for Country Roads Transit (public transit nonprofit); and 6 years as Director of Operations for Mountain Partners in Community Development, Inc. (small nonprofit).

Thompson started in her position during October of 2021. “As the director of the Upshur County Senior Center, I have planned a fresh direction for the center. I want to see the center thriving not only for our seniors, but for the community as a whole. I want people to know we are open and ready to do everything we can to help our community.”

The center has grown immensely over the years, but they are looking to expand even more. Most people do not realize that the County Roads Transit System, located within the UC Senior Center, is actually for public use and not just seniors. Twenty years ago, when the senior’s transportation stopped, the Country Roads Transit needed somewhere to base out of and the seniors also were in need of transportation again, so the fit was just too perfect. All ages are welcome to ride it. Thompson originally worked with transit, which led to her involvement with the center.

There are tons of activities for the seniors to participate in. Activities include but are not limited to: Zumba classes, Bingo, aerobics class, card games, different clubs for the seniors to be part of and more. 

In the near future, Thompson said the center is expected to have food trucks. Jenkins Ford has been partnering with the senior center and talking about donating food trucks for the seniors. More information on what is expected in the future for the center is to come. Thompson expressed how excited she is for the future of the center.

Members also touched base on information about the Children’s Festival at the Stockert Youth and Community Center which will take place on September 10. There will also be a quiet area set up during the event for volunteers to read books to the children that are interested. The Gibson Library has already donated a generous 210 books for only 25 cents per book.

The Rotary Club was able to collect enough money to donate 78 backpacks, 129 notebooks, 200 folders, $75 cash and more for the backpack distribution event.

The Rotary Club also presented a $750 check to Lieutenant Doug Loudin for National Night Out.

All ages, sizes, races, abilities, religions, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, immigration statuses, socio-economic backgrounds and gender expressions and identities are welcome to join the Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur. For more information or suggestions on guest speakers you can contact the club at (304) 439-8421.

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