EATON — You have likely heard that, it takes a village to raise a child. We feel that it takes a community like Preble County to raise that child, and then praise them when they become a senior in our community.
Did you know that the Preble County Council on Aging (PCCOA) was established and incorporated in March of 1973 as a private, non-profit, 501 © (3)? The agency’s first office was located in the Courthouse Annex on Eaton-Gettysburg Road and the staff included a director, and two part-time receptionists. Wow, we have come a long way in 45 years! Our staff alone has grown to over 40 employees, not to mention the expansion of land and facility.
In the fall of 1974, the agency rented an office and moved to 301 East Main Street in Eaton. Additional moves included a location on South Barron Street, and at the corner of Cherry and East Main Streets. Then in 1982 and 1983, property was purchased at 213 and 215 South Franklin Street and given to the agency by Mary and Wallace Campbell. The former church building was renovated and improved and used as a Multi-Purpose Senior Center.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the Board of Trustee leadership had the vision of a free standing senior center where seniors in the entire county come to socialize, recreate, and utilize information and referral services. Through very sound fiscal forethought, the agency’s first levy was saved in order to pay for land and the construction of a new senior center. A few years later the same concept was used to construct a bus barn for our vans. The barn helps to ensure the vehicles of the agency are protected from Mother Nature which extends the life span of the vehicles.
In November 1999, 28.6 acres of land was purchased for the new Senior Center facility and future program space. Construction began in the summer of 2000 and the agency took possession of the new Preble County Senior Activity Center, at 800 East St. Clair Street in Eaton on Aug. 10, 2001. The vehicle barn was completed on the site in March of 2004. It currently houses our seventeen vans for transportation. Throughout the last year, our transportation department has provided 16,000 one way total trips, travelling approximately 300,000 miles. We take Preble County seniors to doctor’s appointments within a fifty mile radius.
Of approximately 450 senior centers in Ohio, in 2016 the Preble County Senior Center became the second center in Ohio to receive certification from the Ohio Association of Senior Centers (OASC). Certification validates a senior center’s programs, administration, facilities, organizational operations, community involvement and ability to serve the senior population. OASC certification is the official recognition of professional achievement, expertise and operations success. It is a mark of excellence and demonstrates an organization’s commitment to maintaining the highest standard of practices, procedures and service delivery.
The major services and programs offered by the agency have grown over the years, but the services offered have essentially remained the same. In-Home Services, Transportation, Insurance/Medicare Assistance, and Senior Center Activities were all in place prior to 1984. All services and activities provided by the PCCOA support the agency’s mission, “We will partner with our community in assuring the best quality of life for our seniors now and into the future.” In January 2013 we began our Congregate Meals and Home Delivered Meals program. Last year we delivered nearly 30,000 hot nutritious meals to seniors within Preble County, and over 15,000 Congregate Meals in our diner at Midway restaurant, and Ron’s Pizza.
The PCCOA is a Multi-Purpose Focal point senior center. We are the only senior center and agency that totally focuses on the elderly In Preble County. We encourage people to live at home or in a comfortable environment as long as they can. Keeping seniors in their own home benefits the community. In the 2010 census, 1 in 5 Americans were 60 years of age or older. In 2020, the number will increase to 1 in 4, and in thirteen years, by 2030, 1 in 3 Americans will be 60 years of age or older. Our services help seniors to stay at home for as long as they can before either moving into a nursing facility or combining households with a family member. The loss of independence for a senior can be very depressing often resulting in increased health problems and potentially the need to move into a nursing facility. That in itself is a huge economic burden on the person, their family and finally the taxpayer.
We are grateful to those who had the foresight to grow and expand PCCOA. We are grateful for the individuals, families, and our community of Preble County for being a part of our 45 year adventure with us. Thanks to the staff in their diligence and commitment, as well as, the board members, past and present in having the foresight to keep growing and moving our organization forward. We wouldn’t be here without each and every one of you.
To stay up to date on all of our activities, trips and senior news sign up to receive our bi-monthly newsletter the “Senior Scene.” Membership at the Senior Center is $10 a year. In addition to other benefits, members automatically receive our bi-monthly “Senior Scene” newsletter which features all our latest news and activities, additional benefits are discounts on trips and select activities. Like our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountycouncilonaging/ or give us a call at 937-456-4947. Visit our website at www.PrebleSeniorCenter.org.