PALMER — Mat-Su Senior Services is turning 40 this month.
Mat-Su Senior Services CEO Elaine Phillipps said the official anniversary lands on Oct. 20, but they’re celebrating this weekend. Staff and local seniors are getting together to celebrate with social distancing in mind.
“We are excited for our birthday and the bright future to come… to serve seniors and be impacted by their lives,” Phillips said.
Numerous seniors in and out of the center will join up with community members to drive a loop around Palmer in a procession route Saturday at 11 a.m.
“This is a covid safe, socially distant way for us to note the anniversary and celebrate our birthday,” Mat-Su Senior Services development and communications director Nick McDermott said.
McDermott noted that this will be a procession, not a parade, so there won’t be any candy or other goodies given out. He encourages the public to post pictures and videos of the procession if they see it.
The procession serves as a nod to Palmer’s history, with original colony kids participating in the event among other community members, according to McDermott. He said there will be numerous vintage vehicles representing various time periods with local seniors at the wheel.
There’s plans to hold an official dedication ceremony Oct. 20, the day of the anniversary. Mat-Su Senior Service staff are naming the main center the Palmer Senior Center with new signage as tribute to their past while retaining their current name, Mat-Su Senior Services to reflect their ongoing mission to serve seniors across the Valley.
The senior center started in downtown Palmer. The name changed from Palmer Senior Citizens Center to Mat-Su Senior Services in 2011 after board members opted to change the name due to their larger mission and service area.
“It’s kind of honoring both where we began, our historical roots, while also acknowledging the honor that we have serving over 2,000 seniors across the entire Valley,” Phillipps said.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the senior center has put their congregate meals on hold, switching solely to meal delivery and pickup services.
“It’s more important and more seniors are signed up,” Phillipps said.
There will be a special anniversary meal distributed this Friday. McDermott said that they plan to bring back their public meal sessions as soon as they can do it safely.
“We’re monitoring it everyday… just hoping and longing for the days we can all sit around a table together,” McDermott said.
Those interested in supporting the Mat-Su Senior Services can make a birthday donation any time at their website. For more information, call 907-745-5454 or visit matsuseniors.com.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org