On Dec. 10, 2005, Modern Woodmen of America sponsored The Bill of Rights Day at the Apache Tribe Gymnasium. All proceeds from the event were to benefit the Payson Multi-Purpose Senior Center.
The people and businesses in Payson and throughout Gila County gave of themselves in a manner in which the seniors could never have imagined. Over $21,000 was raised through table rentals, a silent auction, and contributions from Gila County, Modern Woodmen, and G. Michael Horton. Individuals and organizations from around town rented tables: several churches, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, artists, Marci's Kids, and others gave their support to help the seniors. Modern Woodmen of America members set up a booth with a giant chair. Entertainers, such as Faye Lumley, sang for the participants. There was such a tremendous outpouring of love as to make one cry.
Why all of this for the seniors? Because of their great need for support from the community. Like many of the other nonprofits in the area, the Payson Multi-Purpose Senior Center relies on the largess of the community. We have no direct funding from the state, the county, or the Town of Payson. We receive some support from the Gila/Pinal Council for the Aging, but that is only a drop in meeting our expenses. When I say we receive no direct support I mean we are not included in the county or town budgets. The Town has given their support, but we cannot depend on this in our budgeting without a specific line item in their budget. Mayor Brewer and Councilman Reese have always spoken up for us, but they and others cannot guarantee any funding.
The Senior Center provides meals at the Center, meals to the home bound, and transportation for the community. The meal programs are funded by donations. The vehicles we use to deliver the meals and other transportation average 11 1/2 years and are aging badly. Our building is even worse, with tiles curling in the community room from moisture below.
We needed help, and an angel sought us out to lend this help. It is to Tina Terry who asked if she could help us, and help she did. It is to her we at the Center proudly dedicate this year.
William Martin, President, Payson Multi-Purpose Senior Center Board of Directors