‘She’s just a wonderful person’: Senior Center director grows membership, creates welcoming environment

Community Heroes

JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Over the past four years, Kathy Motsinger, the Johnson County Senior Center Director, has worked to create an environment where people can thrive.

Motsinger was nominated as this week’s community hero as people said she is a bright light and works to put senior citizens first.

Johnson County Senior Center MyRide coordinator, Danae Watson, praised her hard work.

“She’s always put the seniors first. They are her main priority. She was the one that actually saw the need and applied for the MyRide program here in Johnson County,” Watson said.

The Johnson County Senior Center located in Mountain City, Tennessee.

Terry Hodge is the Johnson County Senior Center’s transportation operator and said Motsinger has significantly grown the membership.

“When she first started, we had like 300 members and now we have over 1,600 active members,” Hodge said.

“She loves old people. She’s got compassion that’s unreal for everybodys needs. She’s just a wonderful person,” Johnson County Senior Center volunteer and the center’s board member, Beverly McKinney said.

Motsinger has worked to lead the way for seniors to explore opportunities they might not have elsewhere.

“We just want to try to meet those needs of our senior population here, just physically, mentally, nutritional needs that they have. This has been a challenging time through COVID,” Motsinger said.

Beverly Mckinney volunteers at the senior center and recalled what the center was like before she walked through those doors.

“It was kind of depressing. We came in as volunteers and helped her repaint. She has decorated. She has gotten grants for new furniture, computers, tables,” McKinney said.

Motsinger praised her staff members and said they help make it all possible.

“The staff that are here to volunteer, they are just amazing and I wouldn’t even be standing here if it wasn’t for them,” she explained.

Due to the pandemic, the senior center has been vacant, but Motsinger and her team have created new ways to connect with seniors during its hiatus, like sending meals to seniors who were too afraid to leave their homes.

Johnson County Senior Center meal site coordinator, Patricia Eastridge, said, “We actually have served since the pandemic about 25,000 hot meals and 18,000 frozen meals.”

“Now, we have done over 2,000 rides. We have 64 seniors that are a senior transportation program where they are able to go to the grocery store, the doctor, the beauty shop, anywhere in Johnson County and we have volunteers that are the drivers,” Watson explained.

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