The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Dana Paperman
Executive Director, Seward Senior Center 

Senior Center Secrets

What happens at the Senior Center stays at the Senior Center


Seward Senior Center

On Friday, Monty Richardson, retired school teacher and recently retired fishing guide (Captain of the retired F/V Irish Lord) celebrates his 95th birthday at the Seward Senior Center. According to observers, Monty inspires his peers to stay active and engaged.

Now that I have your attention, let’s move onto bigger and better things that happen daily at your local senior center; the large building that displays the Mount Marathon and Barbara Lavallee murals, gifts from the Seward Mural Society. These murals are a pure reflection of the multiple gifts that the senior center has received over the course of the past 35 years of senior services in Seward.

Our day begins before the sun comes up with Tai Chi classes, facilitated by Angela Brown, owner of Discover Harmony Massage, who also volunteers twice a month to provide relaxing shoulder massages. Morning weight training classes, offered by Rachel Dow, a top five finisher in the Mount Marathon Race for the past four years, whom inspires her students to reach for their personal strength goals, which can delay the natural bone loss that comes with aging; classes funded by the Older American Act and the State of Alaska. Core Balance classes offer the more mature crowd (average age is 80) a plethora of balance activities to keep core muscles stable and strengthened, with a variety of fun games and laughter. These classes are sponsored by Providence Hospital and led by O.T. Jennifer Dougherty and private P.T. Carolina Travis. And get this, once a month, Providence sponsors Foot Care at the center. Who doesn’t want young and beautiful professionals soaking, massaging and caring for your feet! If you are waiting for the right time to join us at the center, Foot Care is the offer that you just can’t deny yourself.

In the dining room, the coffee is fresh at 9 a.m. with complimentary Anchorage Daily News, Seward Log and the Seward Journal, literature gifts from additional friends of the center. The free loaning library shelves are stocked full of fiction, ranging from Dana Stabenow mysteries to James Michener’s “Alaska,” to engage your mind and invigorate your senses, taking you far away, to exotic places in the stories that capture your imagination. Pick up a book with your morning cup, grab a table with a view, find yourself comfortable and at home, and you won’t be surprised when someone knows your name.

The daily hot lunch service fills the dining room with the aroma of home style cooking, dished out daily by Shirley Odenweller, the lead cook for the past four years. Robust lasagna, creamy chicken enchiladas and a house favorite, meatloaf with caramelized onions fill the monthly menu. As folks file in for salad bar at 11:30 a.m., the music is turned down to adjust for the noise rising from laughter, bantering and outbursts of opinionated voices on current events.

For the fifth year in a row, the American Legion and the Sons of American Legion are buying lunch for senior veterans and their spouse, another terrific group of friends of the center. Captain Jack, Bear Creek Weir, advocacy efforts from the staff at the Alaska Railroad port office, City of Seward, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Older American Act, the State of Alaska and the United Way are essential partners in food service to help us create an affordable lunch program, one of the many programs offered daily.

Still want to learn more? To receive a free monthly newsletter, call us at 224-5604, email us at for the electronic version or check out our website at for a list of daily activities. We are waiting to hear from you. And to those of you that attend the center, next time you come in, invite a friend and introduce them to one of the best things happening in Seward.


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