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Commentary - Senior Center gives director vote of confidence, tells NSI to leave

By Greg Odell, Alexandria, MN

A wise servant of the Lord once said, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." A leader must be wise; a leader must be understanding; a leader should be one who shows humility, especially when it comes to the public.

I became a new board member at the Alexandria Senior Center as of March 2013 and have been trying to discern and understand the present conflicts that are occurring there. Have you ever tried to untie a double knot on your tennis shoe? It does take some patience and time, but can be done.

At our last board meeting on July 10, it was a unanimous decision to grant 60 days for a vote of confidence for Ann Esterberg to faithfully guide us through some troubled waters. The turmoil has been going on, in my humble opinion, for a couple years.

I presently am a member of the center, along with my wife. I like to listen to people's perspective on the senior center and its future. The board also asked Esterberg to inform NSI to vacate the kitchen facilities. They will have 60 days to do so. Esterberg has found another vendor to accommodate the center.

Esterberg has been guiding our good ship for some years now. Times are changing and we all realize this. Our present financial situation is bleak but not hopeless. Our community is a grand community full of hopeful and optimistic people.

While getting my hair cut recently at Kyle's Barber Shop, one gentleman in his 60s said that we should raise the membership of all members. Currently the center only charges $12 a person or $20 for a couple. I have sensed also that those playing pool in the mornings are enjoying themselves and there seems to be plenty of coffee to go around.

I have full confidence in our board that we can see our way through this in the next 60 days so come fall, we will be able to look forward to better times.

Another gentleman mentioned to me that the food was lousy at the center. We were having a taco salad somewhere else in town and he didn't know I was a board member. As my mother used to tell me, "God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason." I want to have a listening ear and an understanding heart.

Two other senior women did attend last month's birthday lunch and had a grand time listening to good music. One said that she almost could have gotten up there to dance. They love the music and wish they could have more of it.

Please call me anytime at (320) 815-6654. I want to get your feedback and positive input to what's ahead for our senior center. So, please, let me hear from you as we move forward.