For those who may not have heard, the Shepherd Center officially closed its doors on Oct. 31, 2019. The celebration — which also marks my retirement — was just that: a celebration of all those who have loved this ministry as much as I have.
First, I would like to give a HUGE word of “thanks” to Cindy Haskins (the original director), Retta Overturf, Pat Turner, Nancy McIntosh, Doris Dexter, Johnnie Mae Swagerty and the entire cast and crew of United Way of Greater Kingsport, as well as longtime friends, new friends, my brother and sister-in-law, ministers and youth directors who took the time to join this blessed celebration. Words can’t express how grateful I am for each and every one of you.
The Fellowship Hall at First Broad Street United Methodist Church was beautifully decorated with pictures of our early Shepherd Center offices in the basement of First Christian Church and at the former Dickson Elementary School (where I attended grades 4-6) and our last home on the campus of Wellmont (later Ballad Health). There were photos of Day of Caring and Week of Caring projects at the center, Watauga Saxophone Quartet concerts and our favorite fundraiser of all, Lunch on the Circle. Each year of the lunch, we had fun, made some money and learned a few new things about our community and our wonderful Shepherd Center volunteers. Many of these guests returned year after year and became great friends!
I have so many folks to thank for so many things over the past 20-plus years: area churches, civic groups and clubs. Thank you so much for your help and support.
I have always considered funding from larger churches, businesses and United Way to be the backbone of our budget, while the envelopes containing the “widow’s mite” to be the heart and soul of our budget.
Thank you to each and every person who found our mission important enough to support — be it through your donations, your time or your prayers.
We at the Shepherd Center, whether staff or volunteer, consider ourselves very lucky to have been entrusted with the care of these wonderful individuals. We have worked very hard to make sure they’ll continue to be served. Thank you for the trust you have instilled in us. It has been a real blessing and an honor to provide care to the senior adults in our community.
Katherine is a Sunday Stories columnist who will continue to highlight local happenings and community organizations once a month in Out & About with Katherine. To share photos from a community event, add an event to our calendar or invite Katherine to attend your event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.