Grant County Commission on Aging Family Services
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Our History
The Grant County Commission On Aging, which is a nonprofit corporation have been established for 28 years serving the elderly of Grant County. The purpose of the Grant County Commission on Aging, now the Commission On Aging Family Services, is to assist elderly persons and their families regardless of race, religion, creed or color, in finding and making use of their resources. To establish and maintain programs and services which are appropriate and realistic to the elderly and to establish the value of human life, dignity of self worth, an atmosphere or respect, trust and support. To make the elderly an integral part of the community allowing them to live with dignity and a purposeful life throughout their golden years and help avoid institutionalization.

We opened our doors on June 3, 1973, in the basement hallway of the Grove Street United Methodist Church for which they donated office space for the first year and a half. We had a borrowed desk and chair from Gerald Chadock of the South Branch Vocational School and a grant from the State of West Virginia for $4,400, $3,300 from State and Federal and $1,100 match from local in-kind and county dollars.

Marcel LeFevre, a member of the South Branch group, expressed an interest in establishing a senior center in Grant County. Marcel was formerly of Clarksburg, West Virginia which had one of the first senior centers in the state. He felt Grant County needed a senior center and with help from Larkin Ours, the Grant County Commission on Aging was started.

The director, Joyce Ours Thompson, started working on June 3, 1973, 10 hours per week at $2.00 per hour. She began full-time employment in 1974. The Grant County Commission on Aging had mostly social functions then and only two senior citizen groups in the county, the Mt. Storm Senior Citizens Group in the northern part of the county and the South Branch Senior Citizens which met in the Petersburg area at the Grove Street Methodist Church twice a month.

The Grant County Commission on Aging has 2,179 senior citizens in the county who may access services from the aging program. They are sent a quarterly newsletter. Our first service was free transportation to the elderly of Grant County to doctors offices, grocery shopping, and agencies. Our transportation program was the only one in the five county areas, even before the public Potomac Valley Transit Authority. The three local car dealers, Ford, Buick, and Chevrolet, were very generous in donating cars for the above transportation program on a three-month rotation basis the first year of the Commission on Aging conception, until we were able to obtain a vehicle from State surplus.

The Grant County Commission purchased the old Vo-Ag Building on Grove Street in August 1974, for the purpose of providing Grant County elderly with a county senior center. We were pleased to have the first Senior Center in Region 8.

The Grant County Board of Education was very generous in donating the building for $1.00 for the new senior center on Grove Street, as well as, providing us with used furniture and other items.
August 20, 1974, was the scene of 65 persons participating in our first flu-clinic. Dr. King came out of retirement to administer the shots. Judy’s Drug Store, with the cooperation of Dr. Judy, helped supply the flu vaccine at cost. We were fortunate to have this system for two years. Then we coordinated with the local Health Department and volunteer staff from the community.

In 1974, the City of Petersburg approved a request for free parking for senior citizens over 60 years of age. We provided the cards which were placed on the windshield of the vehicle.

The local radio station and the local newspaper have and still continue to cooperate with us in supplying mass-media coverage.

The banks were generous in helping offset the cost with the aging program. The Grant County Commission has been extremely wonderful to the elderly of Grant County. They donated land for the multipurpose Senior Center. The new center is a two-story, 75' by 40' building, accessible to the handicapped on both levels. Funding for the project consisted of more than $125,000 in monies, land and services from the local County Commission, $53,000 from the Governor’s Office, and $23,000 from the State Commission on Aging.

We have many that use their talents to help participate in our programs. Our senior citizens make crafts for bazaars. They spend hours on the telephone to lonely seniors providing them with telephone reassurance. We had a loyal bookkeeper, Curtis Hiser, who volunteered his time and knowledge to keep our books in the best of shape for approximately 20 years. Retired nurses and hospital staff have donated their services each month to help make our monthly blood pressure clinics a success.

The community has been very instrumental as volunteering on our board of directors. We wish to thank them for their countless hours.

The Grant County Commission on Aging moved from the concept of just social programs to nutrition programs in approximately 1982 and to in-home service programs in approximately 1988. This allows us to help the elderly of Grant County to remain independent and live in the home atmosphere as long as possible. These services include personal care, food preparation, and light housekeeping to at-risk, frail persons. These services delay or eliminate the need for institutionalization.

We have grown from a part-time director/secretary to a staff of 10 full-time employees and 26 part-time employees.

We serve approximately 142 Grant County elderly at the four nutrition sites which are: Petersburg Senior Center, Maysville Fire Hall, Dorcas Baptist Church, and the Mt. Storm Village.

We have a total of 47 clients which are provided in-home services on a weekly basis.

The Grant County Nursing Home came from the lack of nursing homes in our area and a concerned group of county senior citizens along with the Grant County Commission on Aging Board and the Director, Joyce Ours Thompson, realized the urgent need to have a nursing home in our county to provide care for elderly citizens who could not remain in their own homes. A steering committee was appointed at the county level in 1977.

The Physician’s Recruitment Committee was established by our board in 1976 to help bring more doctors to the area.

In 1976, the Grant County Commission on Aging board realized the need for low income senior housing and with the help of the Grant County Commission donated land for the project, we reactivated the Grant County Housing Authority. We worked approximately four years to bring the 32 units of housing for low income as well as senior housing to Woodland Terrace.

The board was so dedicated to the needs of the elderly and seeing these needs for a gap service between nursing home care and being fully independent that they formed a separate board to initiate an assisted-living project. The Joy Retreat Board was established on February 1, 1995. Land was purchased adjacent to the senior center for approximately 20 units of housing/assisted- living for the elderly. The board has been working on grants to obtain what they have envisioned.

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