Mineral Wells Index
— By DAVID MAY
With Linda Gilley's volunteerism and work as an administrative assistant at the Mineral Wells Senior Center since 2007, the place hasn't lacked for fun and enthusiasm.
That is not expected to change now that the energetic Gilley is the senior center's new executive director, having the interim part of that title removed following a unanimous vote of the center's board of directors.
"I felt Linda earned the right to move forward as the director," said board president Michael David Franklin. "(With) her vibe and her energy, she is dedicated to the center more than just as an employee. She is willing to work with us. That might be her biggest problem is she doesn't say no to anyone. I just can't think of a more positive person and face to represent the senior center going forward."
Gilley admitted saying no to taking on the center's leadership role was something she couldn't do after so many participants and board members encouraged her to apply for the position.
"How can you tell them no?" said Gilley. "I was totally happy doing what I was doing. I agreed to be interim, because I was totally happy being the right arm."
For now she is the left and right arm, but hopes to soon be able to hire an administrative assistant so she can focus more on the center's strategies and financial concerns, especially critical fundraising in the wake of funding cutbacks from sources like United Way. However, other than those areas of the center's operations, Gilley has performed in just about every other capacity from bottle washer, to cook, to janitor, to events coordinating, activities and more.
"I have done every single office in here. It is nothing new to me," she said. "I am doing the exact same today that I was doing two weeks ago, two months ago. I have a little more responsibility now."
She said she was somewhat surprised she was approved for the position on a permanent basis.
"I really did not think I would get it, that I would do it. Could I do the job? Absolutely. I never had a question in my mind. I was thinking maybe someone a little younger than myself. Plus, I just didn't think they would have me do this, that they would want someone who has been in a big, professional-type situation."
She said if there was one thing she would like to bring into the center right now it would be funding support for the Community Advocacy Program for senior services specialists, like Cathy Torres and her geriatrics program, which is geared for the community, not just senior center regulars.
"Because we have limited funding she can't come here as often," Gilley said. "Without that, (people) have to go to Fort Worth. They don't have cars, or money, to do that."
Other than that, Gilley feels there are a wealth of programs and activities in place and she hopes to keep those going.
"To me everything runs great, runs smooth," she said. "The directors before me implemented some fun, fun things. We want to make it fun, we want to make it creative and we want to make it a learning center."
Gilley became active at the center when she and her husband, Eddie, began volunteering there in 2007.
Known for being fun, even a little zany at times, Gilley is anything but pretentious. She will don funny clothes and hats, dance, strike a funny pose for a camera and loves to wear crazy socks people anonymously leave for her in her office.
Don't expect that to change even though she is the new executive director. Beyond that, she said she appreciates the backing and support she has received from her board, the senior center's participants and the community at large, especially in supporting their important fundraisers such as the annual garage sale and Monday's A Taste of Palo Pinto County at Holiday Hills Country Club.
Look for the Mineral Wells Senior Center's page on Facebook. The center is located at 102 N.W. 6th Ave. and the phone number is 940-325-6470. Gilley can be reached by email at email@example.com.