Chickasaw Nation Opens New Connerville Senior Center

CONNERVILLE, Okla. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby was joined by many of the area’s 200 Chickasaw elders and tribal officials to dedicate the new Chickasaw Nation Connerville Senior Center in a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday, April 30.

The new 6,000-square-foot senior center, located at 6654 US Hwy 377 N, Connerville, is open to Chickasaw and Native American elders who live in the area. It will also serve as a community center.

“We place a very high priority on serving Chickasaw seniors,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “Our seniors are trailblazers and we appreciate them. We are always looking for ways to improve their quality of life. This new facility helps us achieve that mission.”

The new building was tailored for the area’s seniors. They provided input for amenities they wanted in the facility, such as a large front porch.

The new facility is almost twice as large as the former building and includes a large kitchen, dining room, computer room that doubles as a safe room, a television room and an arts and crafts room.

It will also serve as a community center with the capability to host birthday parties, family gatherings and social events.

Prior to constructing the new senior center, a renovated former grocery store served as the senior center since the 1980s. More than 82,500 meals were served in the former facility. The number of meals served to area elders is expected to increase with the opening of the new building.

Juanita Moody, Pontotoc, is very thankful for the new facility.

She has relied on the Connerville site for more than 20 years for nutritious meals and fellowship. Coming to the senior center is part of her daily routine.

Mrs. Moody is impressed with the new facility. “It is really nice. It’s uptown,” she said with a chuckle.

About 200 Chickasaw elders, along with 2,500 eligible elders from other tribes in the Connerville area will have access to the facility.

Opening the new Connerville site occurred the same week as the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Chickasaw Nation Senior Center in Madill, Okla., said tribal division on aging administrator Karen Cook.

It was then that Ms. Cook met Mrs. Jessie Sandefur, an active senior at the Madill site who attended the Connerville ribbon cutting.

“All the senior centers provide a place for people to associate and fellowship with other seniors. Everyone I know just really enjoys it,” said Mrs. Sandefur.

The Chickasaw Nation also has senior sites in Achille, Ada, Ardmore, Colbert, Duncan, Kullihoma, Madill, Pauls Valley, Purcell, Sulphur and Tishomingo.

Last year, almost 150,000 meals were served at Chickasaw Nation Senior Centers.

In addition to meals, the Chickasaw Nation Aging program offer trips, health screenings, exercise classes and education about variety of issues.

For more information about the Colbert Senior Center and eligibility requirements, call the Chickasaw Nation Division of Aging at (580) 795-9790.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, with large scissors, is joined by tribal elected officials and several area elders to cut the ribbon to officially open the new Chickasaw Nation Connerville Senior Center, Connerville, Okla., in a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday, April 30. Photo by Mike McKee.