Plenty to be thankful for at COA Thanksgiving program


SILER CITY – Two days before Thanksgiving, the sounds of hubbub and conversation permeated the Western Chatham Senior Center.

There was no question that this cavernous building was alive once more — just the way Kathryn Walters likes it.

Walters, the Western Center manager who normally can’t stop moving, welcomed Chatham County Council on Aging clients from both centers Nov. 22 for the agency’s annual Thanksgiving program.

“My happiest moments are when this place is full,” Walters said. “People are laughing and having a good time, so I’m very happy today. This time of year is always a time for me to reflect on my blessings, and I love Thanksgiving and that time of gratitude and reflection.”

Attendees enjoyed a meal, music from the Council on Aging Choir and a Thanksgiving-based skit entitled “Mr. Pancake Turkey” created by COA board member Neriah Edwards-Boone.

The resulting energy of Chatham’s older adults, gathered in celebration, boosted the spirits of Walters.

“If I could design the perfect job for me, this would be it,” Walters said. “If I could hand pick where I worked and what I did, this would be it. I love these people that come in this building. I love planning the activities and I’m thankful for all the experiences that have prepared me for the business part of this job — which I do get to amongst all the playing! I’m thankful for this big, wonderful building that we have to create, to exercise, to take care of ourselves, to learn and to fellowship.”

Liz Lahti, manager of the Eastern Chatham Senior Center, assured attendees they had a second home at the Council’s two centers in Pittsboro and Siler City.

“Most importantly, we’ve got friends and we’ve got family,” Lahti said. “We’ve got the COA family. And you are all part of our family now. There are different types of people, and here they all are in the same building. It is a joy to come to work, every single day. You guys bring light to our lives, and thank you, thank you, thank you. Like Kathryn was saying, you never know how much you bless us — by your smile, by your song and your conversation.”

Ashlyn Martin, who has served as COA director since April, reiterated the joy the agency’s staff experiences daily with the return of clients to in-person events and activities.

“It’s such a blessing to wake up every day and know that we’re going to get to come and see each and every one of you,” Martin said. “The impact that you have on our lives, it means so much. So I want to thank each of you for choosing to come here and be with us each day.”