At a luncheon held in her honor, Josephine B. Brown, the Executive Director of Newton County Senior Services, symbolically turned over the keys to her office and announced the names of the new Director and Assistant Director.
Freda Reed, current assistant director, was named the director of senior services. The new assistant director is Theresa Williams.
Brown, who is retiring after 45 years with senior services, told guests at the luncheon that the senior center was her baby. “When I leave, I don’t want it to fall apart,” she said.
Then spotlighting the staff’s work, Brown said, “We are a team and we work together as a team. We support each other in the up moments, and support each other in the down moments.
“I’m relinquishing the keys to my office to the next director – Freda Reed,” she said, adding she wanted to leave the senior center to those with compassion for the elderly.
Reed said she had known Brown for 45 years. While worked at C. R. Bard, Reed began volunteering at the center, getting to know the director. When a job opened up, Brown encouraged Reed to apply.
“She has been my mentor, my mother, and a great boss,” Reed said. “She showed me what patience was; she showed me what humility was; she showed me what it meant to love one another. She’s been an inspiration.”
Reed said she had worked with Brown for 15 years.
The 74-year-old Brown was further honored when Board of Commissioners Chair Keith Ellis announced the senior center had been renamed to the Josephine B. Brown Senior Center. The chrome letters of the sign shine over the reception window in the lobby of the center.
When the sign was revealed, Brown burst in to tears, overwhelmed and pleased with the honor.
Brown helped shape the Senior Services program when she was hired 45 years ago. In addition to creating an environment where people connect, the center offers seniors classes in arts and crafts, quilting, computer literacy, ceramics and healthy lifestyles. Seniors may also eat at the cafeteria on site, or arrange to have meals delivered through the Meals on Wheels program.
Twice, Brown has been named Senior Center of the Year by the state. After the luncheon, she promised she would be back in the fall – not as director, but as a senior enjoying the center’s offerings.