Getting to know the Salamanca senior center board members: Joe and Mary Ellen Giblin

SALAMANCA — For the second in my series of getting to know the Salamanca Area Senior Center board members, I would like to recognize Joe and Mary Ellen Giblin.

I asked Mary Ellen about when she first became a member of the center.

“As one of the originators of the Salamanca Area Senior Center, Joe and I belonged to a core group of 10 to 12 people since 2007,” she told me. “We started with a dream of making things better for the seniors in our area.”

Next, I asked her how did this dream start.

“When we started, we had a piece of plywood on a pool table at the youth center, and we all brought a dish to pass,” Mary Ellen said. “Gene Puvel had a vision and he encouraged us to voice our views and suggestions and to work toward fulfilling this dream. Without him and his encouragement, the center would never have become this wonderful place.”

I was really interested in hearing this because I had never known about the center until I joined, and maybe there are others that didn’t know this either.

Joe and Mary Ellen were the ones responsible for bringing Fisher’s Big Wheel to the area, and at one time owned Magara’s Appliance. Mary Ellen also had “Ceramics By Me,” a craft shop.

We next talked about what the center offers to the community.

“This is a place to come and share and meal, read the paper, watch TV or join in with BINGO on our Activity Day or play the Mexican Train game on Mondays,” Mary Ellen said. “We have puzzles to work on, crafts on Thursday evenings and, for the guys or gals, pool tables and a ping pong table.”

Finally, I asked Mary Ellen where she sees the center in three to five years from now.

“Well, we, the community, need a place to come. A warm and friendly place where anyone 60 or older can join, or anyone can come in and have a cup of coffee,” she said. “Come check us out. Everyone is welcome.”