From left, Jeanette Wilson, Miguel Castillo and Rogelio Silva (also known as Junior) enjoyed greeting and serving guests as they came through the line at the Magdalena Senior center.
Jay Ann Cox | El Defensor Chieftain photos

“Our seniors need options!” said Magdalena Mayor Richard Rumpf at the grand opening of the village’s senior center on Monday. The recently renovated building is now clean, bright and ready to serve hot, delicious meals every weekday.

The center will also be a gathering place for socializing and exercising. Currently, there’s a standing invitation for 9 a.m. coffee and donuts, and a group of seniors have planned to meet together for exercise in the morning as well.

Senior center staffer Jeanette Wilson, Mayor Richard Rumpf and Monica Abeita survey the stocked and spacious pantry.

The main room will seat 42 comfortably. There’s a pool table, a television, a fully equipped commercial kitchen with dishwashing station, a large pantry, a sewing room and even an upright piano.

For the grand opening, Rumpf himself made the spaghetti sauce. It was served with meatballs over pasta along with corn niblets, fruit salad and crostini. A table over by the piano held several different types of cheesecake and sheet cake. From all the smiles and comments, it was clearly a delicious and celebratory meal.

On hand to celebrate were Marshal Michael Zamora, Socorro County Sheriff Lee Armijo and Amanda Vega. Magdalena Chamber of Commerce John Lee was present until pagers went off, and he and several volunteers leapt up to answer the call for an ambulance.

Monica Abeita, of North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, joyfully went from table to table, greeting seniors and other guests. The opening of the Magdalena center is another step in building the support network for seniors in rural areas of New Mexico. Her office provides the guidance for obtaining grants from federal and state funds. NCNMEDD was also instrumental in the transition for the Socorro center, from county to city management.

The Magdalena Senior Center was packed for the grand opening on July 17.

Next on Abeita’s list is the senior center in Veguita, but the future is cloudy for a reopening in the near future. In the interim, the center in Socorro is delivering meals to seniors in that community.

The meals at the Magdalena center come with a suggested $2.50 donation for seniors. Non-seniors are welcome to eat but pay the full cost of $8.50.

Rumpf said that on occasion, someone will drop $100 in the kitty without question. “We are always up for donations.”

The SCOPE Health Council in Socorro plans to present programs at the center. Training in NARCAN administration, for cases of narcotic overdose, is scheduled for July 27 at 1:30 p.m. A painting class is in the works in the coming weeks.

The center is located at 500 Ninth Street, about a mile down South Main from Highway 60 in Magdalena.


Jay Ann Cox, El Defensor Chieftain Editor