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February 18. 2013 9:37PM

Londonderry Senior Center hires new director


THRALL 

LONDONDERRY - Local seniors attending the many programs at Londonderry Senior Center this week will see a familiar face in the director's chair.

Stacy Thrall, longtime chairman of the town's elder affairs committee, has been hired as the senior center director. The town's senior center is a familiar place for Thrall, who volunteered there in 2005 and worked as the center's volunteer coordinator from 2006-2007.

In 2006, Thrall opened her doors to area seniors when she founded her business, Here On Earth, out of her Londonderry home.

The adult day care center, believed to be the state's first program located in a residential home, served older adults suffering from Alzheimer's disease, memory impairment and physical disabilities. Here On Earth closed its doors for good on Friday, and Thrall said she's very excited to be pursuing her newest venture.

Her first day on the job is today, and she'll earn an annual salary of $33,685 for her 29-hour work week, town officials said.

Thrall's passion for working with the older population began about 13 years ago when she worked as a physical therapy assistant at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital.

"I saw a population of people that were unfortunately left without many options," Thrall said on Monday. "It's a very frightening experience for older adults when they find themselves forced to leave their homes due to health reasons and not knowing if they'll ever be able to return."

"That's when I became very sensitive to the issues facing them," she added.

As Londonderry's new senior center director, Thrall said she's eager to expand the site's existing program. She said she'd love to add more offerings in music, art appreciation and computer technology based on feedback she's received from area seniors. Those who regularly enjoy events at the popular Mammoth Road senior center will no doubt rejoice to have a new director at the helm.

The local seniors had been without a center director for more than a month.

Former senior affairs coordinator Kimberly Bean, who began working for the town in July 2011, ended her stint in Londonderry in early December. Bean had replaced longtime director Sarah Landry, who left Londonderry in late spring 2011 after accepting a higher-paying position as Pelham's senior center director. Landry had been working in Londonderry for more than nine years.

Around 10 years ago, Gladys Frederick, the founder of the town's senior citizens group, helped Landry open the senior center, located in the former Mayflower Grange on Mammoth Road.

These days, center membership continues to flourish according to Frederick, who said that between 50 and 60 of the town's senior citizens regularly stop by to socialize on any given day. During a special event, like the St. Patrick's Day luncheon planned for March 10, that number can easily top 100.

"We're so happy to have Stacy aboard," Frederick said on Monday. "She'll certainly have plenty to keep her busy here."

aguilmet@newstote.com


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