The Lions Club Park Senior Center is a haven of activity. A woman smiles and sings on a stage while men laugh and play games of pool. Energetic music wafts out of the center’s workout room.
Friday was an especially busy day for the center, which hosted a senior market day with vendors and local government agencies providing information to attendees.
According to longtime resident Myrlene Nullen, the active atmosphere is pretty common at the center, even when there is no special event.
“It’s always a welcoming place for seniors,” said Nullen, who along with her husband, have lived a combined 20 years in Killeen. “We are getting new people here all the time.”
Nullen and her husband began attending events at the center a few years ago, after moving back to Killeen to enjoy their retirement. Nullen said she enjoys the center’s library and fitness classes, while her husband likes shooting pool. Nullen also volunteers at the center’s front desk.
“It’s like a family,” she said of the seniors who come in and out of the center each day.
Fostering an active healthy senior community in Killeen is important, said Debbie Edwards, who manages the Lions Club Park and Bob Gilmore senior centers.
“Our centers are very active,” she said. “We want them to live a healthy lifestyle. We want them to live and enjoy and participate in life.”
That strategy appears to be working.
Last month alone, Edwards said more than 4,000 seniors came through the doors of the centers. She added Killeen is an ideal community for seniors and retirees.
“We have a very senior-friendly community,” Edwards said. “The
area has that military connection ... and it’s also a very affordable place to live.”
The reputation of the vibrant community of seniors has even drawn attention from those outside Killeen.
Essie Dookman, a longtime Temple resident, said she often visits the center with her sister-in-law to play dominoes.
“We really enjoy it here,” Dookman said. “They really make you feel comfortable.”
Edwards insisted the seniors themselves are not the only ones who benefit from the services offered by the two centers.
“The seniors here go out and give back to the community,” she said. “They have all this great life experience to share, and we can use that.”