In the community

Ray steps into familiar role at Vale Senior Center

Barbara Ray was elected president of the Vale Senior Center last month. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL).

VALE – Barbara Ray can still distinctly remember when she learned she was going to live in Vale.

The year was 1970 and Ray and her husband were in the process of moving away from Riverside, Calif.

“We had three teenage daughters and we wanted to get them out of the L.A. area,” said Ray.

They loaded up their travel trailer and drove to Boise. One day, her husband left early and went on a drive. Later, he called.

“I bought a house in Vale, Oregon,” he told her.

Ray’s reaction was immediate.

“I said, ‘Where the hell is Vale, Oregon?’”

That was 50 years ago but Ray is as much a fixture of the town as the sagebrush that dots the nearby high desert.

Earlier this month Ray was elected to be the president of the Vale Senior Center at 100 Longfellow St. S.

Her role isn’t new. Ray completed a two-year term as president in 2019.

Ray succeeds Irene Christ.

“This the third time (as president) at least. Probably more than that,” said Ray with a laugh.

Other newly elected senior center officers are: Sandy Meisinger, vice president; Bonnie Westerberg, secretary; Teri Duran, assistant secretary; and Frances Rempel, treasurer. Those individuals will lead a board of 12 members. 

Ray said one of her goals for the next year will be to make the center more accessible to seniors but also to individuals and groups for private events such as retirement parties.

She said she also wants to offer “some type of craft class” on Thursdays.

“I just want it to be more available, not only to seniors but to someone who needs a place to socialize,” said Ray.

The center can hold up to 124 people and Ray said the group already offered organizations, such as the city, a place to hold events.

Ray said there are about 100 members of the senior center

“We are here for them to have a place to go, to have fellowship and activities,” said Ray.

One new feature at the senior center Ray was especially excited about was a table that offers second-hand items for sale.

The Malheur Council on Aging also uses the senior center Monday and Wednesday to deliver meals. There is a lunch every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $3.

Now, the center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday for exercise classes from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The center is also open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and open Friday night from 5:30 p.m. until everyone is finished playing pinochle.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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