SALEM TWP –Residents who visit the senior center, township building and American Legion Post in Hamlin will be pleased to see a new addition out at the road: a brand new sign.

The senior center located at 15 Township Building Road just off of Route 590 in Hamlin had its share of confused people trying to locate it. Without a visible sign on busy Route 590, people would often drive past the old dark blue sign.

The dedication of the new sign on December 20 was complimented by a lovely indoor reception highlighted by speakers who talked about the importance of the location of the senior center and American Legion Post, and also the significance of the brand new sign out by Route 590.

Former 15th District Commander American Legion Jim English was appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the township and senior center in the process to make this improvement.

“We really appreciate it and what they do for us all the time,” said Jim English. “Debbie has been super. She's taking care of us.”

Debra Birtel, retired senior center director, received an award for her service to her community before the ribbon cutting in front of the sign. Birtel spent eighteen years at the senior center in Hamlin, there from the very beginning, and contributed about twenty years of service in the county agencies in total.

“We just want to thank everybody for what you do for us and the veterans,” said English. “Thank you very much.”

One of their special guests was Commissioner Jonathan Fritz, soon to be State Representative for the 111th District.

Fritz likened the new sign for the senior center and American Legion post as a nice reminder of the type of people who make up the area.

“People may ask what defines where you're from?” said Fritz. “Well I'm going to offer up this reply: Our region is defined by good people. The most precious commodity in this world.”

Birtel still sometimes volunteers and helps plan bus trips for the seniors through the area agency on aging.

Birtel retired from the center in October, and Sunshine Bryan stepped in her place.

“Miss Debbie Birtel served as the center's beloved and dedicated director,” said Sunshine Bryan. “Debbie was here from the very beginning, and somewhere along the way, Debbie recognized a need for a more visible sign to represent our senior center, as well as the other valuable groups who share this building.”

Bryan also remarked on the importance of the sign for another group who meets at the building: American Legion Post 807.

“That sign affirms that this place is a home to Post 807 and welcomes these honored veterans in,” said Bryan.

Bryan and Birtel were presented a gift by the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary to help with the installation of the sign.

The center also received gifts from Milton Tenenbaum Charitable Foundation and a number of families who donated in the memory of loved ones and those who passed away.

Seniors meet and welcome friends, play games, have coffee and enjoy holiday themed parties.

That sign out there guides the way for seniors and residents for the many services available at the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging. Resources, assistance.

The new sign represents new beginnings and the opportunity for the center to continue offering services through the Area Agency on Aging to seniors who need their assistance.

It took just a few days for the Pocono Sign Company of Blakely to put the new sign together.

“It was amazing because a lot of the people who come in here say 'I didn't even know you were here.'”

With the more visible sign, seniors can visit the center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and participate in bingo, socialize or even take advantage of the help and services they can benefit from at the center.

The senior center is a welcoming place and always looking for new volunteers.


Distinguished Guests:

• Honorable Jonathan Fritz, Wayne County Commissioner and State Representative Elect of the 111th District

• John O'Connor, Commander SSGT. Paul A. Sweeney Memorial American Legion Post 807

• James English, Past 15th District Commander American Legion

• Timothy French, Past 15th District Commander American Legion

• Joel Ostro, Chaplain SSGT. Paul A. Sweeney Memorial American Legion Post 807

• Katie Lane, Secretary American Legion Auxiliary Unit 807

• Tom Lane, Son of American Legion 807