Frank R. Strang Senior Center celebrates 19 years in style

About 200 members of Frank R. Strang Senior Center turned out to celebrate the center’s 19th anniversary with musical entertainment and food.

“It’s a happy celebration,” Lauren Monahan, Strang director, said during the event in the center, 109 Lovell Heights Road just outside of Farragut, Wednesday, March 8.

“I want you to know how much I appreciate what you have done and do for your community. Happy anniversary,” Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said.

“[Burchett] has been a supporter of Strang for years,” Monahan said.

Cindy Cleveland of Arbor Terrace treated attendees to a buffet meal before Richard Fabozzi, motivational speaker, emcee, entertainer with Richard Fabozzi “Presents” and author, entertained attendees with songs by Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante and Sammy Davis Jr., inspiring some attendees to hit the dance floor.

“This is a wonderful day for us. This is the 19th year the senior center has been in existence,” Monahan said. “We were the first [center] and we’ve been here for a while.” She added the center was so successful that other senior centers in Knox County subsequently opened.

The center was started by a group of area senior citizens, later known as Knox County Alliance of Seniors, who according to Monahan said they wanted a place to go and have fun.

When the Farragut branch library moved to its new location off North Campbell Station Road, the alliance, which consisted of the late Frank Strang, Dick Ebert and George Anderson, petitioned the mayor’s office and Knox County Parks and Recreation to consider the former library building as a senior center, Monahan said. The alliance then solicited support and donations for furnishings and programs. The center was dedicated in 1998.

“Everyone was excited to get some new activities going,” she said. “One of the men on the group’s board was Frank Strang, a founding member. He passed away at that time, so the center was named after him.”

Monahan started as director two years after the center opened. “I’m delighted to be here,” she said.

The center, which currently has about 6,000 members, offers a variety of clubs, classes and health and educational opportunities for adults ages 50 and older.

Bill Masters of Farragut said he has been coming since the center opened and knew some of the men who started the center.

“It offers everything,” he said. “There is card playing, books to read and computer training. It’s a good thing for the community. It’s a place for everyone in the community to come together. It was just local [members] when it started, and now everyone from all over comes.

Evelyn Myers of Concord said she also has been coming to the center for years. “I came with my late husband,” she said. “[The center has] various activities. ... My husband and I were square dancers until he passed away.”

Virginia Schall, a member, said she has been coming for 10 years.

“I used to come for all the exercises and all the programs,” she said. “It has everything, exercises, arts and crafts, a computer program for seniors and card games.

For more information about the center, call 865-670-6693.