State Grant Helps Durant Seniors

The following is a news release from the Oklahoma State Senate:

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Robert T. Davis Senior Center in Durant is one of only 17 senior citizen centers in the state to get a special improvement grant, according to Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. John Carey.

The center will get $5,000 to help make the center handicap-accessible under the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, the money will help pay for the installation of an automated external defibrillator (AED).

"This grant will improve the quality of life for members of 'the greatest generation' who live in Durant and Bryan County," said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant who serves as Senate assistant majority leader. "The Robert T. Davis Center is a great facility, and this grant will help make it even better for our seniors."

The center is home to several senior programs including the Southern Oklahoma Nutritional Program, an AARP group, and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) which serves all of Bryan County. Meals are prepared and served at the center five days a week; home-bound individuals' Meals-on-Wheels are also prepared at and distributed from the center.

"I'm so pleased that more seniors will be able to benefit from its services thanks to this funding," said Carey, D-Durant. "A senior center is an important part of a community, and our senior citizens deserve the best we can give them."

Sheila Risner, RSVP executive director, estimates that about 25 individuals eat in the center daily, while there are around 90 seniors that have meals delivered to them by volunteers. The center also sponsors a number of programs including a senior driving program and offers exercise classes as well.

"We are so excited to be receiving this grant," Risner said. "The city and I have worked really hard to get funding. It is going to make a world of difference for our seniors with disabilities by making every aspect of the center more accessible and it'll be nice to have an AED on hand in case of a medical emergency.

"I'd like to thank Senator Gumm and Representative Carey on behalf of all the senior citizens here in Durant and Bryan County. They are great advocates for our programs and we really appreciate all their efforts."

The grants are awarded to a variety of entities including incorporated towns, cities, counties and non-profits. They can be used to help fund rehabilitation of a building, new construction or the purchase of necessary equipment.