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Site manager loves serving people

Staff writer

She may not have made a lot of money in her lifetime, but Janet Bryant of Marion has brightened the lives of many people with her perky, humor-loving ways.

As site manager at Marion Senior Center, she is at her desk every morning at 8 a.m., taking meal reservations, lining up drivers for Meals-on-Wheels, and contacting other volunteers.

She began her job at Marion Senior Center in 2003. Prior to this, she worked at Marion City Library and as the secretary at Valley United Methodist Church. She spent 15 years as activity director at Marion Manor.

“Every job led to the next job, and every job was better,” she said.

Life hasn’t always been easy for the 77-year-old Bryant. She and her late husband, Ray, raised four children — Ann, Jan, Steven, and David.

They experienced the loss of son David when he was killed in a vehicle accident soon after graduating from high school in 1978.

“It was terrible,” she said. “We probably didn’t communicate as well as we should have, and we kept our grief to ourselves. It was around Christmas time, and it was hard.”

She lost her husband in 2002.

Bryant looks forward to seeing those who come to the center to eat.

“I like the people,” she said. “They are really nice, and each one has their own personality and their own quirks. They let me do silly things, too. Some of them are good examples of how people can be older and still be in good shape.”

She enjoys seeing how friends bring friends and sit together at meals. She also delights in seeing how meals-on-wheels drivers become attached to the people they serve and often go out of their way to help them.

Bryant plans one program a week. She also arranges special days such as Elvis Day, National Fork Day, and so forth.

She keeps local newspapers informed of what is happening or coming up at the center.

Whenever an individual is registered for meals-on-wheels, often arranged by other family members, Bryant makes a home visit to assess the situation and fill out a three-page form.

Making monthly reports is probably the only aspect of her job that Bryant isn’t enthusiastic about.

“There’s more paperwork every year,” she said. “It’s time-consuming.”

She is thankful for her job at the center and does not intend to quit anytime soon.

Bryant sees her biggest challenge as maintaining or increasing the number of people who take noon meals.

“It’s all about the numbers,” she said. “Our jobs are dependent on it.”

Last modified Nov. 12, 2014

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