By LISA M. REED
NIAGARA, Wis. - Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. Director Joetta Bartolac is retiring this month after 26 years, and will miss the people she works with and for the most.
Lisa M. Reed/Daily News Photo
Outgoing Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. Director Joetta Bartolac, right, goes over some paperwork with Stephanie Davis, the new senior center director. After 26 years, Bartolac is retiring this month.
"It's time. They need new blood. Someone that has new, brighter ideas," Bartolac said.
Bartolac's husband, Craig, retired three years ago.
While retired, they both plan to spend more time with their three children, Brad, Michaelene and Emily, and their grandchildren.
"I can't wait to spend time with my seven grandchildren," said Bartolac of her six grandsons and one granddaughter.
Bartolac's also plans to volunteer at different places, possibly even at the senior center in the near future.
"I will also do a lot more four-wheeling and travel," she said.
The Niagara Senior Center building, located at 569 Washington Ave. in Niagara, was built in 1977.
The exterior of the building and the roof is in need of repair. Due to the condition of the building, the Marinette County Board recently discussed its condition and lease.
After a tour of the building, the county board granted the center a two-year lease.
"The county would like to see the city take it over. The possibility of that happening is probably not," Bartolac said.
"If they lose this, they don't know what they're losing. This place is beautiful. I am going to miss the people, the closeness and the stories," Bartolac said. "They have so much to offer you. They teach you a lot. They taught me patience, to listen and understanding."
The Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. provides meals and fellowship for area senior citizens.
Bartolac said the center is more than that and the senior citizens of the community have a lot to give.
"I'm going to miss the 'harassment,' and I will have lunch with them on occasion," she said.
Bartolac added she is going to miss the people she works for (the senior citizens) and with, including the county board, the staff and volunteers at the center, but not the political part of the job.
She said the senior center is a place for people to come together for fellowship, get answers to important questions and also get help with insurance bills, medical rides, lend an ear, and find out about the different programs they're eligible for and so much more.
"My mind tells me it's time to go, but my heart is heavy. I really love the people here," an emotional Bartolac said. "They're my family. They sure make your day. They can make it or break it, but mostly make it."
Bartolac's last day is March 28.
Stephanie Davis has been hired to take on the realm of the senior center.
Davis, who previously worked as a director for a senior retirement home, recently moved to the Niagara area from the Fox Valley area.
"I'm looking forward to meeting everybody and bringing new ideas to the programs," Davis said.
Some of the those ideas include Nintendo Wii bowling tournaments, bingo, bus trips and a website and Facebook page for the seniors. Working with the inter-generational for activities, such as school skits, is also on Davis's agenda.
But due to budget cuts, fund-raising will be the primary focus of her new job.
"She's a ball of fire, and I think she will do wonderful at this job," said Bartolec.
Bartolac thanks the county board, the senior citizens and the city and township and club organizations for their support.
"They have been phenomenal and made my job easier," she said.
She also thanked her family and her work family.
"The director wears many hats, and the satisfaction is in the many hats," Bartolac said.
Lisa M. Reed's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.