Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content AROUND TOWN: Friends support Colorado Springs Senior Center

11 photos photo - Retired Brig. Gen. Jesse Gatlin, second from left, was honored  at the Senior Center celebration. The former C-47 Skytrain ("Gooney bird") pilot is one of the favorite instructors at the center where he teaches American literature and "the Beethovens of Literature." Honoring their father were, from left, Joe Gatlin, J.R. Gatlin and Donna Hinman. 082213 Photo by Linda Navarro, The Gazette + caption
Retired Brig. Gen. Jesse Gatlin, second from left, was honored at the Senior Center celebration. The former C-47 Skytrain ("Gooney bird") pilot is one of the favorite instructors at the center where he teaches American literature and "the Beethovens of Literature." Honoring their father were, from left, Joe Gatlin, J.R. Gatlin and Donna Hinman. 082213 Photo by Linda Navarro, The Gazette
By Linda Navarro Published: September 11, 2013

This isn't your grandma's Senior Center. Don't even utter the word Bingo, says energetic director Mendy Putman.

The classes and activities on the center's fall schedule include zip lining, weight training, biking, iPads, dancing and ESP and there are 350-400 participating most days.

Reporting to the Friends of the Colorado Springs Senior Center and supporters at an annual fundraiser, Putman said retired Brig. Gen. Jesse Gatlin, former C-47 Skytrain ("Gooney bird") pilot-turned-PhD instructor for 27 years is typical of the attendee excitement: more than 80 are signing up for his American literature classes.

Sarah Honn Qualls, who said one of the top causes of death of the elderly is loneliness, called the center "a remarkable gathering place where people are engaged."

The Aug. 22 event was called SOS for Save Our Senior Center because the center had faced budget-cutting closure several years ago and staff and volunteers work to keep it open.

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