House opens its doors

By William Thompson

Long time House resident, Darryl Petrak learned something new about his hometown Wednesday.

At the House Community Empowerment Day, attendees had the chance to view local arts and crafts after seeing presentations about services available for senior citizens.
Petrak, who just stopped in on his way to work, was surprised how many people in the town were artists.

Cathy Ray brought several of her oil paintings to the exhibit and some painted cross sections of trees, even a cross section of a cedar fence post.
Several ladies had their homemade quilts on display and Susan Harding displayed her painted prairie dog skulls and jewelry items.

“I was surprised there were so many talented people here in House,” Petrak said. “It’s interesting to see all these different crafts that I didn’t know about even though I’ve lived here so long.”

The arts and crafts were only supplemental to the main purpose of the event — to give the about 50 elderly House residents and visitors there an overview of the services offered to senior citizens.

House Postmaster Cathy Ray said senior citizens make up a large portion of House’s population.

“There are fewer and fewer young people staying in House after they finish school,” Ray said. “We have about 85 residents and most of the people here are senior citizens.”
Representative of agencies that offer help to the elderly were on hand at the community center to give short presentations on what they do.

Karen Allen, a supervisor for Adult Protective Services told residents how to report abuse and neglect of senior citizens.

Diana Chavez of the Stone Soup Collaborative, a Catholic charities group that oversees rural food banks, also spoke.

“House is a small community, but it is a very united community,” Chavez said. “I knew the food pantry would succeed here. What we are trying to do today is let people know that there are a number of services available to residents of small rural communities.”

Guests were served a free roast beef lunch, and around 2 p.m. they adjourned to a large room where arts and crafts were displayed.

Delores Blackburn, who had a quilt on display, said the day was very informative.

“I got a lot of good information today,” she said. “About services offered that I didn’t know were available here.”