Melanie Dykes Reaches Seniors Where They Are

Melanie Dykes

Melanie Dykes just bought a new toolkit, pink of course, with a matching pink drill. But she's not just doing DIY projects at home. She bought the toolkit so she can take her service to Union County's senior citizens to the next level.

Dykes serves in two related roles in the county. As director of the Union County Senior Center, she makes sure there are activities and services for the seniors who visit the county's four senior center locations. And as the director of the Union County Office on Aging, she reaches out to seniors who aren't regular attendees at the senior centers, connecting them the with services and assistance they need.

She's been working with Union County's seniors since 2011. She was working in Union County Mayor Mike Williams' office when changes at the Union County Senior Center created a need for someone to "just keep the doors open," she said. Dykes took on the work in addition to her duties in the mayor's office. She was surprised to find her life's calling at the senior center.

"It got to the point where I just wanted to stay here," she said. "I just loved being here with everybody. I just like to be around people, and I like to be around people that appreciate what you do. I needed that. When the time came, I asked to be interviewed, and the rest is history."

The hiring process, and the reporting for the Office on Aging, go through ETHRA. Dykes has attended copious training and continuing education sessions and gained certifications in many topics pertaining to seniors.

On the senior center side of her job, Dykes said she's proud of the number of participants Union County's senior centers see each month. The Union County Senior Center in Maynardville is open five days each week and offers a hot lunch four of those days. Senior centers are open once a month in Sharps Chapel, Luttrell and Plainview with help from volunteers. Among those locations, there are 150 active seniors. In addition, Union County's seniors take between five and eight bus trips per year thanks to budgeting and fundraisers, with an average of 50 to 59 participants on each. Other activities include line dancing, seasonal parties, cards and music.

But for many seniors, the real reason to come to the senior centers is fellowship.

"I have people that if they weren't coming here they wouldn't be doing anything," Dykes said. "I have some people who never miss. It's like coming to work with 20 grandparents every day."

For the Office on Aging, Dykes is a helping hand, a watchful eye and a listening ear for seniors who can't or don't visit the senior centers. Food assistance, Medicare enrollment assistance, home health, referrals, welfare visits, or even help with home infrastructure like ramps, she can connect seniors with help.

"You would not believe how many people we have and they're isolated and they're far away from their families," she said. "I wish I could share half of what I see. I feel like seniors get forgotten. I think it takes someone being sick or to be in a hardship to get people to come together. There's so many seniors here in need. I just wish there more that could be done before it gets to that point."

Dykes spoke of one isolated senior whose floor was caving in. Dykes found a volunteer to help shore things up and bought the pink toolkit so she could help out.

While the work is rewarding, it's also hard. Dykes said she keeps on because she loves helping others.

"You really have to like people, and you have to be able to handle a lot," she said. "You have to be able to shoulder other people's burdens. I would prefer to lay down at night and know I did all I could. I try to treat people the way I'd like to be treated.

Dykes invited everyone to visit their local senior center and see what goes on there.

"Most of these people are really active. They like new faces, and they love to tell their stories," she said.

If you would like to help boost Union County Senior Center programs, be sure to participate in the drawing for a quilt pieced by Zettie Booker and quilted by Patsy Tolliver. Tickets are $2 each, and the drawing will be held live on the Union County Senior Center Facebook page Oct. 21. Info or for tickets: 865-992-3292.

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Events

Luttrell neighborhood watch

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 19:00
Luttrell neighbourhood watch

Luttrell neighbourhood watch meeting every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00pm It takes place in the community building behind the library with speakers each month this can be a great tool for our community to assist one another in brotherly love by watching out for each other. If you need more information contact Jim Bailey at 865-809-4472

Thank you so much
Union County Sheriff's Office
130 veteran’s street suite B Maynardville Tennessee 37807
Phone 865-992-5212
Fax 865-992-2349

Free Eye Exams and Glasses!

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 08:00

FREE EYE EXAM AND GLASSES AVAILABLE FOR UNION COUNTY RESIDENTS
(South Claiborne County, Washburn, Powder Springs, and Corryton also welcome)
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
150 Main Street, Maynardville, TN 37807 (Union County High School)
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY!
Call Kathy Chesney at (865) 566-3289
Glasses will be distributed 2-3 weeks after this event.
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club,
In conjunction with the Smokey Mountains Lions Charities.

Hogskin Festival

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Obituary

Melvin Corum

Melvin Corum – age 78 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife of 60 years by his side on Saturday, September 15, 2018. He was a member of Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell. He especially loved the yearly fall festival and The Life of Christ drive thru exhibit. Melvin was a dirt track race car driver and won many championship races during his career. His latest hobby was restoring vintage cars and trucks.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.-age 72 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, September 17, 2018 at Willow Ridge Center. Glen was a member of Fairview Baptist Church and a U. S. Army Veteran. Preceded in death by parents, Thurman and Hester Carmon; brother, Ed Carmon; sister, Ina Carmon.

Survivors: son, Carroll Carmon of Maynardville; daughter, Jennifer Buckner and husband, Tony of Luttrell; three grandchildren, Kali Buckner, Caleb Carmon and Christian Carmon; sisters, Mary Campbell, Marie Johnson and Betty Williams, all of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews.

George David "Dave" Murphy

George “Dave” David Murphy, Sr., age 63, of Powell went to be with the Lord on September 16, 2018. He was a member of Central View Baptist Church. He enjoyed farming, raising pigs, and working. He adored his grandchildren. He loved helping people, as he would give you his last of anything. He was a selfless man of God. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Christine Murphy; and brother Phillip Murphy. Survived by his wife of 45 years Kathy Murphy; children David Murphy, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.-May 2, 1932-Sept 14, 2018 of Corryton, known by everyone as Junior Bullen originally from Washburn, born to the late Ermon T. Bullen, Sr and Hila Johnson Bullen. Preceded in death by the love of his life of 58 years, Mildred Marsee Bullen. Junior was an Army Veteran and retired maintenance man from Claiborne County Hospital. He also loved traveling with Mamaw, watching grandkids and great grandkids at sporting events, plays and such and faithfully attended church where he was a member at Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Carl Edward Fielden

Carl Edward Fielden, age 84 of Halls Crossroads, peacefully entered into his eternal rest in the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ on September 15, 2018. Saved by God's merciful grace as a young man, Carl was a faithful member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He served his country in the United States Air Force, honorably. He retired from Fairmont Supply located in Nashville, Tennessee. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Amy Fielden, son Greg Fielden, all of Heiskell, sister Ann Tudor of Manchester, sister Geneieve Humphrey and brother Rev. Glen Fielden, all of Knoxville.

Raymond Eugene Clark

Raymond Eugene Clark age 71, of Knoxville went to be with with his Heavenly Father on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at his home surrounded by family. He was a member of Texas Valley Baptist Church. Raymond lived most of his life in the Halls Community and was an avid sports fan of all Halls community and school sports teams. He was often thought of as the Honorary “Mayor” and Cheerleader of the Halls Community. Preceded in death by parents; Jack Raymond and Allene Wooten Clark. Survivors; sisters, Rosalee Clark Highland and Diane Clark Woods. Brother; Phillip David Clark.

James Warren "J.W." Hughes

James Warren "J.W." Hughes, age 82, of Halls Crossroads went to his heavenly home, Thursday morning, surrounded by his family. He was a member of Fairview Freewill Baptist Church. He served in the U.S. Army and retired from Jefferson Smurfit Corp. J.W. loved the outdoors; hunting, fishing and camping.

He is preceded in death by parents, C.M and Mary Hughes; and brother-in-law, Leon Spangler.

Mitchell Elvis Kitts

Mitchell Elvis Kitts-age 62 of Luttrell passed away suddenly Saturday, September 8, 2018 while away in Florida for work.

Mitchell was a Journeyman painter who took pride in his craft. He was employed by Larry Mitchell Painting Company. Over the years he coached his son’s youth baseball teams in the Knoxville Area. He was an avid fisherman and loved spending time with his boys on the lake.

Myrtle Anne Covington

Myrtle Anne Covington-age 59 of Sevierville passed away Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Physicians Regional Medical Center with her husband by her side. Those who knew Ann will remember her kindness and sense of humor. She was a member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis, age 87, born at home on April 9, 1931 in Luttrell, TN and passed away on September 8, 2018 after losing her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She retired from Standard Knitting Mill. Velma was a member of Greenway Baptist Church for over 60 years and a member of the Golden Circle Sunday School Class. She loved her garden, especially picking and canning her green beans. Her life was spent caring for other people, especially her family who she loved with all her heart.

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