Tuesday, June 02, 2015

TOP STORY >> Former director honored at dinner

Frank Kayter (left), director of the Shepherd’s Center in Beebe, presents former director Paul Ramsey with a plaque recognizing him for his outstanding work during his 13 years at the senior center.

Leader staff writer

The Shepherd’s Center of Beebe recognized recently retired director Paul Ramsey with a special dinner on Thursday.

The center is located at First United Methodist Church of Beebe, 302 N. Main St. It opened in 2001.

The Shepherd’s Center is an interfaith community-based place for seniors to volunteer to teach and learn about bridge, knitting, quilting, gardening, travel writing and computer skills.

It offers eight-week sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. Over 50 seniors participate in the programs each week.

Ramsey was the center’s director from 2001 to 2014.

He is a graduate of Beebe High School and was the Beebe Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year in 2001.

The center presented Ramsey with a plaque and a quilt.

“The Shepherd’s Center is about the people and the volunteers week after week (who) had a talent they wanted to give to others. That’s why our classes were so well accepted from the community. It’s good for our senior adults to come and enjoy themselves, learn a skill or just be around friends,” Ramsey said.

“This town means so much to me and my family, the love and care for each other. I’m glad to see the Shepherd’s Center growing,” he added.

Dot Hall said Ramsey cares about people. He checks on seniors to see if they are healthy and has driven people to their doctor’s appointments.

Beebe native Jim Green-berg, who was instrumental in building the Shepherd’s Center, also attended the dinner.

Greenberg is a 1963 graduate of Beebe High School. His parents bought a farm north of Beebe when he was 8 years old. Greenberg, with his three brothers and a sister, worked at the farm. He graduated from West Point in 1968 with a bachelor’s in engineering. During his service, he was a military pilot.

Greenberg later earned a master’s degree in international relations from the University of South California-London branch and a master’s in business administration from the Harvard Business School.

He has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the Middle East with a primary emphasis on the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Region. He led the startup of five operating companies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

Greenberg assisted several other companies in their development and financing processes through his primary company, DevCorp International.

Prior to co-founding DevCorp in 1995, he was the lead in developing projects in Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for General Dynamics.

Greenberg and his oldest son, Eric, visited Beebe in 1999, after the tornado hit the city. Many buildings were damaged, including the Methodist church that had to be rebuilt.

Greenberg visited with people who were friends of his parents during his youth. He noticed they were socially isolated and saw a need for a senior citizens social center where older adults could come together for fun and fellowship

Greenberg spoke with the Methodist church’s pastor about having dedicated space in the new building for seniors. “It is so heartening to come here, and see you all happy,” Greenberg said.

As the baby boomers get older, they are going to have to depend on and turn to each other for help, rather than just a checkbook, he continued.

Greenberg said the sharing, help and independence happening and offered by at the Shepherd’s Center is an example of what our country needs.

Shepherd’s Center of America director Sarah Cheney was also present. She has served with the organization since 2005.

“I am impressed at how wonderful a program you have here in Beebe. You have a fabulous foundation for your Shepherd’s Center,” Cheney said.

There are 58 Shepherd’s Centers in 15 states. They were started in 1971 in Kansas City, Mo.

“What you are doing is not only important to this community. It is important to Shepherd’s Center network and to the country. You are truly setting the example of what can be done and how older adults can continue to live, grow and give back to their communities,” Cheney said.

She said senior adults want choice, independence, dignity, empowerment and community. That is what Shepherd’s Centers are all about, Cheney noted. “What you all have here, is what a lot of people dream about in their communities.”