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Celebrating 25 years

SALISBURY — Ginny Petrea seldom watches television, but she can be found three-to-four times a week on the treadmill at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center.

Petrea is one of hundreds of active seniors who use the center’s services.

Rufty-Holmes is a non-profit organization that provides a place for aging resources as well as recreational and wellness programs. The center is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a weekend of activities.

The kick off to the celebrations was a Friday night gala and culminates in a Sunday open house event.

The community is invited to the open house, which includes facility tours, a historical exhibit and refreshments. Entertainment at the open house will be provided by “Mid-Life Crisis Band”

The center is located at 1120 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Salisbury.

Petrea, who retired in 2003, has maintained a regular exercise routine since 2008, when the fitness annex was constructed.

She walks on the treadmill or the exercise bike. Petrea also participates in a Silver Sneakers exercise class.

She said she likes that the facility is local and is geared toward older adults.

“It’s great. I am so happy we have this in the small city of Salisbury,” Petrea said.

She’s gotten to know other regulars like her and people new to programs.

Every so often, Petrea writes letters or cards to Frances Rufty, who along with her husband made sizeable contributions to the center.

“I tell her how I’m so happy it’s here,” Petrea said.

Clarence Davis stops by the center to play pool and the card game, Bid Whist. He was recently seated around a table in the pool room.

“I enjoy the camaraderie. I have a lot of health problems, but a lot of people are worse off than me,” he said.

The men play several rounds of the game for a couple of hours and “shoot the breeze.”

“This place is not allowed to go stale,” Gail Poulton a fitness instructor at the center.

“We really do a lot of good things here,” Poulton said.

She said instructors try to keep things interesting for the clients.

Lynda Teter, also a fitness instructor, congratulated the center on its 25 years.

“It’s a wonderful place to work. It’s great for the community,” she said.

She said she enjoys working with the people and seeing their accomplishments.

The center opened on January 4, 1988 in a newly constructed 10,000 square foot building.

Executive Director Rick Eldridge began with the center October 1987 and has been at the helm since that time.

The City of Salisbury donated the land and Rowan County provided seed money for the center’s initial operation.

Throughout the years, both the city and the county have supported the center’s annual operating budget.

In 1990, the center became a Rowan County United Way Agency.

The center receives federal and state aging grants to operate community-based programs, which are designed to assist local older adults in remaining active members of the community.

In fact, one of the newest programs the center is offering is a Zumba fitness class.

Zumba is an aerobic fitness workout that combines upbeat music and easy-to-follow dance steps. Participants don’t have to know how to dance to join.

The class begins Monday and will be Monday evenings from 5:30 p.m.-6:15 p.m. in the fitness annex. The annex has a sports floor specifically designed to be more protective for dance and other fitness movements. The class will be taught by a licensed Zumba instructor who is also a senior fitness specialist.

For more information about Rufty-Holmes Senior Center call 704-216-7714 or www.ruftyholmes.org.

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