Whitingham-Halifax Lions support for The Gathering Place brings kindness full circle for a Lion and his family


Pictured: Gathering Place Board President Andrew Loney; Karen Hein, Ralph Dell, Gathering Place Site Director Tanya Powling , Gathering Place Executive Director Maggie Lewis and Whitingham-Halifax Lions Club President Jen Betit.

Article by Lion Patience Merriman - 

For many years, Ralph Dell was an active member of the Whitingham-Halifax Lions Club.  He helped raise funds, walked in parades and participated in meetings.  But in 2010, Ralph, a retired pediatrician and public health advocate, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

 Today, thanks in part to support from his Lions Club, Ralph is now a regular client at The Gathering Place’s new location in West Dover.  On Monday, June 4, the center hosted a special “Thank You” dinner for the Whitingham-Halifax Lions, to acknowledge the Club’s financial support for the new facility. 

Executive Director Maggie Lewis gave tours of the center and explained the Gathering Place’s mission to the Lions. She also presented outgoing Lions president Jen Betit with a certificate of appreciation.

“What goes around comes around,” said Lion Mark Hanna.  “Our club made a donation to help The Gathering Place come to Dover, and now The Gathering Place is helping Ralph and other local seniors live with joy and dignity right here in the community.”

According to Ralph’s wife, Karen Hein, Ralph enjoyed going to the Gathering Place in Brattleboro.  “But travel time to the Dover location is half what it was to go over the mountain to Brattleboro.  Seeing the MOOver bus coming up our driveway makes us both smile— it means that Ralph’s off for a great day of activities with participants and staff who really care, and I can do the zillion things I need and want to do as well.”

The new Gathering Place location, in the old First Wok building on Route 100 in West Dover, has been extensively renovated and is now a bright, welcoming and fully-equipped facility offering a comprehensive range of programs and services for adults – everything from healthy meals and activities programs to personal grooming assistance.

Karen Hein notes that caregivers benefit just as much as clients from the services The Gathering Pl ace provides. “Caregiving is such a big responsibility,” she explains. “The Gathering Place allows both of us to live and love fully—knowing that Ralph is surrounded by kind, knowledgeable, professional caregivers during the week days, giving me time to take good care of our household ... and take care of myself as well!"