The City of Westlake held a dedication ceremony commemorating the new Westlake Community Services Center and the 40th anniversary of the Department on Friday, June 18. The facility was dedicated to those who helped make the new facility possible, including past and present employees, past directors and members of the committee that helped secure the necessary funding.
The ceremony began in the Eileen Humphrey Auditorium with speeches by Westlake Mayor Dennis M. Clough, Community Services Director Lydia Gadd and Bob Humphrey, son of Eileen Humphrey, the first director of Westlake's Office on Aging (now known as the Westlake Community Services Department).
Mayor Dennis M. Clough spoke glowingly of the work done by the department's founder, Eileen Humphrey, who worked tirelessly to get the department off the ground from 1981 until her retirement in 1998.
"This facility would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Eileen Humphrey, our first director," Mayor Clough said. "She was a person always on task, very persistent in pursuing her goals for the Department and very a compassionate individual. But also, she was never shy about the ever-increasing needs of the senior population at that time and that it was our job to make sure that she could improve those services."
Mayor Clough expressed appreciation for the support of Westlake residents and those who served on the "Friends of Seniors, Parks and Recreation Committee," which advocated for the passage of Issue 53, "The Westlake Recreation Renewal Levy," in 2017. That levy's passage helped fund construction of the new Community Services Center and the Westlake Aquatic Center & Peterson Pool.
"It takes a whole group of people and a whole community to make sure that we continue to improve the services that we provide for the community," said Mayor Clough. "And we have to thank the citizens of Westlake. This would not be here if not for the support we've had from them over the years."
In its infancy, the department only focused on senior transportation and home-delivered meals and was run by only two employees and a handful of volunteers. Today, the department has many more programs catering to people of all ages and has 11 full-time positions, as well as about a dozen part-time staffers at any given time.
"We're so excited now, in 2021, to not only be reopening as a senior and community services center but to be reopening in this brand-new 28,000-square-foot facility, which is magnificent," said Gadd. "We have all of you (gesturing to the attendees) to thank for that. It's not just one person but Eileen was certainly the person who got this department going."
The attendees then moved to the lobby, near the entrance to the Joyce Able Schroth Serenity Garden, named for the Department's second director, who was unable to attend. Mayor Clough read a letter written by Able Schroth expressing her appreciation for the honor and how much she cherished her 16 years with the Department.