John Horton Senior Center in Walton County receives a much-needed surprise

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SANTA ROSA BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — The John Horton Senior Center in Walton County is receiving funding from the Board of County Commissioners, which came as a major surprise.

John Horton Senior Center, partnered with the Walton Council on Aging, met in an old firehouse back in 2003 before they received their building.

“This used to be the old public health laboratory,” said Faculty Manager Sherri Roberts.

And one of their seniors, John Horton, noticed the potential, so using skills as former electricians and carpenters, many helped to repurpose this building. 

“They tore out walls they put in walls and they ran new electricity,” said Roberts. “And they basically built their own senior center here.”

Now many Walton senior residents consider it their second home. Just like Kay Owens.

“It’s a place where you feel comfortable and you know people, many in the same situation and you just feel welcomed,” said Owens.

When Debbie Michel and Betty White were fixing up the landscaping, they noticed how much potential this building had. So they decided to turn to the county commission for help.

“They sure could use a little sprucing up, you know,” said Mitchel.

“Commissioner Glidewell got in touch with his people, and they came out, and they said that they would come up with a plan,” said White.

The next thing they knew, the commissions decided to give the center $1200.

“We are going to get new paint, we are going to get underpinning done, the skirting around the building,’ said Roberts.

Roberts said she wants all seniors in the Walton community to feel welcomed at this center.

And both Debbie and Betty agree.

“In some ways, we think that they are underserved, they do a lot of wonderful things here, and anything we can do to make them smile,” said Mitchel.

And for Owens, she thinks all seniors in the area will notice the much-needed changes.

“It will make us more prominent, and more people in the community will realize what a blessing it can be and what a joy it is to be with other people,” said Owens.

Although there is no set date yet for renovations, they anticipate being done by the first of the year.

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