Herron balances volunteering, family time

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist 

“Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” –Lin Manuel Miranda American composer, lyricist, playwright and actor

The legacy of the previous generation lives on through the social outlet for residents and extension of religious life of the Pea Ridge Senior Center.

“My parents were part of the founders of Pea Ridge Senior Center,” Durene Herron said. “They were dedicated to making sure that the residents of the community were looked after. We are a close-knit community; the people love and depend on one another.”

Durene Herron has been a fixture at Pea Ridge Senior Center for the past 25 years. (Contributed)

The PSC has been a major part of Herron’s life for the past 25 years. She joined along with her husband, Lacey. Now 75 and widowed (having lost her spouse in 2007), she clings to memories and cherishes the friendships forged between herself and members over the past two-and-a half decades.

According to Herron, membership has dwindled over the decades and attendance has shrunk to a third of what it used to be; however, approximately 30 residents of the community continue the tradition of congregating at the center every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Herron recalls fondly how the women would meet at the center one to two days each week for crafting activities such as ceramics.

“Quilting was especially popular,” she said. They would hold bazaars, where their items were sold. But members passed and the activities faded.

PSC has had a strong presence in the community and been a supporter of events, assisting other organizations from time to time.

Among the club’s service to the community is its chorus that has performed at other churches such as Clay County’s First Baptist Church of Ashland’s 150th Anniversary, as well as other centers and funerals of community residents.

The oldest of two girls, Durene Dolores Herron was born in Boothton, Alabama. A company-owned coal mining camp established in 1915, Boothton flourished economically; at one time it had the largest payroll in Shelby County.

After 35 years, the company closed its door in 1950.

“The town is no longer there; the area is just trees and flowers now,” Herron said.

PSC holds an annual reunion the first Sunday in October.

“Sometimes there are more people attending and at other reunions attendance is on the low side,” she said.

PSC held its 60th reunion in 2011, an article Remembering Boothton days was written by Catherine Legg for the Shelby County Reporter. Thirty-four people gathered at the center where friendships were rekindled and memories of times gone by came to life.

Herron moved to Pea Ridge as a young child.

“My parents ran a grocery store,” she recalled in detail.

She married two years after graduating from Montevallo High School.

“Lacey and I fell in love in the eighth grade,” she said, chuckling.

She left the University of Montevallo during her first year after learning they were expecting their first child.

“My greatest joy during my marriage was becoming a mother. I had been told that I could not become pregnant,” she said.

She remained at home until her two children reached adolescence, at which time she was hired as a teller at Planters and Merchants Bank.

Lacey made railroad wheels for ABEX. Although she is now officially retired, Durene works part-time as a substitute cafeteria worker at Montevallo Elementary and Middle schools.

Since becoming a member of PSC in 1993, she has taken on a number of responsibilities she enjoys.

She has served as secretary for the past 17 years. She is part of the staff that work the kitchen. Meal planning, coordination and preparation is a major responsibility. She prepares up to 15 different food items each month. She is the RSVP Station Manager for PSC.

Balancing life comes relatively easy for Durene. She paces herself between work, family and her involvement at Pea Ridge Senior Center.

Previous interests and activities have been replaced with new ones.

She learned to play the piano as a child, but said her interest in music has waned.

She and her husband were campers for 18 years.

She is a member of Silver Eagle social club at Dogwood Baptist Church and looks forward to Sunday School.

Durene spends her days at her home in Montevallo with her canine companion named Shug, a 17-year-old Pick-a-Poo Shih Tzu, which is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a poodle.

Durene became a member of RSVP in 1996. She has logged 14,412 hours.