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Outgoing Senior Center director promises, ‘I’ll see you around!’


After eight years of working with the seniors in Pepperell, Senior Center Director Sharon Mercurio said, “I’m not saying goodbye, I’ll see you around,” to fellow staff members and friends of the community during a day-long celebration of her time spent with the Pepperell Senior Center.

“Normally I don’t like being in the spotlight, but the day was just wonderful,” said Mercurio.

Last Wednesday, Nov. 3, the senior center opened its doors to the community. Throughout the day, friends, staff members, and town employees all stopped in to say their farewells, to give their blessings and to express their appreciation to the former director as she leaves the center for another job opportunity.

“It was also our busy day at the center so I got the chance to say goodbye to a lot of our seniors. There were a lot of hugs and it was just perfect.”

Mercurio recently accepted the director’s position for the Council on Aging in Acton. Monday, Nov. 8 marked her first day on the job.

“I’m excited because there’s work for growth, new challenges and new opportunities for me,” she said.

Ironically, she begins the first year in Acton similar to the way she began at Pepperell’s Senior Center.

It was eight years ago when Mercurio first started working as a part-time activity coordinator and the senior center fundraising committee was approved to build the $1.2 million facility we have today. During the construction, however, they were faced with some serious financial setbacks.

“It was awful. The builders went bankrupt and they had to leave before the building was completed.”

The board suddenly found itself in a tight spot since members had already given up the center’s lease next door in Lomar Park. The time was extremely stressful, to say the least, said Mercurio. In order to complete the senior center, different activities and fundraisers were held all over town.

“Everyone in the town found ways to help and accommodate us,” said Mercurio. “You know, yogurt painting at the library and line dancing at the community center. It was amazing.

Mercurio’s predecessor, who had also advocated for the seniors, resigned and gradually, Mercurio said she found herself taking over most of the director’s responsibilities. So when they started looking for a new director, she did not hesitate to seize the opportunity.

“Well, I was kind of already in the seat. I decided, oh, I kind of like this. I could do this.”

Mercurio applied for the position and was officially named director that year. It would have been seven years in March.

As she begins working with the Council on Aging in Acton, she finds herself working closely with the town’s seniors once again.

Acton does not have a center like the one in Pepperell. Mercurio said, “We are lucky to have what we do.”

Currently, Acton’s senior center on Audubon Hill is facing a growing need for more services. The Senior Center Expansion Committee analyzed three possible solutions: Expand the current center, move the center into existing commercial space, or construct a new center.

So she is at it again and is excited, she said, to be a part of the new challenges in Acton.

Even though Mercurio is leaving Pepperell for work, she will still be living in town and does not plan on moving out any time soon.

“I love this community and the people are wonderful. Our paths will cross at the library or Donelan’s or the bank. I’m not saying goodbye. I’ll see you around!”