New senior center director also leading transit system

By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer

Dawn Kryder has had a wide range of experience trying to aid people through government service.

The newest project for Kryder, 48, is her role as the new director for the Portales Senior Citizens Center.

Kryder succeeds James “Jim” Good at the director’s job, since he retired to “enjoy life as much as I can,” he said.

Kryder spent the last six years working at Heartland Continuing Care Center. Prior to that, her resume includes jobs in Washington state as a drug and alcohol treatment counselor and a position working with a serious criminal offenders unit.

“She’s really, really focused in on seniors, and we think that’s going to be a good asset,” said Tom Howell, interim city manager. “We had some really good people (apply). She has a lot of good background, and we think that’ll help.”

Kryder is enthusiastic about her new position.

“I have an absolute passion for seniors, and I can reach a broader community here,” Kryder said. “I just inherited a wonderful staff, and I’m just loving the job.”

Carl and Opal Essary, Kryder’s grandparents, were homesteaders in the Portales area in the 1930s and, she went to school in Floyd before moving to the northwest portion of the country. Kryder also served in the U.S. Navy for six years.

In addition to her responsibilities with the senior citizen’s center, Kryder takes over as director of the Portales Area Transit System.

At the senior center, located at 501 N. Industrial Drive, services consist of a variety of activities throughout the week. These include games, ceramics, exercise classes, quilting, a potluck every Thursday and a senior dance every Saturday night.

“I think I’d like to see the numbers increase,” Kryder said. “I think there’s a lot of seniors in our community who aren’t utilizing the services that are offered here. I’d also like to see a combination of the cultural differences that are here in Portales. I think we’re all one community, and I’d like to see an interaction.”

Kryder started at the senior center on June 29 and said she’ll remain as a consultant at Heartland.

“Activity, I think, is absolutely one of the most important things for seniors,” she said. “Boredom and depression is the other option. I tell you, we have some incredibly lively seniors around here — very active seniors that are in this building. They care for each other. The energy and the love here is incredible.”

Good’s last day before retirement was Friday. He said he retired because he turned 62 and could collect Social Security, and because he wanted to travel.

Good said his wife gets three months off a year, so the couple will travel together.

“I’m going to do some fishing, and I just bought a motorcycle, so I’m going to ride it, and just enjoy life as much as I can,” Good said.