Dolly Parton Visits Senior Center Renamed After Late Parents

Dolly Parton surprised residents of a Sevier County Senior Center when she walked through the doors for a renaming ceremony.

Dolly Parton Visits Senior Center Renamed After Late Parents
Dolly Parton; Photo courtesy of YouTube

Senior citizens in Sevier County were treated to a special surprise on Monday morning (5/7) when Dolly Parton walked through the doors. Visiting with many of the residents at the Sevier County Senior Center, the Tennessee native was on hand for a dedication, renaming the center the My People Senior Activity Center.

The renaming came as a tribute to the 72-year-olds late parents, Robert and Avie Lee Parton.

“I am so excited to be part of this today. Of course, you know I’m a senior too. When I was over in Sevier County High School, I couldn’t wait to be a senior, and now that I’m in my second childhood, I’m a senior again,” Parton said (quote via Knox News).

The facility was formerly called the Fort Sanders Sevier Senior Center, named after the Medical Center that helped open the center. As the building’s 15th anniversary approached, administration decided that a name change was in order to help more fully represent the senior center.

“A lot of people confuse us with being an assisted living or nursing home, so we kind of thought maybe we needed a change away from a medical name, so we thought, ‘I wonder if Dolly Parton would do it,’” explained executive director Jane Howes. “It just kind of fits more about what we are, and staying active and staying young, living independently and coming out and meeting friends, and you know, just being independent, so that’s kind of how it came about.”

During her visit, Parton spoke with many of the center’s residents, and even played a song for the group. The feisty singer/songwriter also imparted her secret to life on the lucky individuals.

“I just keep myself busy, and I think that’s the key to staying young, and I’m proud to be a senior citizen. Of course, we all wish we could stay 30 forever, but we can’t, so I think it’s important that we stay active,” Parton said. “We stay with a good attitude and get out and stay involved, make friends and be whatever, and I think being a part of this whole thing is really great, and it is my pleasure to dedicate this to my people.”