September has been a milestone month for Warrenton’s Mabel Dawson. She retired at age 98. For the past 35 years she has been the food service provider at the Warren County Senior Center.
She officially retired Sept. 3, but last Tuesday she was honored with a retirement party at the senior center.
“Mrs. Dawson joined The Warren County Senior Citizens Council as an employee in 1986. Over the years, she has been an essential part of Warren County. Her dedication and contributions will always be valued and remembered. Her hard work and commitment to serve are worthy of admiration. Mrs. Dawson will be greatly missed from the center,” said a statement from Warren County government.
Dawson received a service plaque from Warren County Commission Chairman John Graham and gifts of appreciation from the Warren County Senior Citizen’s Council. Not only was Senior Citizens Council Director Patricia A. Brown on hand for the retirement celebration, but two former directors also joined her. Brown, who has been director for three years, explained Dawson is often called Miss Mabel.
Some of the employees at the senior center also called her Grandma.
“Miss Mabel was always very energetic and she just loved to prepare breakfast, loved to cook little things for the seniors,” said Dawson.
Even though food is delivered to the center for the seniors at lunchtime, Dawson would cook a little for seniors that came in early and wanted breakfast even through it was not really required.
“She did it on her on. It was just something she loved to do,” Brown added. “She was just a loveable person.”
She would cook some sausage, or maybe grits, or possibly sometimes oatmeal. Dawson sometimes would bring biscuits from home or make toast at the center.
Betty Reese, a former director who now spends time at the senior center both as a participant and as a volunteer, attended the celebration and also speaks fondly of Dawson.
“She has been with that center really since it was organized. She has been a very important part of it because she dealt with the kitchen area, she served the food, and she had interaction with the members,” said Reese, who was director in the earlier 2000s.
Reese also learned something special from Dawson.
“She showed us how to do quilting. That’s how we learned to do quilting, up under her, those of us that had never done it before,” Reese added. “She was very involved. She was part of the fabric of this center.”