New director sought for BSRI

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By Rachel Johnson, Staff Writer

Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. is regrouping and preparing for a productive year with a new executive director at the helm.

In October Michael David-Wilson, executive director, left BSRI citing a difference in management philosophy.

Board member Jim Fish volunteered to step in and serve as interim executive director for 30 days. He is still in the position while the hiring committee makes a decision as to who will fill the position on a permanent basis.

“Senior issues are very important to me,” Fish said. “I have spent almost 20 years in healthcare administration and am a licensed CNA. I know what its like to directly care for seniors.”

Fish’s background is vast and includes a variety of skills and experiences that have prepared him for his current position. Fish has spent the majority of his career working in Boston and the New England area. But in 2008, he and his family decided it was time for a change.

“We traded a big house on no land for a small house on a lot of land,” Fish said.

The family is happily settled in Ash.

Fish knows the position as interim-director may be temporary even though he has thrown his hat in the ring for it, but he is moving forward with a goal to reach as many seniors as possible.

One of the first things on the BSRI agenda was to restore five hot meals to seniors.

“There was a perceived disparity,” Fish said.

The Southport Senior Center had been receiving five hot meals while the Shallotte and Leland sites were receiving three hot meals and two frozen meals. Seniors served by the Southport kitchen received hot meals three days a week and seniors were given two meals to take home and prepare.

“The Southport Kiwanis Club saw a need and stepped in,” Fish said. “The same resources didn’t exist in other parts of the county.”

The Kiwanis Club has been providing the Southport Senior Center with an additional two hot meals per week.

“The Kiwanis Club continues to provide this and is part of the reason we can afford to offer five hot meals on the other end of the county,” Fish said. “It is because of their commitment that we are able to help the rest of the county.”

Fish said it isn’t just the Kiwanis’ support that has enabled the program to be restored.

“BSRI applauds the strong commitment demonstrated by the county commissioners, county management, the BSRI board of directors and the volunteers to senior issues. Many goals would not be possible without their support,” he said. “The board of directors put in a lot of hard work. Something like this isn’t easy.”


Growing needs

“Brunswick County is one of 43 counties in the state with more seniors than school-age children,” Fish said.

There are currently senior centers in Shallotte, Southport and Leland and nutrition sites at Oak Island, Boiling Spring Lakes, Calabash and Supply.

“We want to reach everybody,” Fish said.

Moving forward in 2012 as interim executive director Fish plans to “continue to find ways and refine the way we deliver critical services to seniors. We are asking what can we do internally to reach more seniors.”

The Shallotte Senior Center was in need of new chairs. Recently that need has been filled by a donation from the Coastal Shag Club. The club agreed to donate $1,000 and challenged BSRI to match the number.

The center will receive 76 new chairs in the near future. The chairs will be solid surface instead of cloth.

“All of the senior centers have specific areas that need assistance,” Fish said. “BSRI greatly appreciates members of the community stepping forward to help with specific items that meet the needs of our senior centers.”


The future

Fish realizes there are many long-term goals for BSRI that he would like to see accomplished. He realizes these will not happen overnight but is hopeful BSRI is on the right path to realizing these goals.

“We are currently looking at an opportunity to potentially restore some of the shut down nutrition sites,” Fish said. “Going forward we are committed to trying to get new senior centers built. We know that will take a long time.”

Another goal for BSRI is to work toward Center of Excellence Certification. The certification offers a template of what programs seniors should be receiving in the community and allows for additional funding.

“The goal is to provide our seniors with the most meaningful services,” Fish said.


Rachel Johnson is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at (910) 754-6890 or rjohnson@brunswickbeacon.com.