ROCHELLE — During the holiday season, people from the Hub City Senior Center would come to Connie Dougherty’s house.
Some came just for her annual Christmas open house. Some came to her family holiday gatherings if they didn’t have plans of their own. The Doughertys would take beds out of bedrooms so people had more room to sit.
“Having them come into my home felt as right as could be,” Dougherty said. “They always felt like family to me. It was just wonderful. I'm going to miss everyone so much."
The Hub City Senior Center was full Friday for Connie Dougherty Day, in honor of the center’s director. She’s retiring this month after 20 years of work.
Mayor John Bearrows spoke at the event and Dougherty was presented a plaque by her board recognizing her for her years of service.
"My heart is so here,” Dougherty said. “I've loved these people for so long and to see them actually come out to honor me like this has just been incredible. It's so awesome to see everybody and going through this has just brought back so many memories of all the people that I loved and that were here."
Due to the senior center being closed for a year due to COVID-19, Dougherty saw some faces Friday that she hadn’t seen in over a year.
“Knowing that they can come back in now safely and vaccinated and that we're on our way back to full function is amazing,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty doesn’t plan to be a stranger to the center in the future.
"I'm going to be here,” Dougherty said. “I'll be part of friendship quilters and coming for the birthday parties. I just knew it was time for me to retire.”