According to Shawn Daly, his job at Renton Senior Activity Center as recreation supervisor is the best job in the city. Why else has he stuck with it for the past 36 years?
But now, he’s is gearing up say goodbye to the senior center as he retires on April 28.
Born and brought up in Renton, he started worked in the Parks and Recreation department when he was 15 years old. Daly started at the job at the senior center in February of 1981, and was immediately captured. He started off as the program coordinator and stepped into his current role five years later.
“I may not be the smartest guy around, but I was smart enough to know that this was the greatest job,” he said.
Despite getting other offers and opportunities, he chose to stay where he knew he was making an impact, a place that brought him much joy.
Over the years, Daly said he’s learned that aging is a difficult process. When Daly first started working at the center, he saw a sign that read “Aging is not for sissies,” but didn’t realize until years later what it meant.
“Loneliness is a terrible thing,” he said. As one ages, it becomes difficult losing one’s spouse, mobility and independence. Daly said he’s tried his best to make the center a place that eases the transition for seniors.
Of all the memories he’s made at the center, Daly said the ones that have stuck with him are the friendships he’s made over the years.
Over the years, Daly said he’s most proud of cultivating a culture of caring at the center. It was one the goals he hoped to achieve when he first started at the center, and still continues to be one of his top priorities.
It is the reason why he says hello to everyone he meets in the hallways or coffee bar, and why seniors feel as if the center is their “home away from home.’
“(I’m proud of) making the senior center a place people wants to come to and having fun while making friends and possibly learning new hobbies and skills,” he added.
According to Daly, he works the “best staff ever” and will miss them the most.
Upon retiring, he plans on traveling with his wife and spending more time with his five grandchildren.
There will be a retirement party for him from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., April 28 at the Renton Senior Activity Center.