Story and photo by Mike Lee, Staff Writer
Depending on the day you come, you may find Mike Six behind a broom at the Midwest City Senior Center.
You might also see him behind the wheel driving seniors where they need to go or simply pulling up and cooling off their car on a hot day.
Then again he might be calling out bingo numbers or laying a spinner down during a daily game of dominoes.
But whatever he’s doing you’ll find the 27-year Midwest City Police Department veteran with a smile on his face
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Six the center’s assistant coordinator under Fredia Cox.
After 27 years on the force, Six retired and decided to try a few things. He spent a year teaching before kicking around some different jobs.
He came back on with the city and shortly the job at the senior center opened up.
“I snagged it up quick as I could,” he said. “These are great people. I tell people all the time it’s the best job I’ve ever had. It’s not a six-figure job for sure but it’s not the money what I like, it’s the people.”
Cox estimates nearly 6,000 seniors each month are served at the Midwest City facility.
All of them know Mike, or just Six.
“He’s vital,” Cox said simply of her assistant, who also handles all the building’s maintenance.
It’s the time he spends at the facility that Six counts as his most important contribution.
“I guess in general you want to be available for them,” Six said. “That’s what I do. The senior center is part of the city of Midwest City. It’s a facility we’ve made that really belongs to the seniors. What we try to do is give them a destination, a place to come a reason to get up in the morning.”
A lot of counseling goes on within these walls, but there’s no couches or co-pays involved. The kind of counseling Six and Cox deliver is a smile, a cup of coffee and a willingness to listen.
“We visit with them. It’s really a quality of life issue for them,” Six said.
The center schedules three dances a week for the seniors plus many other activities.
Six and Cox both serve as resources for seniors. If someone is having a problem in an area of life their combined 70 years of experience in the community is there to help.
The Midwest City Senior Center offers programs, classes, events and activities for citizens, age 55 and older, who have a common interest in fellowships, leisure pursuits and mutual respect for one another.
The center is managed by Cox under the direction of the Midwest City Parks and Recreation Department. All programs and activities offered at the center are supervised by Cox and Six.
The center encourages ideas, input and involvement from senior citizens. It keep them going and it keeps Six going.
“Kind of like with the police department it does make you feel good when someone comes to you and identifies you as someone who might be able to help them,” Six said. “When you do help them it really does make you feel good.”
Six’s roots run deep in Midwest City after spending his career policing the streets. He was part of the department’s various community policing projects which focused on community relations as well as tackling the city’s gang problems.
“We were real visible and we made sure (the criminals) were real visible,” Six said. “People were living like prisoners in their homes. We cleaned up the neighborhoods and had people barbecuing in their front yards. We made a big difference.”
Funny, but nearly three decades later he still is. “You can’t be there to supervise. You can’t be there just to monitor,” Six said. “You have to be involved.”
The Midwest City Senior Center offers several weekly classes and activities including:
Bible study class is Wednesdays from 10 – 11 a.m. in the Mistletoe Room.
Gospel music is Fridays from 10 – 11:15 a.m. in the Grand Room.
– Oil Painting Classes
Oil painting classes are offered Wednesdays and Fridays from noon – 4 p.m. in the Mistletoe Room. Participants are responsible for providing their supplies for the class. Please call 405-737-7611 for a list of supplies.
Quilters meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Dogwood Room.
Woodcarving classes are offered every Tuesday from 1 – 4 p.m. in the Mistletoe Room. Participants are responsible for bringing supplies for class. Please call for a list of supplies.
“The main thing at the senior center, plain and simple, it addresses quality of life,” Six said. “That’s the only way I know how to put it. I’ve adopted some of them and I think they’ve adopted me.”