Dianne Martin Mortensen says goodbye to Senior Resources

Feb 27, 2024 | Featured, Business | 0 comments

Dianne Martin Mortensen sits at the desk where she spent years working hard to improve the lives of local seniors. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Ottawa County Senior Resources is saying goodbye to one of its greatest advocates. Senior Resources Director Dianne Martin Mortensen, who has been with the agency for 18 years, will retire on March 1. Her strong leadership and passion for seniors transformed the organization over the past two decades.

Martin Mortensen has impacted a diverse population throughout her career. March will mark her fortieth year as a recreational therapist. She spent the first several years of her career working as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals. She spent ten years working in drug and alcohol treatment before joining Senior Resources 18 years ago to refocus her skills on impacting the local senior population.

“I was very fortunate to have experienced all of that,” she said.

And Ottawa County has been very fortunate to have her. Senior Resources has grown under her guidance, and today, it impacts hundreds of seniors across the county. One of her biggest accomplishments was procuring trucks for the home-delivered meal program, which serves over 250 seniors every day and provides meals for about 50 seniors daily at local senior centers.

“We didn’t have our own trucks for home-delivered meals when I started. We used old OCTA vans and transported the food in heated and cooling containers,” Martin Mortensen said.

The food was always in danger of dropping below safe temperatures for consumption, so when the Area Office on Aging offered to help Senior Resources purchase hotshot trucks – trucks equipped with hot and cold sections for food delivery – Martin Mortensen gratefully accepted the offer.

“We probably spent close to $1 million on trucks in 18 years,” she said.

Martin Mortensen helped change the Senior Resources levy campaigns to draw more money to assist the county’s senior population, and she reached a longtime goal of consolidating local senior centers in an effort to keep their doors open five days a week. Now, seniors across the county can meet with friends for lunch and activities Monday through Friday.

Walking away from the job she has loved for nearly two decades will be difficult for Martin Mortensen.

“I’ll miss the seniors a great deal,” she said. “I’ll miss walking into the senior centers or an event and have them recognize me. I know their stories.”

She will also miss working with the many agencies and volunteers across the county that share her passion for improving the lives of seniors.

“Ottawa County has the most collaborative group of people. I’ve lived many places, and nothing beats Ottawa County,” she said. “Ottawa County has a lot of people who work together because they want people to be successful, whether that is seniors, children or people with extra needs.”

Many of those organizations had a direct impact on the success of Senior Resources.

“I’ve met so many neat people in my job. Senior Resources has grown and been able to do what it does because of all the agencies who serve seniors,” Martin Mortensen said.

Kim Haddix will replace Martin Mortensen as the new director of Ottawa County Senior Resources.

“She has a communication background and a passion for seniors,” Martin Mortensen said.

Martin Mortensen and her extended family are planning a trip to Yosemite National Park to celebrate her retirement, and she plans to stay connected to the county, including maintaining a seat on the Ottawa County Task Force on Aging.

“I’ll still be involved with things in the county because I believe in what they do,” she said.

The public is invited to say goodbye to Martin Mortensen during an open house on her last day of work. The open house will be held on March 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ottawa County Senior Resources at 8180 W. State Route 163 in Oak Harbor.

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