On February 23,2018 the Licking Bridgebuilders has been around 45 years. It was February 23, 1973, that a group of individuals met at Wards Cafe owned and operated by Ed and Gladys Ward to discuss opening a senior center in Licking.

>> A few of those folks were Logan Buckner, Geneva Williams, Guy Davis and George Boren. After agreeing to start it, there next job was to find a building. There was a building at 116 Green Street, which was owned by the City of Licking.
>> So they purchased the building by paying payments to the city. In 1977, 4 aldermen and Mayor Phillip Wulff had turned the deed over to the Bridgebuilders. I understand the the name Bridgebuilders came from Mrs Alba Ray.
>> While I was looking through old scrapbooks from the years past, I couldn't help but notice all the people at lunch time. The building was full on most days. I also noticed things like quilt shows, pie auctions, chili suppers and all the other fundraisers to help keep the center functioning.
>> February 1974 was when the first meals was served in the dinner house. There were 255 meals served the first week.
>> Can't help to mention the kitchen band that was organized June 22, 1976.  The kitchen band was directed by Ida Gibson.
>> This group with to various places to perform, such as nursing homes around the area and even the school gym. We still have a VHS video of this kitchen band , which I watched and was totally amazed by the talent.
>> Down through the years there had been many folks to fill the shoes as board President such as
>> George Smith, Logan Buckner, Palmer Alley, Zelbert Wood, Mabel Nord, Lola Brown, Loy Bailie, 
>> Mable Mitchell, Barbara Killion, Hazel Lipinski, and 
>> Active president Cynthia Wampner.
>> There also has been many administrators along the way such as Ella Ingle, Cindy Coyne, Hulda Dunlap, Carol Driesel and Kathy Bates.
>> Some of the cooks included Fay Uher, Dorothy Floyd, Imogene Jones and Diane Trentham which is currently still cooking for us three days a week.
>> In 1976 there was 250 paid members.
>> For several years our food was prepared in our own kitchen, had a real nice 10 burner commercial stove in which Wilda Irene Ray went over and beyond to get the money donated to buy this fancy stove. We are still using this stove in our new kitchen.
>> Some say it's the best place to eat back in the day.
>> Then the board reached out for help from the office on aging. We quit cooking in our kitchen and begun to get food catered from the Houston senior center. This went on for many years, until President Cynthia Wampner couldn't see that we were benefiting from any part of the office on aging. So we decided to start a break a way committee. January 2016 the board of directors decided to break a way and go out on our own and depend only on the community to help.
>> From there we started a building fund and lots of fundraisers. It wasn't long we started to erect a new building on the property just north of the existing building which was purchased from Eddie  Worlow in 2011. 
>> With the commitment of Lonnie Ward and many others to take hold of the reigns one way or another, whether it was hauling the rock, working with the concrete, all the heavy equipment, to making window seals, to the finished project. It finally became a reality that this is going to happen pretty quick. On November 13, 2017 we held our Open House. We invited our community to come and see what their donation went for. On that day 188 people walked through those doors including Gladys Ward, the lady who owned the restaurant, where it first began in 1973.
>> Now, sitting in my new office, looking out the window, with much sadness and lots of memories at the old building coming down piece by piece, 17 months later, makes me think that we have been truly blessed by the people who live in our community and those around us. We now have a new facility that is completely paid for with the thanks to all those who help daily to support us. 
>> Even though we didn't celebrate 45 years, we will be anxious to celebrate 50 years in 2023.
>> Those currently serving on the board of directors are: Cynthia Wampner(president), Richard Johnston (Vice President), Lillian Maxey (Treasurer), Marilyn Cantrell (Secretary) and board members Kenneth Hollenbeck, Eugene Maxey, Margaret Heithold, Frank Steward, and Wanda Hamby.
>> I found this little quote in some old minutes it said, 

>> Don't sit at home, come on down where the action is. 





Around four decades ago, the Licking Bridge Builders was started. Today we are continuing the Senior Center for all to enjoy. We are hoping with the communities support to go back to cooking our own meals here in Licking at the Center. However, we cannot do it without the support of our community to help us in fundraising, joining our Donor’s Club, becoming a member, giving “Love Your Center” donations each month, buying from out gift shop, etc. We need all these and more to provide food, shelter, and be able to pay our utilities each month to keep operating. We have many committees of volunteers who are working tirelessly to help us raise funds to keep going on as a Center. All of our workers are volunteers who willingly give their time and efforts to help us. We have no paid employees.

 We are still a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization so all your donations are tax-deductible.

We have two transportation vans operating under MoDOT to pick people up and give them rides to the grocery store, the doctor's office, or any other needed ride.



 We get a copy of our by-laws, and get to vote on all issues presented to the Board of Directors in our monthly meetings. Nevertheless, you do not have to become a member to come and enjoy our center and the fellowship of other Seniors, to eat meals together, play games together, or just enjoy a social day out.

 We now have a website at for all to keep up with the news. We are on Facebook, and Twitter,  and have our own email address if anyone wants to contact us at

 Our meals are served Monday through Friday, 11 am – 12:30 pm except for holidays or bad weather when the center cannot open. Our meals are $4.00 per person.

Come join us, helps us keep operating, and enjoy our center with us.

 We are looking forward to meeting you and seeing you in our midst.



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