By Todd Travis
As director of the Beech Grove Senior Center, Stephanie Bramlett’s passion for the community inspires her to do much more than her job entails. From cooking to running a food pantry to picking up seniors to run errands, Bramlett works tirelessly to serve seniors. As well, she spends countless hours planning the city’s annual Christmas parade. The dedication to her community is why she has been named The Southside Times Person of the Year.
Going above and beyond
A common phrase that people mention when referring to Bramlett is “going above and beyond.”
“She gets calls from other people from across the county, asking about the senior citizens center and whether they can join and tells them they’re welcome to join. She will take anyone, if they fit in the age bracket, she will take them,” said Jim Coffman, Beech Grove Clerk Treasurer and owner of Eckstein Shoe Store.
“They go on daily trips to go out for a fancy meal or to go shopping. She’s taken them to the Kentucky Derby and just recently took them on a trip to Gatlinburg. This helps to keep them busy and get out of the house. It was tough the last couple years everyone being cooped up with Covid, so it’s become that much more important for her to do these things,” Coffman added.
Marsha Dorsey has a long history with the senior center. Her father Paul Hougland was a city councilor under Mayor Elton H. Geshwiler. He proposed the idea to buy the department store that had previously been located where the senior center was originally built. She is proud to say that her daughter is a fourth-generation Beech Grove citizen.
Dorsey remembers a time joining Bramlett at Wheatley’s for lunch. After returning, Bramlett asked Dorsey to join her as she delivered meals to a couple of shut-ins who had previously been able to come to the senior citizens center but were no longer physically able. The two ladies didn’t even know that Bramlett was even coming.
“Bramlett just knew that the two ladies liked the items on the Wheatley’s menu and decided to surprise them with the meals and pay for them herself,” Dorsey recalled.
“That’s just the type of person she is,” she added.
Bramlett has a special heart for senior citizens. She has been known to refer to them as “her people.” Amazingly, with all the passion she has for senior citizens, she also finds time to serve her family and the children in the community as well.
“She takes care of the house and the grandkids. When family members come down to visit, she takes care of them too. She’s a great host for any of the events we hold. She’d do anything for anybody,” said her husband, Steven Bramlett.
“She spends over a month planning for the yearly Christmas parade and makes sure that the kids have something special to remember. Some may not have the money to go and take pictures with Santa. She does this so they can see Santa and take pictures because that’s what she always enjoyed about Christmas,” he continued.
Bringing Santa back
She knew how important the Christmas parade was to the children in the community but also for the senior citizens who are able to bring their grandchildren along. That’s why she pushed to bring it back and along with it, the vintage fire truck bringing Santa along.
It’s no surprise that Bramlett has been selected as The Southside Times Person of the Year. Her praises are sung those who come in contact with her. All the while, she doesn’t seek the spotlight or any special attention. She finds joy in what she does and that’s enough for her. Today, we celebrate and applaud her for all that she does for the Southside community.