The purpose of the DeKalb County Council on Aging, Inc., a not-for-profit agency with its activity center as its focal point, shall be to assist seniors, disabled persons, and others in maintaining their independence as long as possible; to assist seniors, disabled persons and others in being able to live in their own homes as long as possible; to provide services and programs that meet the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and mobile needs of seniors, disabled persons, and others and to do all things, directly and indirectly, pursuant to such purposes.
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History of Dekalb County Council on Aging and Heimach Senior Activity Center
In the early 1970’s Reverend Bill Heimach, then pastor of Auburn Presbyterian Church, realized there was a need for DeKalb County’s seniors to come together for food, fellowship and fun. In 1978, that realization led to the development of the DeKalb County Council on Aging.
In 1978, the agency’s first executive director, Sandy Mafera, helped to facilitate the purchase, at auction for $30,000, of an old Baptist church at the corner of 6th and Jackson Streets. Sandy went home that evening and husband, Steve, asked, “What did you do today?” Sandy replied, “Bought a church!” Gasping, Steve asked, “With what?” A smiling, giddy Sandy stated, “Who knows, but it will work out – it is going to be the county’s first senior center!” With the help of scores of volunteers, Reverend Bill Heimach, other community leaders and dozens of funders, Sandy’s dream became a reality.
Meg Zenk was hired in 1984 and the only other employee was a driver for the agency’s one van; the agency now has twelve vehicles and employs 30 people.
The Current Director, Tracy Bell, stepped into the position in October of 2021.
In 1993, with the help of a Community Focus Fund Grant from the Indiana Dept. of Commerce and a little band of 8 to 10 Board members, employees and volunteers who raised over $200,000 in not much more than a couple of weeks, the agency was able to obtain its current location at 1800 E. 7th St., Auburn. A former funeral home, the over 9000 sq. ft. Heimach Center is located on five acres east of DeKalb Health. The acquisition enabled the agency the opportunity to operate the DeKalb Co. Council on Aging, a multi-functional senior center and a specialized transportation system.
In 2008, the Indiana Dept. of Transportation named our transit business as the county’s public transit system. DART (DeKalb Area Rural Transit) serves all ages with a great many of their transit needs.
Heimach Center Video
Check out our video to see all that The Heimach Center and DART Transportation have to offer our community and surrounding area!
I have lived in Auburn for most of my life. After living with my parents for a few years at Pretty Lake, I returned to Auburn to build a home and settle down. I met my husband, Brian Bell in 2006 and went back to school. I graduated in 2021 from Harrison College in Fort Wayne with a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management and then found a passion for the non-profit world. In 2013, I began in non-profit at Children First Center and had 8.5 years of experience working as the Marketing Personnel Coordinator. I am inspired daily by my husband and 3 children and I am passionate about my 3 puppies and my new found love for Yoga and fitness classes. In my free time I like to garden, spend time with my kids, friends and family. Mostly, I love our small hometown community and have enjoyed growing up here and relationships I have made for myself and my family.
Stop in and see me, I would love to show you around the Heimach Center.
Tracy Bell, Executive Director