Hill finds her calling with OTHG

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By Dana Delgado

For many like Dorothy Hill, the Over the Hill Gang (OTHG) is home or at least home away from home.

All that have known of or been a part of the “Gang” know that it is a most special place built from and with love.

For Hill, the on-again, off-again, on-again president of the nonprofit organization can’t imagine being anywhere except maybe on a sailing cruise to Hawaii where she will be later this year for much deserved rest and relaxation.

“We’re going to party!” said Hill who will be accompanied by a longtime friend. “We’re going to do the hot tub thing and do a lot of dancing and just get silly.”

She first got introduced to the organization by her aunt, Jane Allman, the perennial Kitchen Director who had developed a following for dishing up sumptuous homemade meals at 11:30 a.m. every Thursday. For the next few years beginning in 2010, Hill joined her aunt in the kitchen serving up the feasts that draw law enforcement officers and a variety of city and county officials along with the general membership, which have to be 50 years or older. It was far more than just a luncheon but a celebration, a grand reunion. Eventually, the pair’s endurance couldn’t match the demands of working in the kitchen and they had to step away, yielding to Grace Alive Church, which thankfully offered volunteers to assume those duties and carry on the tradition. It didn’t dissuade Hill from staying active with the OTHG.

By 2011, only months after joining the organization, Hill was elected president but had to leave her role as her husband’s health took a dramatic turn. After he passed away, she returned and was re-elected as president.

“They said they kept re-electing me because I was the youngest member,” said Hill.

At age 70, she relishes the role and has taken all 154 members to heart as well as maintaining the organization.

“Some of our members are in rehab,” she said. “Others are in nursing homes while others can’t drive anymore but we stay in touch with all of them with cards and messages. They are all my adopted family.”

While there has been much to celebrate at the OTHG, a rather spectacular event took place a few years ago. A couple met at the center, fell in love, and got married. It was a moment to remember for everyone including Hill who struggled to contain her excitement in telling the story.

On a personal note, Hill treasures the birth of her children and grandchildren and has fond memories of all the adventures she and her husband embarked on.

“It was really fun doing things together,” she said. “We went everywhere. I miss that.”

As a nurse for 40 years and her life’s ambition since she was a child, Hill finds taking care of others a major part of her nature and a perfect fit for her role as the OTHG leader. At age 18, she became an LVN after training at Georgetown Hospital, which in the 1960s was a teaching hospital. She went to work in doctors’ offices, hospice care as well as home health care and even worked as a school nurse with Round Rock ISD, which she found to be a “most blessed job” become of the “babies” she had the opportunity to work with in the elementary school. In 2006, she retired from nursing and moved to Lake Buchanan with her husband until his health declined and they relocated to Liberty Hill.

Born in Burnet, Hill grew up in both Georgetown and Copperas Cove. With her father being in the military, the family lived in Copperas Cove near Fort Hood when he was based there, his home duty station. When he was reassigned, the family moved back to Georgetown. Six kids were too many to be moving about the country or overseas, thought her mother. Being the oldest child, she learned plenty about being responsible.

At the Over the Hill Gang, Hill has found a new calling.

“I’m lucky to be here,” she said. “God has given me the strength.”

An immediate concern facing Hill and the center’s members is the uncertain future of the group at its present location. The brick building at 3307 RR 1869, which they have occupied since the inception of the organization is in the process of being sold by the county to the city. Hill said while outgoing Mayor Connie Fuller gave them verbal assurances that the OTHG could continue on the site after the sale, she says an official decision has not been rendered.

“I don’t want to see our members just scattered to the wind,” she said. “I don’t know what we’d do if that happened. This place, this mission is too important to so many.”  

This June, the unique comforting gathering place where area seniors have found a place to stay connected, laugh together, celebrate each other’s milestones and lean on one another during difficult times, celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

Dana@LHIndependent.com

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