by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
December 25, 1997
After many, many years as the caretaker for the Seeley Lake Community Hall, Allen Chaffin is retiring.
"I've done it long enough," he said during a recent meeting. When asked how long he'd worked as a volunteer at the community hall he smiled and said, "Too long to remember."
Chaffin, a longtime Seeley Lake resident, took over caretaking of the hall more than ten years ago at the request of hall benefactor, Bert Sullivan. In the mid-1950s, Sullivan and her late husband, Jim, set up the non-profit corporation that owns the hall, and also donated the land for the facility and were major financial contributors during construction of the building.
Community Hall board members are now looking for volunteers to help accomplish the work that Chaffin has done. The board plans to meet again in January to further discuss management of the hall.
According to Community Hall Secretary, Joanne Guyer, Chaffin has served as the Chairman of the Board, reservation clerk, holder of the key, collector of the rent, payer of the bills, custodian, repairman, snow plower and snow remover.
The list is daunting, and the board is well aware that changes will have to be made in the future in order to continue maintenance and management of the hall.
The caretaker, in addition to routine maintenance and repairs, has to be able to go into the hall behind each group that rents it and check all of the heaters, breakers, lights and faucets, and make sure the doors are locked.
"One of these days you'll have to hire somebody to look after the hall," Chaffin said matter-of-factly.
A year-end list of people who have rented the hall in 1997 includes community groups such as the Alpine Artisans, Driftriders, the Pinochle club, the Quilters group, the Senior Citizens, several government groups (Forest Service, Community Council, Missoula County), in addition to varous church and school groups, and individual families.
The Seeley Lake Community Hall is operated for the benefit of adults in the Seeley Lake community. According to the bylaws, the hall was never meant to replace churches or schools where most youth activities are held. Rather, the hall was intended to be available to all adults, and youths with adult supervision, so that they would have a large gathering place to host special activities such as meetings, awards ceremonies, holiday programs, weddings, memorial services, and family celebrations.
According to the bylaws, the Community Hall Board is made up of representatives of groups that use the hall. In addition, one general community representative (formerly Bert Sullivan, and now Allen Chaffin) is also appointed to the board. Groups with an interest in the Community Hall will be contacted regarding the January meeting, so that a new board of directors can be set up for 1998.
People interested in helping with caretaking may contact Chaffin at 677-2405, or Paul Conn at 677-3276.