Big Flats- The Chemung County Department of Aging and Long Term Care honored three area seniors today with the Senior Citizen of the Year Award and the Mildred Parfitt Award at the annual Older American's Month Celebration held at the Big Flats Community Center. Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli began the celebration with the reading of a proclamation designating May as Older Americans Month in Chemung County.
The Senior Citizens of the Year Award was awarded to Leopold & Mabel Gaboriaults of Catlin. The Gaboriaults were recognized for their service to their community, particularly the Town of Catlin. Mabel has served as the President of the Catlin Historical Society for many years and Leo has served as the Society's Treasurer. Together they have organized numerous Society trips, events and countless Society dinners put on for the community.
The Gaboriaults also organized the town's Sesquicentennial celebration as well as Catlin's participation in the county's Bicentennial celebration of our nation's founding. Mabel served as the Town Historian, retiring from the position in October of 2009 after 18 years of valued volunteer service.
Together they active in the Tompkins Corners Volunteer Fire Department and spent many years volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. Leo continues to serve on the Catlin Planning Board of which he has been a member for nearly 21 years. Leo and Mabel will be celebrating 62 years of marriage this year.
The Senior Citizen Award is given to a senior(s) who have devoted time and talent in serving the community and receives no compensation for their deeds.
The Mildred Parfitt Award was given to Marian Yoder of Horseheads. Yoder has been a member of RSVP for over 19 years and has accumulated 2,324 plus hours volunteering to the community. She has served as the AARP Elmira Chapter 276 "Sunshine Lady", brightening the spirits of those feeling sick, sad, or otherwise out of sorts. She serves as a Deacon with the Horseheads Presbyterian Church and has taught kindergarten and nursery in Sunday School.
Marian volunteers with Meals on Wheels, the Horseheads Election Board, Bethany Gift Shop and helps with the Chemung County Eat Well Live Well nutrition program located at Broad Street School.
This Award, established in 1989, honors a Chemung County individual, group, or agency by recognizing outstanding efforts to improve and serve the lives of older persons without financial remuneration. The award was established in recognition of Mildred Parfitt, who served as chairman of the Chemung County Office for the Aging Advisory Committee from 1973 until 1979. She continued as an active member of the Advisory Committee until her death in 1980.
Older Americans Month was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. Historically Older Americans Month, which was called Senior Citizens Month until 1980 when President Jimmy Carter officially changed the name, has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country.
The theme of this year's celebration-Never Too Old to Play -puts a spotlight on the important role older adults play in sharing their experience, wisdom, and understanding, and passing on that knowledge to other generations in a variety of significant ways. This year's celebrations will recognize the value that older adults continue to bring to our communities through spirited participation in social and faith groups, service organizations, and other activities.
As large numbers of baby-boomers reach retirement age, many communities have increased their efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for older adults-many of whom remain physically and socially active through their 80s and beyond. Current trends show that people over age 60 account for an ever-growing percentage of participants in community service positions, faith-based organizations, online social networking as well as arts and recreational groups.
Lifelong participation in social, creative, and physical activities has proven health benefits, including retaining mobility, muscle mass, and cognitive abilities. But older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life. Studies show their interactions with family, friends, and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Young people who have significant relationships with a grandparent or elder report that these relationships helped shape their values, goals, and life choices and gave them a sense of identity and roots.
Help us celebrate Older Americans Month! Join your neighbors not only to recognize what older citizens bring to our communities, but also to help them continue playing a vital role in weaving a unique and lasting community fabric.
In addition to this celebration, the Chemung County Office for the Aging will hold its 22nd Annual Senior Games, from May 9th to May 24th. The 2012 Senior Games will highlight the active life of people 50 years of age and older who over the past year exercise and train for this fun and competitive event.
Click here to view the subject proclamation.