Office for the Aging honors ‘senior citizens of the year’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – The Office for the Aging celebrated local senior citizens today with lunch for about 150 people at the Trolley Building at the 4-H Fairgrounds, and the agency also presented recognition awards for three local seniors.

The top photo shows Meredith Minier of Albion looking over the citation she received as one of two honorees in Orleans County as “Senior of the Year.” Minier and the other winner, Sally Grout, will be invited to Albany to be recognized in the state capitol.

Minier has long been dedicated to local youths, helping to build a strong Albion PTA when her daughter Marissa was a student. Minier worked for Photos by Bruce and also is the secretary at the Albion United Methodist Church. She has volunteered at the library and the Cobblestone Society Museum.

She has been active in the Suicide Prevention Coalition, helping to raise awareness in the community for people who despair with depression. Minier’s late husband Lee, his father and Lee’s grandmother all ended their own lives.

Minier has tried to remove the stigma of suicide and connect people with resources to get them through difficult times.

Sally Grout

Sally Grout is a retired nurse who worked at the former Arnold Gregory Memorial Hospital in Albion, and then for Dr. David Meza before spending 22 years as school nurse at Medina Central School.

Since she retired in 2004, she has volunteered as a nurse for the Care Net Pregnancy and Family Center of Greater Orleans in Albion.

She has attended church mission trips to Romania, serving children in orphanages. She is active at the Hartland Bible Church, and she also volunteers in an equestrian program that offers therapeutic riding.

Sen. Robert Ortt (left) and Melissa Blanar (right), director of the Office for the Aging, also recognized Karl Kast as the agency’s volunteer of the year.

Kast, a retired postal worker, helps collate the “Friendly Carrier,” the OFA newsletter that is mailed to 2,200 people. Kast has recruited other volunteers for the task.

“He is a generous and kind person with a great sense of humor,” Blanar said.

Ortt, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and three county legislators – David Callard, John DeFillipps and Don Allport – all attended the event this afternoon honoring local senior citizens as part of “Older Americans Month.”

County Legislature Chairman David Callard addresses the group of senior citizens today during a luncheon at the Trolly Building.

Ortt said the month should be named, “Wiser Americans Month.” He thanked the many volunteers who serve senior citizens, especially the Meals on Wheels drivers.

“You’re not just delivering a meal,” Ortt said. “You’re often the only person they see that day. You’re helping to keep them in their homes.”

Callard, chairman of the Legislature, thanked the seniors for their years of service and contributions to the community.

“You’re the backbone of Orleans County and senior citizens are the backbone of this country,” Callard said.

Gary Deiboldt played the keyboards and Joe Sacco sang and played the saxophone during today’s event.