Office for the Aging recognizes outstanding senior citizens

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging; Assemblyman Steve Hawley; and Bill Hilts Sr., representing Senator Rob Ortt, congratulate Dottie Dusett of Albion after she was recognized at the Senior Jubilee for her years of volunteering in her community.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 May 2019 at 3:23 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – Two Orleans County seniors were recognized at the annual Senior Jubilee Friday sponsored by the Orleans County Office for the Aging at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

Kathryn Crawford and Dottie DuSett have each devoted their lives to volunteering in their community, and were nominated by the Office for the Aging as “Seniors of the Year.”

There were 140 seniors at the Senior Jubilee, and they were entertained by guitarist David of Honeoye Falls, who played and sang old favorites.

OFA director Melissa Blanar introduced staff, members of the OFA Advisory Council and Kelly Anstey from the Arc’s Nutrition Program.

Melissa Blanar, left, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging, watches as Assemblyman Steve Hawley presents a citation to Kathryn Crawford for her volunteer work at the Eastern Orleans Community Center in Holley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented citations to Crawford and DuSett.

Crawford was nominated by Deb Rothmond, director of the Eastern Orleans Community Center.

“Kathryn has made a great difference in our community,” Rothmond said. “She shows compassion and empathy for all who walk through the door at the Community Center and in public. She is a great role model for the other volunteers on work ethic and compassion for others. Kathy is very committed to her role as volunteer and has not taken a single day off since she started two years ago. She also volunteers for events that are outside of her normal position here and is always there to offer a helping hand.”

Crawford was born in Brockport and lived in Murray until she was 7. She grew up in Rochester and started working at age 15 in a perfume factory. She had her first son at age 19 and her second at 22. She and her husband moved to New Jersey in 1983, where she held many positions to support her family, including working for the police department and the local school. She has worked at a doctor’s office and as a waitress at night. Through her hard work, she became manager of the restaurant. After raising her children, she moved back to Orleans County in 1993, where she continued to work in retail for many years.

As for her volunteering, Crawford said, “Volunteering can become that thing that fills the void you may have in your life. It isn’t for everyone, but depending on where you are in life, it can be very rewarding. With an empty nest, I was looking for a purpose. Volunteering helped me find a new happiness.”

DuSett, who has been volunteering for 80 years, was nominated by her daughter Dana DuSett. Dana said her mother taught hundreds of area youth through 4-H, some for multiple generations. She taught sewing, baking, crafts, parliamentary procedure, public speaking and citizenship. The benefits of delivering meals and teaching adults to read can be seen immediately in their smiles and hugs. Dotty and her husband Guy took in dozens of Foreign Exchange students, which they both felt enriched their lives in so many ways.

Guitarist David Marshione of Honeoye Falls plays and sings for the Orleans County Office for the Aging’s Senior Jubilee Friday at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

Dotty was a 4-H leader beginning in 1942, a member of the 4-H Leaders Council, the Civil Air Patrol since 1944 and Literacy Volunteers since its inception in 1974. She was secretary of the Murray Baptist Church from 1967 to 1984, wrote publicity for the 4-H Fair for many years, was a charter member of the International Exchange of Foreign Youth, delivered Meals on Wheels from 1978 to 2005 and taught genealogy courses for free. She previously worked in the accounting office at Eastman Kodak.

She collected locally for many causes and was taught to say, “Yes, I can” to every request for assistance, Dana said.

Born in Hilton, Dotty is a fourth-generation 4-H’er. She married Guy DuSett in 1948 and moved to the hamlet of Hindsburg. Her four children always asked, “Who are these for?” before digging into any pies or cookies after school. Dotty always took care of neighbors in crisis. She has lived in the same house for more than 70 years.

Dana said she believes her mother gave of herself because she felt it benefited and strengthened her own community.

“Volunteering is the best way to know the people in your area,” Dana said. “You meet so many interesting people and mom always wanted to pay it forward.”

Blanar said April was National Volunteer Month and the OFA chose Peggy Francisco, a member of their staff, as “Volunteer of the Month.”

Blanar also announced the OFA has started a volunteer transportation program to take seniors to medical appointments, shopping or just visiting. Thirteen volunteer drivers have already been trained, but more are needed.

The Senior Jubilee ended with lunch served by Nutrifair and awarding of door prizes donated by the community.

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