Monday, October 23, 2017


“Local Seniors, Businesses and Organizations Honored at Older American’s Month Celebration”

Big Flats- The Chemung County Department of Aging and Long Term Care honored area seniors today with Senior Citizen of the Year Awards and the presentation of Age-Friendly Business & Organization awards at a celebration held at the Big Flats Community Center. Chemung County Executive Thomas J. Santulli and other local dignitaries read proclamations designating May as "Older Americans Month in Chemung County". 

Ten Senior Citizen of the Year nominees were recognized for ongoing devotion of time and talent to make a great impact on others, without pay or compensation.  Two Senior Citizens of the Year Awards were presented to Carol Lincoln and Dr. Mike Wald.

Volunteerism was ingrained in Carol Lincoln very early on. Carol was born to parents who were Salvation Army officers. In 1955, she married Ed Lincoln and they worked as Salvation Army officers while raising their growing family. Carol served as director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program from 1985 to 2005 - the largest volunteer agency in the area!

Carol has volunteered in a number of organizations and agencies throughout the Southern Tier and across the state. She is a champion of volunteerism. Carol recalls that her favorite volunteer assignment was a program in Syracuse, NY called READ-OUT, a radio reading service from the station WCNY. As a volunteer and eventually the program coordinator, Carol’s duties included recruitment and placement of over 100 volunteers into 85 hours of programming, distribution of radios/receivers, extensive community relations and editing the program guide and newsletter.  Carol recommends volunteering because it may just lead to a job you love!

In the ten years since Carol retired and became a Chemung Volunteer Action Corps member/volunteer she has donated 2,890 hours of her time to serving others. Carol recognizes the need and knows that volunteers are the lifeblood of non-profit organizations, and without them, most would not have the resources needed to help others! Carol is quick to point out that “Giving back to this community is a given because this community has given so much to us”.

Carol’s volunteer service touches upon a wide range of local agencies and the people involved with each, including feeding the hungry, developing and planning, helping with home repairs, navigating medical paperwork, leadership, serving the elderly and people with limited incomes, fund raising and helping others stay healthy. There is no question that Carol has unselfishly given herself to others her whole life. How does volunteering make her feel? Three words: Rejuvenated, Revitalized and Invigorated!

Dr. Mike Wald served in the United States Army and is a retired pediatric physician. For ten years, he and his wife Pat were foster parents, caring for 30 children in their home.
Dr. Wald has volunteered his time and talents in many areas. He has donated blood for a number of years through the American Red Cross. He has been an elder and a Stephen minister for one year at First Presbyterian Church. For the past 15 years, Dr. Wald has been a volunteer mediator with the Community Dispute Resolution Center.  Mediators must learn to understand conflict as a crisis in human interaction. They must be able to listen well and deeply to what people are saying, and reflect and summarize what they hear. Mediators help people hear themselves and each other. They support those caught in conflict to make the best decisions they can, given the situation they face and the perspective of others involved.

Dr. Wald  has mediated various disputes involving parenting issues, landlord/tenant issues, small claims court cases, family disputes, neighbor/neighbor disputes and community conflict. As a volunteer mediator, Dr. Wald has impacted the lives of many individuals in our community. He has helped many parents who are faced with decisions regarding how to parent while living apart. He has helped landlords and tenants who can’t agree on the safety deposit that is due back or overdue rent that is missing. He continually offers disputing parties the opportunities to transform their interactions with each other from destructive to constructive. He often gives them calm quite space to explore the issues and possibilities of resolution. Altogether, he has participated in 170 mediations with 340 people.

The theme for 2016 Older Americans Month is “Blaze A Trail", in honor of the perennial contributions of older adults to our nation. We use this opportunity to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults and celebrate how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

The Department of Aging also celebrated the admission of the Town of Southport into the global network of Age-Friendly Communities who are dedicated to being great places to live and age well. Chemung County was the first upstate New York community to become Age-Friendly and has since been joined by the City of Elmira, the Town of Elmira, the Town of Big Flats and now the Town of Southport.

Age-Friendly Designation Awards were presented to six businesses and organizations who are striving to provide easy-to-navigate, respectful, and effective experiences and services to our community: Chemung Canal Trust Company, Classic Café & Filling Station, Kingsbury’s Cyclery, AIM Independent Living Center, Arnot Health, and The Arc of Chemung. 

Age-Friendly designation reflects support for the vision of Chemung County as a community that encourages active and healthy living. Presentation of these awards completes the initial pilot of the Chemung County Age-Friendly Business and Organization Designation program, which will soon be followed by an invitation to all Chemung County businesses and organizations to apply for Age-Friendly Designation status.  Achievement of Age-Friendly Designation will be recognized by a certificate, decals for marketing purposes, promotion on the Age-Friendly Chemung County website and Facebook page, and an award presentation ceremony.

Polly Smith-Blackwell of PS Graphic Design was recognized for the generous donation of her  time and talent to design the Age-Friendly Chemung County logos.  “When I was approached by a member of the committee to design a logo for Age-Friendly Chemung County, I jumped at the chance to offer my services to such a worthy organization,” Smith-Blackwell said. “Their mission to make Chemung County a safe place in which to age is so important and is a critical service that needs the support of all local businesses. I was happy to be able to contribute my services to help them promote the work that they do.”

The Age-Friendly Chemung County logo includes a faceted image representing the eight domains identified by the World Health Organization as important to an Age-Friendly Community, and it symbolizes the connection and overlap between each domain. The logo was designed for use by municipalities within Chemung County who have achieved Age-Friendly Community designation and is used to recognize local businesses and not-for-profit organizations that meet criteria to become designated as Age-Friendly Businesses and Age-Friendly Organizations.

A coalition of dedicated citizens, organizations and government agencies developed, and are now implementing, the Chemung County Age-Friendly Community Action Plan, which can be found on the new Age-Friendly Chemung County website:

For more information about how you can help Chemung County be more age-friendly or how Age-Friendly Chemung County can help you, visit the Age-Friendly Chemung County website or contact the Chemung County Department of Aging and Long Term Care at 737-5520. 
Click here to view subject Proclamation.

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