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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

The Ohio Department of Aging celebrates outstanding older Ohioans for their achievements and contributions to others; for the roles they play in their communities, state and nation; and for what they do to promote productive and enjoyable lives. Since 1977, more than 400 individuals have been inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for contributions toward the benefit of humankind after age 60, or for a continuation of efforts begun before that age.

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Induction Ceremony - May 20, 2014


2014 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Inductees

John Blocher
John Blocher, Ph.D.

Kay Lavelle
Kay Lavelle

Jim Lorimer
Jim Lorimer

Donelda McWilliams
Donelda McWilliams

Jeri Milstead, Ph.D.
Jeri Milstead, Ph.D.

Harriette Ramsey
Harriette Ramsey

Rocco Scotti
Rocco Scotti
North Ridgeville

Harvey Sterns, Ph.D.
Harvey Sterns, Ph.D.

Carol Vanek
Carol Vanek

Betty Jo Weiser
Betty Jo Weiser
Canal Winchester

Chuck White
Chuck White

May Wykle, Ph.D.
May Wykle, Ph.D.


John Blocher, Ph.D., Oxford

In the 33 years since his retirement, John Blocher, Ph.D., has been living his life with the energy of a nuclear reaction. Following a long and illustrious career in chemistry, he took on the cause of conservation, using his well-honed research methodology to preserve, study and foster the natural habitats in and around Oxford, Ohio.

He and his wife Phyllis relocated from Columbus to Oxford in 1981. They quickly became the stewards of the Silvoor Sanctuary, the former home of the region's great naturalist, Robert Hefner. The sanctuary is a living laboratory for students of botany, geology and zoology, as well as a destination for the public to learn about the area's natural habitat. John meticulously recorded the blooming dates of the Sanctuary's more than 50 native spring wildflowers for several years, and regularly led the spring wildflower walks until recently turning over the task to those more agile.

With colleague Dr. Paul Daniel, Dr. Blocher co-edited "Silvoor Notes," a collection of observations from Dr. Hefner's sizeable documentation, which was published by the Audubon Society. Dr. Blocher also writes and edits stories for "Then and Now," a resident publication of The Knolls Writing Group. He served as curator of the Silvoor Biological Sanctuary from 1982 until 2006. His service is commemorated on a plaque in the sanctuary's ravine.

John was a long-time member of the Miami University Natural Areas Committee, which preserves and protects natural areas for education, research, recreation and observation. He also is very active in Audubon Miami Valley, where he has served as president, treasurer and membership chair. He was editor of "Fox Tales," the organization's newsletter (now titled "Audubon Miami Valley"), and still proofreads it quarterly.

He raised funds for conserving and restoring natural ecosystems by coordinating the birdseed sale for the Audubon Society for 19 years. He also led fossil hikes along Collins Run. He has been instrumental in establishing nature trails in the wooded areas of The Knolls of Oxford. He erected and personally managed 30 bluebird boxes in the area.

John was honored by Oxford as one of 1993's "Citizens of the Years." He also was selected as the 2008 Wallace I. Edwards Conservationist by the Three Valley Conservation Trust for his area-wide conservationism. In 1996, he was inducted into the Berea High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

John's graduate studies at the Ohio State University were interrupted by one and half years of keeping mass spectrometers running for the WWII-ending Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In his subsequent career, John worked for Battelle Laboratories as a research chemist and specialized in developing chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) technologies, lasting terms that he introduced into the technical lexicon in 1960. His work generated 17 patents and more than 50 publications. His book, Vapor Deposition and his organization of international CVD conferences made him a world-renowned expert in the field throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He was named an Electrochemical Society fellow in 1996 and earned the Baldwin Wallace University Alumni Merit Award for his outstanding achievements, leadership and contributions in the community and his profession.

John and Phyllis raised five talented children and have 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. In their years in Columbus, they sang in the King Avenue United Methodist Church choir. John also was the Children's Choir Director and later the Chancel Choir Director, composing several anthems for the choirs. When Phyllis was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2007, John became her caregiver until she died in 2013.

Still singing, this "Happy Dabbler," as he refers to himself, is a wonderful example of staying vital, active and engaged throughout the lifespan.

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Kay Lavelle, Austintown

Kay Lavelle is, by all accounts, a guardian angel for friends and neighbors in her Austintown community. She is a tireless advocate for elders, families and children, and has pioneered valuable services and resources that have helped Austintown and surrounding communities create a better quality of life for all.

For more than 30 years, Kay has served the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office. She is a reserve deputy and coordinator of the Senior Services Unit, which she founded. She also was co-founder and is program director of the Austintown Senior Center, which houses the Senior Services Unit and serves all residents of Mahoning County. Kay was instrumental in persuading township residents to pass a senior levy to support the center, which serves more than 80 seniors daily. She is always looking for creative ways to expand the center's capacity for serving others.

She works with Adult Protective Services, the Youngstown Rescue Mission, Help Hotline Crisis Center, Area Agency on Aging 11, Inc. and home care providers to fill the gaps between available services in the community. She is one of the founding members of the Mahoning Adult Protection Network (MAPN), and established the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office Senior Fair, which is now in its sixth year and lets local seniors know about programs and services that are available to them.

She is a tireless and resourceful advocate, and notes, "Carrying a badge and gun doesn't hurt either." She has helped residents deal with uncooperative landlords, removed individuals from abusive and unsafe environments, and facilitated minor home repairs to help elders remain safe and independent at home.

The Thanksgiving for Seniors project provides Thanksgiving meals to 250 seniors in Mahoning County who are homebound or may be feeling isolated and alone during the holiday. Kay collects the names and addresses of elders who could benefit, and volunteers deliver meals. Kay helps peel potatoes, cook turkeys and bake pies.

Although she works primarily with older adults, Kay also visits schools in the county with her Umbrella Cockatoo named Deputy Boo to teach children about safety. Deputy Boo has his own deputy uniform and badge and is the sheriff's office mascot. Kay also takes Deputy Boo with her to nursing homes and county fairs.

Prior to working as a deputy, Kay assisted with activity therapy for mentally ill patients. She also was the activities coordinator and worked with developmentally disabled adults at Youngstown Developmental Center. Kay has received numerous community citations and honors for her work as a deputy and volunteer. In 2013, she received the Legacy Award from Shepherd of the Valley for outstanding senior advocacy.

Her secret to being a community advocate is to never stop doing and never stop caring. She always finds a way to say "yes," no matter how large or small the request. She is often called upon to help in the worst of circumstances, but she has a positive attitude. "I just do the best I can with whatever I have to work with," she said.

Mahoning County is lucky to have such a devoted and loving advocate looking out for the best interests of the community's most vulnerable members.

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Jim Lorimer, Worthington

With a handshake in 1975, Jim Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger forever changed the world of sports promotion and set in motion a plan that would position central Ohio as an international stage for fitness promotion and competition.

Jim began his journey into sports promotion in the 1950s. After a disappointing performance by the U.S. Women's Track Team, Jim worked with the Columbus Recreation Department to create an Olympic development program. He believed that to be the best in your sport, you had to have the best training, and he strived to ensure his program provided just that. In the1960s, he was appointed secretary of the U.S. Olympic Committee for Women's Athletics and later became chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee for that sport.

Jim met Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1970. He produced the television coverage at the Mr. World competition that would give impetus to Arnold's early career. Arnold was so impressed with how well the contest was organized that he traveled from a competition in London, England to another competition in Columbus on the next day. Arnold told Jim that when he retired from competing, he wanted to promote and grow the sport, and he would return to Columbus to join with Jim in a sports promotion partnership.

The result was the Arnold Classic professional bodybuilding contest, which grew into the Arnold Sports Festival, held annually in early March in Columbus. The festival today features 50 sports and events, including 13 Olympic sports. More than 18,000 athletes compete over the festival weekend, representing 50 states and more than 80 nations - that's more than the total number of athletes that compete at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games combined! The festival is one of the largest tourist draws in central Ohio, bringing more than 175,000 visitors and generating more than $42.4 million in spending each year.

The Arnold Sports Festival has now expanded internationally. In 2015, Arnold Sports Festival events will be presented on five continents - in Brazil, Spain, Australia, China and Columbus.

As the Director and co-founder of the festival, Jim keeps a low profile, working diligently behind the scenes. You won't find his name or picture on brochures, marketing materials or website. His Classic Productions office is unassuming and easy to miss. When he and his team of six plan events, they only have one goal: to do better than their previous best! Under Jim's leadership, they secure organizational support from 150 volunteer doctors and nurses, 1,000 additional volunteers, nine venues, a transportation committee and facility management and staff.

Jim was inducted into the 2012 International Sports Hall of Fame. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Council on Physical Fitness. He received the 2005 Iron Man Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2002 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998, he earned the Greater Columbus Hospitality Award.

Jim and his wife Jean have been married 65 years and have three children and four grandchildren. He served as mayor of the City of Worthington from 1967-1979 and again from 1996-97. He currently serves as the city's Vice Mayor. He also is a veteran of World War II, an attorney and former FBI agent, and enjoyed a 37-year career as vice president of government affairs for Nationwide Insurance.

In his community service and entrepreneurialism, Jim exhibits all the traits of a well-trained and disciplined athlete. When he succeeds, Ohio wins.

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Donelda McWilliams, Defiance

Donelda McWilliams retired in 1987 and dedicated herself to helping others because, as she put it, "It's the right thing to do." She embodies a giving spirit and has inspired many others to follow her lead.

Her personal mission is the same as the organizations she serves, which include AARP, the Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio, Inc., and the Ohio Department of Aging. She works closely with all three entities to support and advocate on behalf of vulnerable older adults. She is driven by a caring philosophy, a generous spirit and a willingness to take on challenges to benefit others. She expertly articulates complex issues to public officials, stakeholder organizations and older adults.

Donelda has volunteered with AARP for 26 years, serving on their national legislative council and state legislative committee. She also serves as a northwest Ohio regional leader for Ohio Fifth Congressional District. She served on the Ohio Department of Aging's unified long-term care system workgroup from 1994 through 2009. She also has served on the advisory board of the Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio, Inc., as an advocate for active and healthy aging.

Her giving spirit was instilled in her during her youth. "My mom never turned anyone away without a meal during the Great Depression," she said. "Not that we had all that much." Donelda's compassion shines through, and her eyes sparkle when she is helping someone.

Organizations that have benefitted from her generous heart include, the Rape Crisis Board, the HOST Reading Program and the Child Assault Program. She also is involved with the food pantry at her church. She bakes approximately 75 pies from scratch each year and donates them to various groups in the community.

She has been a member of the advisory board of Defiance County Senior Services since 2000. She helps distribute 200 commodity boxes to seniors who would have no food at the end of the month otherwise. She helped raise $1.2 million for the organization's new facility. She coordinates the making and selling of 40 gallons of ice cream for the Defiance County Senior Center's annual Ice Cream Social each August.

Donelda served as a delegate to the 1995 and 2005 White House Conferences on Aging. She was awarded the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging's Outstanding Volunteer of the Year in 2000; the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc's President Award in 2011; and the AARP Ohio Andrus Award for Community Service in 2013. In 2008, Donelda met with then-Senator George Voinovich in Washington, D.C. to discuss new bipartisan Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. She represented AARP on the Ohio Advisory Council for Aging for 15 years, advising four different directors of the Ohio Department of Aging.

Perhaps it was her late husband's foresight that gave her insight into preparing for herself and others in the future. "Three years before he died, he told me that our best insurance was for me to go to mortuary school and get a certificate, so I did," she said. When he died unexpectedly in 1970, she was able to run the funeral home while raising five children and putting them through college.

Donelda enhances the lives of older Ohioans through her intellectual leadership and outspoken advocacy. It is her hands-on hard work and willingness to get into the trenches that help her make her community and our state a better place.

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Jeri Milstead, Ph.D., Dublin

Nurses care for the patients in their charge, and Dr. Jeri Milstead has spent more than 50 years caring for and about the profession of nursing. She has dedicated her career and life to improving the care and protection of patients, and to upholding the image and reputation of nursing and nurses. She also has promoted health policy that is sound and keeps the patient and caregiver at the center of all decisions. She has given nurses an understanding of the whole policy process (not just legislation), as well as the tools to become engaged in policy decisions.

Jeri graduated from the Mt. Carmel College of Nursing in the 1950s and began her career as a nurse, then later turned to teaching nursing in Zanesville. As she touched the minds and hearts of her young students, Jeri developed a passion to make a real impact in the nursing industry. "I have witnessed the profession demanding of itself a greater level of higher education, expanded practice areas and leadership in health policy making," she said.

In the late 1960s, she returned to college and earned bachelor's and master's degrees with honors from The Ohio State University. By the mid-1970s, she was rearing four children as a single parent, following the death of her husband. She spent the next 10 years teaching nursing students at Clemson University while she returned to school to further her education. She earned her doctorate in health policy from the University of Georgia at the age of 58.

Since then, she has combined her experience as a nurse with her knowledge of health policy to become an internationally known leader in the nursing profession. She implemented an international nursing program for Clemson University, taking students to Europe to study their healthcare systems. She authored "Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse's Guide," a textbook that is in its fourth edition and published in eight countries.

Jeri was director of graduate programs at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and returned to Ohio in 1997 to serve as Dean of the College of Nursing at the Medical College of Ohio/University of Toledo. For the next decade, she taught master's and doctorate classes and consulted with other universities to expand their bachelor's, master's and doctorate programs. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She was Editor-In-Chief of the journal, "The International Nurse," from 1995 to 2006.

In retirement, she is writing the fifth edition of her book and is a contributing author for other texts and national and international journals. She continues to champion nursing and health policy by contributing to the Ohio Nurses Association, the Nightingale Policy Institute and the Council for Ohio Healthcare Advocacy, among others. She speaks to young nursing students and doctoral students across the country about health policy and helps them understand how policies are created and whom they are intended to protect. She inspires nurses to be more active in their communities and larger political arenas as advocates for patients.

Her expertise is recognized by many appointments and honors throughout her career. She has served on the Ohio Action Coalition Vision Team and the Ohio Patient-Centered Medical Homes Task Force, including serving as co-vice chair of the education advisory group. She served the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority as chair of the seaport and human resources committees, and was a member of a trade delegation to China in April 2006. She was a policy advisor in the Washington, D.C. office of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), was president of the State Board of Nursing for South Carolina, and held leadership positions in the State Nurses Associations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. She is an active member of the Expert Panel on Global Health and Nursing of the American Academy of Nursing, served as the first chair of the Board of Commissioners of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Nurse Certification, and chaired the Ohio Nurses Association Health Policy Council for four years.

Among her many recognitions and honors are the Ohio Nurses Association's 2011 Excellence in Political Action Award, the 2010 Political Activism Award from the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses, and a Career Achievement Award in 2007 from the University of Toledo Health Science Campus. In 2013 she was named a Local Nursing Legend by the Medial Heritage Center at The Ohio State University, and in 2014 was named one of 100 Transformers of Nursing and Health Care by the OSU CON Alumni Association during this centennial year.

In her long career, Dr. Jeri Milstead has committed her impressive knowledge of the practice and policy of nursing, along with her caring nature and enormous heart, to make health care more patient-centered and, ultimately, rewarding for those who choose this noble career and for those they serve.

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Harriette Ramsey, Burlington

Harriette Ramsey lives by the credo, "one person CAN make a difference." When her community needs help, she steps forward to provide it. When history must be preserved, she heeds the call. And, if you ask residents of her southern Ohio community about their most inspirational neighbor, they will undoubtedly say, "Mrs. Harriette."

Harriette learned about Christian and civic responsibilities from her parents. It is her faith that drives her, and she cites her favorite Bible verse as her inspiration, Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men so that they might see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven." She shines her light wherever it is needed.

More than 30 years ago, her Ohio River Valley community was subject to frequent flooding, which destroyed property, disrupted lives and strained families. Inspired to make a difference, Harriette and two of her friends brought together residents, community leaders and county engineers, not only to help those affected by flood waters, but also to determine and implement long-term solutions to avoid future suffering.

Inspired by her leadership, the group of civic-minded neighbors and leaders that came together in this crisis chose to stay connected and continue to be a force of change. They incorporated and became the Concerned Citizens of Burlington. In its 33 years, the organization has had only one president, Mrs. Harriette.

Harriette and Concerned Citizens of Burlington respond to needs. After an ambulance stopped her for directions en route to an emergency, Harriette looked at the community's lack of street signage and set plans in motion that would lead to street signs for every street in Burlington which improved public safety. When others saw an unused grass field down by the river, Harriette envisioned a place where families could gather for socialization and recreation. She led the effort to develop the land into Burlington Commons Park, a community centerpiece that includes a playground, event shelter and gazebo, restrooms and a walking path.

Near the park is the crown jewel of Harriette's civic work, the Old Lawrence County Jail at Burlington. In the early 2000s, she drove efforts to restore the 200-year old historic building that, over the decades, had succumbed to decay, neglect and vandalism. When restoration is complete, the building will be a museum honoring Burlington's and Lawrence County's roles in the Underground Railroad.

Many residents know Mrs. Harriette from her 27-year career as staff librarian and media specialist at Burlington Elementary School. In addition to helping students unlock their potential through learning, she also made sure they understood their own history and heritage through special programming, such as Black History Month activities at school and her church, New Hope Baptist, her home church in Ashland, KY. She believes every student deserves to "feel special," and motivates every student she serves to remain engaged and continue learning.

For her efforts, she received a plaque for community service from the Ohio Senate. She was honored as the Ironton Tribune's Citizen of the Year twice in one decade and was honored by the South Point School District as a hometown hero. She also was named Public Servant of the Year by the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Harriette's husband Raymond continues to encourage and support her in her efforts. They are the parents of three daughters and one son.

Harriette Ramsey is a beacon of hope, an example of service and an inspiration to all who have known her or have benefited from her good works. As she said: "If you want to make a difference, it starts with one person."

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Rocco Scotti, North Ridgeville

The son of immigrant parents, Rocco Biscotti developed a strong sense of patriotism that he coupled with his natural talent and love for music to become an internationally known performer. When he applied his golden tones and passionate approach to the "Star Spangled Banner," he became a legend.

In 1945, a young Rocco and his newlywed wife moved from Cleveland to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. While in the city, he took voice lessons and was mentored by Metropolitan Opera conductor Max Rudolph. He continued his voice studies when he moved to Los Angeles and supported his family by singing in a nightclub. In 1948, he returned to Cleveland, where he earned a living as a construction worker during the day and continued his vocal studies at night.

As a member of the Cleveland 500, a theater group known for its talent shows and local operas, Rocco sang the "Star Spangled Banner" many times. His performances of the National Anthem were always technically perfect, solid and straightforward. Then, on his way to sing the anthem at a baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles in 1974, Rocco was inspired to try a different approach to his performance.

"This is our anthem, and it should be sung the way it was written - with style and class," he said. He stepped to the microphone with one goal that day, "sing loud and strong!" His thundering tone lifted the familiar refrains across the crowd of thousands in his home town, and his now-signature high note at the end brought the opposing team out of their dugout with cheers and adulation. For nearly 20 years after that performance, Rocco was the sole singer of the National Anthem for Indians' home games.

He adopted the stage name of "Rocco Scotti," and was not only the featured singer for the Cleveland Indians, but he also performed for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Force. He was the first singer to perform the National Anthem for the Baseball Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY, and became the permanent anthem singer for Canton's Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. He has sung the anthem for every major league baseball team, as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has performed for many nationally televised events in the United States and Canada, and sung for Presidents Ford and Reagan.

Inspired by the pride that is evident in his performances of the "Star Spangled Banner," other nations have commissioned him to sing their anthems. He has sung the Polish national anthem for boxing team matches, the Hungarian national anthem for basketball games, the Italian national anthem for soccer games and the Israeli national anthem for a visit from their prime minister to Cleveland.

Rocco holds the distinction of having sung the "Star Spangled Banner" more times live and for more varied events than anyone in U.S. history. The 106th U.S. Congress awarded him with the United States Civilian Purple Heart for his patriotism, and designated him the "Star Spangled Banner" Singer of the Millennium. He received the prestigious Mario Lanza Award and has a special dedication in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was named by People Magazine as one of the best anthem singers in America.

Rocco also sang the tenor leads in La Boheme, La Traviata, Othello and Cavalleria Rusticana. He sang and recorded two albums with the Rome Symphony Orchestra. In 1993 Tom Hanks invited him to perform at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland and later cast Rocco in one of his plays.

"I am very grateful that with my Italian heritage, God has given me the honor of performing our country's greatest and most meaningful song," Rocco said. His talents will continue to inspire his fellow Americans and others for many generations.

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Harvey Sterns, Ph.D., Akron

Dr. Harvey L. Sterns has dedicated his life to the advancement of services, care, research and education concerning adults and older adults. He is an ambassador whose expertise in gerontology and geriatric research is unmatched. His research in a variety of fields has paved the way for innovative and responsive approaches to adapt to our growing and changing aging population.

His journey began at age 11 when his grandmother had a stroke. His mother coordinated his grandmother's care, which included rehabilitation physical therapy, speech therapy and other services. He watched over the next 12 years as his mother provided affectionate and effective care. "There are some people today who do not get the care and rehabilitation that my grandmother received 60 years ago," Harvey recalls.

Harvey earned his Ph.D. from West Virginia University in 1971 with a focus on lifespan developmental psychology and a minor in statistics and research design, received his master's degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1968 and his bachelor's degree in psychology and biology from Bard College in 1965. He testified before the State Legislature in 1978 for funding that has supported offices of geriatric medicine and gerontology in all seven of Ohio's medical schools.

He is a life-long learner, committed to lifespan developmental psychology that emphasizes intervention and the ability to improve and optimize development. He currently is professor of psychology, as well as the founding director and senior fellow of the Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology at The University of Akron, and Research Professor of Gerontology, Family and Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

As a researcher and teacher, Harvey has tackled pressing elder issues, such as late-life employment, multi-generational workplaces, and personal mobility. His work also has explored many dilemmas faced by families, such as knowing when and how to ask a loved one to stop driving, how to support grandparents raising grandchildren, and what types of housing choices are available for elders. His other research includes alcohol treatment and aging and life-planning issues for older adults with developmental disabilities. He has contributed to more than 45 research grants, totaling more than 10 million in funding. He is very proud of his work with the Memorymagic Therapeutic Intervention for people with Alzheimer's disease that is now in more than 2,000 facilities around the world.

He has written or contributed to more than 120 articles, book chapters and books. Recent books include: Working Longer: New Strategies for Managing, Training, and Retaining Older Employees; Adult Development and Aging 3rd Edition and Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics: Gerontology and Geriatric Education (as co-author). He has given more than 300 workshops and presentations to organizations across the nation and internationally.

His honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award in Aging from Area Agency on Aging 10B; the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Education; and induction into Sigma Phi Omega, the national academic honor and professional society in gerontology and served as National President. He is a charter fellow of the American Psychological Society and a fellow and past president of the American Psychological Association Division 20 Adult Development and Aging, and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America He served on the Board of Trustees for the American Society on Aging, on the Arthritis Advisory Committee for the Ohio Department of Health, and on the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Harvey and his wife Ronni look forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. They raised two sons and one daughter and have five grandchildren. He enjoys restoring old homes and vintage cars. He continues to be an active member in the community and is constantly challenging himself through research and education.

Through Harvey Sterns' work, Ohio is better prepared to meet our elders' needs, now and well into the future.

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Carol Vanek, Parma

Carol Vanek never misses the chance to make someone's life better. She is an advocate and friend who helps others find their inner strength when facing adversity. In her service to her Parma community, she has helped Ohio respond to its changing and aging population and treated her elder neighbors with respect and affection.

Carol began her 31-year career with the Donna Smallwood Activities Center as an escort driver. Her stalwart spirit was immediately noticeable. She often persevered through adverse conditions to ensure that people were served, no matter what. While helping those in her care through a variety of roles, she identified additional needs and set out to find ways to meet them. She helped write grants to start transportation, housekeeping, congregate meals, home and hospital delivered meal programs at the center.

She organized and ran the center's Support Services program, through which she developed and conducted home evaluations, administered assessments and made agency referrals. She also taught craft classes and wellness groups. Toward the end of her career, she trained all new employees with unmatched confidence because she had personally held every position in the organization. She also helped establish the Center's not-for-profit organization, the Parma Commission on Aging.

In the 1980s, Carol began the AMRAP ("PARMA" spelled backwards) program for legally blind and severely handicapped older adults. She also launched the popular Healing Hearts support group in 2007 for anyone needing to share something pressing on their hearts. She has often said, "Lead with your heart and your head will follow." She clearly embodies this philosophy.

Carol often says, "Be a dreamer and don't set limitations on yourself." She shares her loving nature and warm smile, her delightful humor and her kindness with everyone who comes through the Center's doors. She uses her varied interests from her entire lifespan, such as roller skating, ballet and violin lessons, and artistic endeavors, to inspire other elders to stay active. She continually finds new and exciting activities to stimulate their interests, their creativity and their well-being.

Carol and her late husband Joe were married for 48 years and raised three sons. She is a proud grandmother to two grandsons. She enjoys her home, antiques, gardening and animals. She credits her mother and father for her giving spirit. "My parents were kind, loving, and considerate. (They) always said, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' God has blessed me ten-fold for living by that."

In her service to the Center and her community, she found the strength to carry on through her own personal battles. When her husband succumbed to cancer, her journey through grief was not a solitary one. She found friendship and comfort from other members of the group, as she accepted the same help she had freely given others.

Today, despite her fragile health, she remains positive and dedicated to helping others. Her goal is to put a smile on even the most difficult person's face in the most difficult of times. She said it best, "Life is a journey, embrace every phase, live your life to the absolute fullest!"

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Betty Jo Weiser, Canal Winchester

The central Ohio community of Canal Winchester is a better place due in no small part to the work of Betty Jo Weiser. Her altruistic spirit and can-do attitude are what drive her to make life easier and hopefully a little better for neighbors who are less fortunate than she.

Nearly 60 years ago, Jo helped establish Canal Winchester Human Services, an organization borne out of need to provide emergency assistance to local families in crisis. The organization's cornerstone programs - Emergency Assistance, Adopt A Family, and Senior Transportation - exist because of Jo Weiser. Today, she is still actively involved on the Board of Executives for the organization.

The Adopt A Family program ensures something under the Christmas tree for more than 300 children in need. Items collected and distributed include clothes, shoes, toys, coats and food. The Emergency Assistance program provides funds that help families in crisis realize that all is not lost. The Senior Transportation program helps elders remain vital members of their community by connecting them to local resources to maintain their health and independence, and would not have been possible without the work of Jo and her husband Dick.

Jo enjoys sharing stories of those she has helped, such as the child who told her after his first visit to the dentist, thanks to her, that it was the first time he could remember his mouth not hurting. There was the local man who was severely burned in a gas station, for whom Jo arranged six months' worth of mortgage payments while he recovered. Then, there are the many elderly and isolated neighbors whose days were brightened by a visit and small gift because of Jo's initiative that first began by providing holiday baskets to shut-ins.

When Canal Winchester Human Services added the local food pantry to its services, Jo was naturally at the helm. She continues to monitor the pantry's progress in expanding to serve more people in need. She and Dick contribute their time to the pantry and its initiatives, such as the Feeding the Future project for hungry children in two school districts.

Jo also volunteers at Hope United Methodist Church, where she teaches Sunday school and through the years has served on various committees. She is an active member of the Eastern Star, the Canal Winchester Women's Auxiliary of the American Legion and the Canal Winchester Historical Society. In recent years, she served on an advisory committee to determine the re-purposing of the current Canal Winchester Middle School, a historic landmark and the oldest operating school in the state. Her recognitions for her work with Human Services have included: Grand Marshall of the Canal Winchester Labor Day, recipient of the Canal Winchester Chamber of Commerce's Pillar of the Community Award and twice being recognized as a nominee of the Jefferson Award.

This summer Jo and Dick will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, and they continue to enjoy time with their friends and family including their son and grandson. Throughout her decades of service, Jo has never faltered in her personal mission to make her community a better place, and she continues that commitment as she and Dick support the current campaign of building a permanent home for Canal Winchester Human Services. Jo's legacy will be long lasting as she continues her service to the community, including educating younger generations about the community's history, as well as our responsibilities and obligations to those in need. Her spirit and dedication truly are the heart of Ohio.

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Chuck White, Worthington

For six decades, Chuck White has used his knowledge, celebrity and passion to change the lives of Ohioans in very positive ways. A broadcasting pioneer, he saw challenges in his community and cultivated enduring programs and services to meet the needs of his neighbors.

Chuck White was the first African American on-air television broadcaster in Ohio, and has had a long and illustrious career with WBNS 10TV in Columbus. Early in his career, he co-produced, co-wrote and performed as a puppeteer on the children's program, Luci's Toy Shop, for 14 years. He also was anchor of the weekend news and co-anchored the daily 7:00 PM News with the late Chet Long. Chuck served Channel 10 in many ways over the years, earning three Emmy Awards along the way, and retiring as the station's public affairs director. He is a founding member of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as a founder of the National Broadcast Association for Community Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Broadcasting enabled Chuck to realize, first hand, the needs of many people in his community, and he used his influence to help meets those needs. "My wonderful parents instilled in me at a very young age values that have guided me throughout my adult life and my broadcasting career: Integrity, excellence, respect, fun and the Golden Rule," Chuck said.

For more than 25 years, Chuck was executive producer of the Children's Miracle Network Telethon, which has raised more than $10.3 million for Nationwide Children's Hospital of Columbus. He helped feed the hungry in central Ohio as executive producer of the WBNS 10TV Food Parade for the Operation Feed and United Way campaigns and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. He founded and served as executive director of the WBNS 10TV Family Fund, which helped more than 100,000 central Ohio families and provided more than 800,000 meals for needy families during the holidays.

Chuck also helps foster the giving spirit. He established a Columbus chapter of the Jefferson Awards program to honor those who have helped build a culture of service in Columbus and surrounding communities. He is a charter member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club and supported learning events for Columbus' movers and shakers. He is an honorary board member of Employment for Seniors, a local organization that helps older adults continue to grow, thrive and contribute through employment.

In 2000 and 2002 Chuck was invited by the U.S. Department of State to address an international seminar on fund-raising for non-profit organizations in Slovenia and in four cities throughout Ukraine. Since April 2008, he has served on the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

Chuck also strives to help others understand themselves and unlock their true potential. He helped establish the National Afro-American History Museum located in Wilberforce, Ohio. He fostered programs like "Artists in Schools," which help thousands of students express themselves through performance and art, and he helped to preserve the historic Ohio and Southern Theaters. He also helped found the Columbus Arts Festival, which has brought recognition to many artists for the past three decades and is recognized as one of the best arts festivals in the nation.

Honors for his good works include: the Arts Freedom Award and the Living Legend Award from the Columbus Association of Black Journalists; the Founders Award from the National Broadcast Association for Community Affairs; the Golden Achievement Award from Doctors Hospital; the Democracy in Action Award from the League of Women Voters; the Equal Opportunity Award of Excellence from the Columbus Urban League; and the City of Columbus' Mayor's Award for Community Service.

"I have tried to leave a legacy of giving back to the community as a standard by which my successors can measure their value to the community," Chuck said. "I think I have proven that race, age and ethnic background do not have to define what you are capable of achieving."

Chuck and his wife of 52 years, Bernice, raised three sons together. He sings professionally and is a gourmet cook. He stays active by physically working out at the gym, gardening, and reading. He views growing older as an "an exciting challenge to keep moving, both physically as well as mentally, with positive thinking."

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May Wykle, Ph.D., Solon

Dr. May Wykle never set out to be a trail blazer; she was simply following her heart. She came of age when the civil rights movement was shaping American history, and in her own way, she began shaping the future of nursing care.

In 1956, May was the first African-American in Martins Ferry, Ohio, to receive a nursing diploma. There weren't many opportunities for her there, so she began her career as a staff nurse with the Cleveland Psychiatric Institute. "Seeing other African-American nurses gave me some confidence that I could succeed." She furthered her education and training in 1962 by pursuing her bachelor's degree in nursing at Case Western Reserve University. In 1969, she began her master's degree program in psychiatric nursing and would eventually earn her Ph.D. in higher education.

Upon completion of her studies, her professors asked her to join the faculty. "The offer shocked me because I was the only African-American instructor at Case Western Reserve at the time," she recalled. She has been on faculty ever since, including a joint appointment as Director of Nursing at Hanna Pavilion of University Hospitals of Cleveland, Chairperson of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, and Dean of Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. Recognizing our aging population, May ensured the school included a stand-alone course in caring for older adults as part of its basic nursing curriculum.

May has provided her expertise on race and gender in mental health, gerontology and geriatric care to hundreds of institutions, health professionals, families and the media. She has authored or coauthored eight books, 30 book chapters and more than 500 papers and presentations on nursing, mental health and psychiatric care, geriatrics and gerontology. Her most recent book is Aging Well - Gerontological Education for Nurses and other Health Professionals.

"We need to bring more minorities into nursing - including nursing education - so we can help to eliminate health disparities in communities of color," Wykle says. "Nurses of color can teach other nurses about how to communicate and how to understand cultural traditions concerning health and illness."

Her distinguished career includes positions as visiting professor at University of Zimbabwe, University of Michigan and University of Texas. Internationally, she has been a visiting professor or guest presenter in Australia, Botswana, Chile, Italy, Mexico, Slovenia, Taiwan, Uganda, Denmark, England, Ireland, Hungary and Zimbabwe. She also has served as director, principal or co-principal investigator or consultant on 47 research projects, totaling more than $6 million in grants and funded by national organizations.

Among her many honors, May was the first recipient of the Pope Eminent Scholar at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving in 1999, where she still serves on the Board of Directors. She was recognized as one of Northeastern Ohio's Most Influential Women by Northern Ohio Live magazine. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award, from Case Western Reserve University, is a fellow at the Gerontological Society of America, and was named Distinguished Nurse-Scholar by the National Institute on Aging. She received the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award from the Gerontological Society of America. In 1995, May was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and was recently named a Living Legend.

For her contributions to nursing and healthcare leadership, the Case Western University Board of Trustees created the May L. Wykle Endowed Professorship.

May's mission has been to bring more minorities into the nursing profession and train more geriatric nurses. She is most proud of her dedication to mentoring, because being mentored had made a huge difference in her own career. She has opened doors far and wide and helps others pass through, all for the betterment of Ohio and its elders.

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