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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

May 20, 2014

12 outstanding older Ohioans inducted into state Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

Ohio Department of Aging, General Assembly honor outstanding Golden Buckeyes

2014 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of FameCOLUMBUS - The Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and members of the Ohio General Assembly today inducted twelve accomplished older Ohioans into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during a special ceremony today in Columbus. They join more than 400 individuals who have been inducted since 1978.

"The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame recognizes the important roles that our elders can play when they continue to grow, thrive and contribute throughout their lives," said Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., director of the department. "True Golden Buckeyes are not defined by their age, they are inspired by it. This year's honorees have helped Ohio prepare for its growing and changing aging population, are recognized as leaders in their fields, and have bolstered their community and their state through their good works."

The 2014 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Inductees:

Helping Ohio Respond to its growing and changing aging population

  • Kay Lavelle, Austintown - A 30-plus year veteran of the Mahoning County Sheriff's office, she founded the Senior Services Unit and is program coordinator of the Austintown Senior Center.
  • Donelda McWilliams, Defiance - Donelda works with state and local agencies to promote public policy to help older adults continue to be respected as vital members of society.
  • Dr. Harvey Sterns, Akron - As a researcher and teacher, Dr. Sterns led research that paved the way for innovative and responsive approaches to adapt to our aging population.
  • Dr. May Wykle, Solon - A pioneer in the nursing profession, Dr. Wykle has provided her expertise on race and gender in health care and opened the door for diversity in nursing.
  • Carol Vanek, Parma - Carol has served the Donna Smallwood Activities Center in Parma for more than 31 years, developing many of its key programs, including the Support Services Program.

Leaders in their fields

  • Dr. John Blocher, Oxford - During his long career in chemistry, Dr. Blocher was world expert in vapor deposition. In retirement, he has been one of Oxford, Ohio's prominent conservationists.
  • Dr. Jeri Milstead, Dublin - Dr. Milstead is an internationally recognized expert in nursing education and public policy, with more than 50 years in the profession.
  • Rocco Scotti, North Ridgeville - Rocco Scotti is internationally known for his renditions of the "Star Spangled Banner." He was the official anthem singer of the Cleveland Indians for nearly 20 years.
  • Chuck White, Worthington - Chuck white was Ohio's first African-American on-air television broadcaster and produced the Children's Miracle Network Telethon for 25 years.

Lifting up their communities and the state

  • Jim Lorimer, Worthington - Jim Lorimer co-founded and continues to direct the Arnold Sports Festival, which brings nearly 200,000 visitors to central Ohio each March.
  • Harriette Ramsey, Burlington - As founder of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington, Harriette Ramsey has led a community response to pressing issues like public safety and preservation.
  • Betty Jo Weiser, Canal Winchester - Nearly 60 years ago, Jo Weiser helped establish Canal Winchester Human Services and remains very involved in the agency today.

Access detailed bios and photographs of these inductees at www.aging.ohio.gov/news/halloffame.

The hall honors individuals age 60 and older who are native-born Ohioans or who have been Ohio residents for at least 10 years. Nominations are evaluated on the impact of current contributions or a continuation of work and accomplishments begun before age 60. This year's nominees range in age from 72 to 95.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.


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