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Awards program looks to honor area seniors
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In an effort to recognize the county’s most generous senior citizens, the Stanislaus County’s 2017 Senior Awards are calling for nominations of those who have devoted their time to a number of areas, from community service to simply being a good neighbor.


The awards program has been in place for close to 40 years and seeks to acknowledge five recipients, one from each of the county’s Supervisorial Districts, for their outstanding volunteer work, which may include humanitarianism, leadership or political advocacy. Winners of the award will be recognized by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in May during “Older Americans Month.”


“A lot of the area’s seniors don’t realize the value of their volunteerism and what it means to the community,” said Carolyn Hill of the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging. “These awards are to recognize them, because a lot of them say that they don’t deserve it or that someone else deserves the recognition more than them.”


Nominated seniors must be age 60 or older and reside in Stanislaus County, and the achievement, accomplishment or service on which the nomination is based must have taken place within the county and on a solely volunteer, unpaid basis. The nominee’s work should also have enhanced the lives of others and brought about change, according to guidelines on the nomination application, as well as inspired others, filled an unmet need and shown dedication and commitment.


According to Hill, anywhere from 20 to 35 nominations are received each year for the awards, which are judged by a committee created by the agency.


“It’s very important that people put as much information on the application as possible, because it’s all they have to judge by,” said Hill.


On the application, nominators are asked to provide information on the service or activity for which the senior is being nominated for, including the approximate number of years spent volunteering and hours spent per month. Past winners have included a 90-year-old woman who donated 20 hours of her time per week for 23 years to the Modesto Police Department’s Helping Adults With Kindness program, and a senior who averaged 175 hours a month working with various veterans groups throughout the county.


“A lot of times, people don’t even realize what they’re doing is volunteer work,” said Hill. “They just enjoy what they’re doing, so they do it.”


If a nominee is selected as a winner of the award, in addition to being recognized at the Board of Supervisors meeting with a special resolution, he or she will also receive a commemorative album with certificates from legislators at the local and state level, and in some cases recognition from the President of the United States.


“Everyone deserves a pat on the back, and a lot of these people aren’t doing it for the fame or fortune but it’s still nice to recognize them,” said Hill. “We just need our seniors to know we value them.”


Nomination forms for the 2017 Senior Awards may be obtained by calling the Area Agency on Aging at 209-558-7825 or 1-800-510-2020. The deadline for the nomination forms to be returned is March 1, and they may be mailed to the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging, 121 Downey Ave., Suite 102, Modesto, CA, 95354.