EATON — Paul Schaeffer was named Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year by Preble County Council on Aging during the Senior Day Celebration on Tuesday, May 14.
Not only was the Senior of the Year honored during the celebration, but there were vendors, raffles, and food for seniors to enjoy.
The theme for Senior Day was “Connect, Create, and Contribute.”
Executive Director Shelley Ratliff opened the event by speaking about the successful year PCCOA had — noting it was this year the Senior Center was named Ohio’s Senior Center of the Year.
“We delivered a total of 30,695 Meals on Wheels last year. In addition to those meals, the kitchen prepared another 20,000 in congregate and diner meals. That is 50,000 meals! If you’ve seen the kitchen, it is amazing that the team is able to pull that off,” Ratliff said. “We house 18 vans in our bus barn every day. We have 14 part time drivers and last year we provided 15,289 one-way trips. We drove over 266,000 miles.
“Our Participants Council continues to host the very successful Thursday Night Dance at the Gathering Place. The Silvertones, the band that you heard earlier, they perform live every Thursday night from 5-8 p.m. They’re wonderful. This was a huge success when it began, and it continues now. 4,800 people came to the Thursday Night Dance last year.
“Our finances continue to improve and I attribute most of it to our staff managing our finances. We also have a great finance committee that overlooks our finances on a regular basis. The board, on top of that, doubles checks what we all have done. It is the work of the whole team that makes us so wonderful,” Ratliff said.
She continued: “We were named the 2019 Senior Center of the Year in the State of Ohio. I am so proud to be part of this organization and to work with all of you and serve you and get what you need as we make those transitions as we get older. Sometimes we think we might need some help and sometimes we think we might not, but when you’re ready, we know who to call. We are the place you call when you need something.”
Various individuals were also present to share their support of Preble County Council on Aging, including: Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech who read the Senior Day Proclamation to the gathered crowd, a representative from Area Agency on Aging who shared their support, Senator Steve Huffman who submitted a proclamation honoring PCCOA for remarkable achievement, and Ben Thaeler represented Warren Davidson in sharing his support of PCCOA.
Barb Felton spoke on why Paul Schaeffer was chosen for the honor of Senior of the Year.
“The Outstanding Senior Citizen award is presented each year to a Preble County resident who is 60 or older. Each county in the State of Ohio presents this award to one of their own. The award goes to a senior who has made significant contributions to their community. Recipients of the award often provide services to seniors such as education, business, medicine, volunteerism, just to name a few areas,” Felton said.
“I love the Outstanding Senior Citizen award. Why? Because it shines a light on those unsung heroes and angels among us. We all know these people, there are many here today. They help others, not because they seek recognition, but because they can make a difference in the life of someone else.
“Those of us in In-Home Services, which is Home Delivered Meals, Housekeeping, and Service Navigation, know how often this year’s recipient goes above and beyond what is expected. We know, because we get the calls of gratitude from our clients. I doubt that a lot of PCCOA staff are aware of what this person does for others on a regular basis. Our recipient often works behind the scenes to accomplish good deeds for our clients.
“Our recipient is assertive in protecting seniors when there is a situation that isn’t fair or right. I feel certain that our recipient is not only an Outstanding Senior Citizen, but a wonderful example of how everyone should treat seniors in our community,” Felton said.
Tristan Seymour also spoke about Schaeffer and the difference he has made in his life.
“I have volunteered with Meals on Wheels for a little more than a month now. I came to Preble County Council on Aging and the number one Senior Center of the Year to assist Paul for volunteer hours for home school. Growing up, all my grandfathers and most of my grandmothers passed away before I could meet them. In my short time working with Paul, he has become more than a coworker,” Seymour said.
“He is almost like the grandfather I never had,” he continued. “He is one of the men you have to sit back and talk to, because no matter what the conversation I loved hearing the stories he had to tell. He is so kindhearted and is willing to help everyone to the best of his abilities. He is willing to go to great lengths to help anyone who needs it. I wish there were more men like Paul Schaeffer. Thank you for being my friend, thank you for telling me your stories, thank you for spending four plus hours every day with me. Your kids are lucky to call you dad, your grandchildren are lucky to call you grandpa. I wish I had a grandpa just like you.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH