Officials, care providers, and volunteers were recognized for their outstanding efforts on behalf of older adults at the 17th annual Serving Seniors award ceremony on Nov. 2.
Hosted by Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES), Serving Seniors recognizes those whose work helps maintain the dignity and independence of older adults and people with disabilities,
according to SCES Executive Director John O’Neill.
“Serving Seniors gives us a chance to celebrate those unsung heroes, who play a critical role in improving the lives of people whose needs are so frequently overlooked in this society,” said O’Neill.
Award winners received commemorative plaques, which were presented before the entire agency at an award ceremony at the Holiday Inn Boston-Bunker Hill, in Somerville.
The following awards were bestowed at Serving Seniors 2016:
Officer Daniel Burroso of the Cambridge Police Department was recognized with the Nancy P. Kahn award, which is given for advocacy and inter-agency collaboration that benefits older adults.
As the Senior Outreach Officer for the Cambridge P.D., Burroso works closely with Adult Protective Services at SCES to prevent elder abuse and leads outreach efforts to raise awareness. He also serves on the Cambridge Council on Aging and the Cambridge Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition.
State Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) received the Sousa Advocacy Award, which honors outstanding advocacy for older adults.
Rep. Decker been a consistent advocate for in-home services at Beacon Hill, meeting each year with SCES leadership to discuss issues and concerns. During the most recent budget process, she rallied the Cambridge and Somerville delegation to support pursuing a federal waiver that would provide an additional $19 million for in-home services, helping to convince the Ways and Means Committee to include that measure in its final budget.
Alan Bingham and Monique Davies both received the James “Cotton” Tingle Sr. award, which recognizes volunteers who help disadvantaged older residents.
Bingham, of Somerville, has been a Long-Term Care Ombudsman for SCES since 2012, establishing a reputation as a thorough and effective advocate for residents at the Neville Center at Fresh Pond.
Davies has taken on a variety of roles at SCES, helping to distribute donated food through the Brown
Bag program, escorting older adults to appointments through the Medical Escort program, and by providing companionship through the Caring Neighbor and New Friend programs.
Kristin Bell received the Compassionate Care Provider award, which recognizes paid care providers who provide the highest quality of care.
Until recently Bell was Resident Services Coordinator at Clarendon Towers in Somerville, and routinely went above-and-beyond to meet the needs of older adults facing challenges with health, family & abuse.
Maria Fuentes, of Somerville, received the Outstanding Caregiver Award, which recognizes unpaid caregivers who demonstrate uncommon devotion or resilience.
In working with SCES to provide in-home care for her mother, Fuentes showed great determination and made many sacrifices to provide the best possible care.
Longtime Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) social worker Kathy Hoey received the Jalna Perry LGBT award, which is given to those who work to create a positive and affirming environmental for LGBT older adults and their caregivers.
Prior to her retirement over the summer, Hoey led numerous LGBT workshops and community dialogues, and was known at CHA for her sensitivity, compassion and dedication to LGBT seniors.
Additionally, the contributions of Bingham and Fuentes received citations of recognition from Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
Serving Seniors also recognizes SCES employees and clients. The more than 250 people in attendance gave a standing ovation to 106-year-old Ematesse Joseph, during the Recognition of Centenarians. There was also a huge round of applause for Nutrition Operations Assistant Leonora Davidchick, who was recognized for 35 years of service with the agency.