SAAA Honors Volunteers at the Annual Senior Picnic

logo31The Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging (SAAA) held its annual Senior Picnic on June 19th at the Clarke County Ruritan Building.  This event brings seniors together from all counties in the Planning District to celebrate volunteerism and to enjoy fellowship and great food.  Lunch, catered by the Clarke County Ruritans, featured their famous BBQ Chicken, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, green beans, apple sauce, ice cream and beverage.  Dennis Scott and Skip Royston provided musical entertainment.

For the Warren County Active Living Center, Mary Ann Gardner, SAAA Nutrition Specialist, recognized Dee Schools as the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.  Dee provides monthly programs for the Center bringing prizes, fun and important information about fire safety.  As the volunteer Public Fire Educator for the Warren County Fire Department, Dee involved SAAA as a partner in the Remembering When grant through The High Risk Outreach Programs of the Public Education Division at the National Fire Protection Association.  And, Dee Schools was a tremendous support in the planning and implementation of the Senior Carnival enjoyed so much by our Center participants.  Dee was recognized for her admirable dedication to keeping seniors safe.

For the Clarke County Active Living Center, Bonnie Dodson, ALC Director, presented a certificate of appreciation to Lisa Cooke and the Clarke County Parks and Recreation Department recognizing them for their outstanding support throughout the years with transportation, programs and with the fundraising for the new Active Living Center.  Bonnie Dodson stated, “We have been at our new center for 1 ½ years and Lisa and her staff have been instrumental in helping us get settled in and are there whenever we need anything.”

Helen Huffman, ALC Director, presented the Shenandoah County Active Living Center Award for Volunteer of the Year to Betty Bucher.  Betty started attending the Center in February 2013 and right away started volunteering in the dining area and then quickly became involved in the kitchen helping to prepare tea and snacks and serving the meals.  She also helps with some of the programs, and always keeps an eye out for other participants’ safety and well-being.  Ms. Bucher started helping others when she was only 12 years old, staying overnight with elderly people and fixing their morning breakfasts.  “Betty Bucher is an all-around people person, and we are very thankful and fortunate to have her as a volunteer at our Center,” said Helen Huffman.

Crystal Bailey, ALC Director, presented the Page County Active Living Center Volunteer of the Year Award to Suzi Gavaza.  Suzi Gavazahas a great spirit and is an asset to the Meals on Wheels Program.   She was even part of Page County ALC’s winning Senior Olympics team.   Suzi Gavaza was recognized for her dedication and the heart she puts into all she does for the Page ALC and for the community.

Jenna Warren, Active Living Center Assistant, presented the Frederick County Active Living Center Volunteer of the Year Award to Vicki Lipton.  Vicki Lipton wears many hats as she takes care of all the Center’s correspondence, decorates the bulletin board monthly, helps decorate the Center for special events, wraps plastic ware for the Center’s meals and packs goodie bags for the homebound.  She is deeply appreciated because she is always willing to help out regardless of the chore and always has a big smile on her face.

Kathy Neff, ALC Director, presented the Winchester Active Living Center Volunteer of the Year Award to Vern Kesner.  Vern Kesner presents a new musical program every month and especially enjoys locating and playing everyone’s favorite tunes.  No matter what he plays, the Center participants look forward to his program and enjoy listening and dancing every time he comes.

Annabel Walter, ALC Director, presented the Fort Valley Active Living Center Volunteer of the Year Award to Richard Gochenour.   As a volunteer driver, Mr. Kesner is always there to provide rides, but he does even more.  Annabel Walter stated, “He is truly my handyman at the Center waiting on anyone who needs help, serving meals, washing dishes, even taking away trash.”

Catherine Galvin, Executive Director, presented the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging’s Volunteer of the Year Award to Tom Reed.    The Frederick County Board of Supervisors appointed Tom Reed to the SAAA Board of Directors last July.  Since then, he has enthusiastically embraced those responsibilities.  He volunteered to serve on the Finance Committee because of his past employment managing a Community Credit Union.  In addition to making committee and Board meetings a priority, he has visited several Active Living Centers and regularly volunteers to help with everything from serving meals to delivering Meals on Wheels in Winchester.  He supports SAAA by participating in events, helping with fundraising, and telling others about the services SAAA provides.

For more information on the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, the Active Living Centers, Our Place Respite Centers, Meals on Wheels, Personal Care, Homemaker Assistance, Long Term Care questions, WellTran rides, VICAP (Medicare Insurance Counseling) or any other aging issues, call (540) 635-7141 or 800 883-4122 or visit

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