ChangingAging’s Dr. Bill Thomas was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the state of Maryland at the annual Governor’s Leadership in Aging Awards ceremony May 10 for his pioneering work reforming long term care and challenging the conventions of aging.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Secretary of Aging Gloria Lawlah also recognized outstanding contributions made by older Marylanders, and groups or organizations that serve them with awards for the visual and performing arts, health and advocacy.
O’Malley couldn’t make the ceremony but that didn’t dampen celebrations at the Catonsville Senior Center, which included several show-stopping performances by The Showstoppers, a troupe of singers, comedians, musicians and dancers who won the Governor’s award for the performing arts. Other award winners included Frank Stringfellow for Visual Arts, Rosalie Pack for Health and Vitality, “Heart of Cecil County” 2011 calendar photographers for Photography, Jerry McMahon for the individual Trailblazer award and Arts for the Aging for the organization Trailblazer award.
Bill spoke on the need to honor elders and to embrace the virtues of aging. It was a message well received by the advocates, elders and family members who packed the Catonsville Senior Center for the ceremony.
Unfortunately, the only news media in attendance was the awards Emcee, Baltimore TV personality and local CBS news anchor Denise Koch. If Denise reads this post, shame on WJZ, the other Baltimore TV stations, the Baltimore Sun and Catonsville Times for ignoring this important event and opportunity to showcase the vibrance and vitality of older adults in Maryland.
Fortunately, I live in Baltimore and was able to shoot some video with my iPhone. The video above is an example of how we can use social media to share important stories and events that celebrate and help change our views of aging. I’d like to encourage any participants who took photos to share them through our comments feature below or on our Facebook Page.
Award Winner Bios:
Visual Arts — Frank Stringfellow
Frank maintains that creativity and expression are lifelong activities. Frank is a research scientist and is mostly self-taught in his other pursuits, including author, poet, painter, storyteller, modeler, harmonacist and Senior Olympian. He has completed over three hundred paintings and his Collected Works of Frank Stringfellow (Effects of Ageing on Creativity and Expression) has been submitted to the FolkLife Center at the Library of Congress.
Performing Arts — The Showstoppers
The Showstoppers grew out of the South County Senior Center’s annual talent show and now includes over 40 participants who are singers, comedians, musicians and a variety of dancers: tap, belly, line and solo. Vici Smith originated the group and the current director is Joanne De Wilde. The group entertains at least twice a month at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other community venues.
Health and Vitality — Rosalie Pack
Rosalie Pack serves as a role model to others by leading a healthy lifestyle and having a commitment to healthy living. Rosalie has been the leader of the Brooklyn Homes Tenant Council for 12 years and in that capacity holds monthly meetings with residents to improve quality of life. She has helped raise awareness and promote cardiovascular health among African American, lower socioeconomic groups and public housing residents in Baltimore.
Photography — 2011 “Heart of Cecil County” Calendar Photographers
Joe Gulick, Barbara Snyder, Wayne Scholz, Ben Cook. Linda Peterson Singleton, Patricia Robey, Sue Ann Grier, Richard LeGates, Nancy Renolds, Ed Groom, and Walter Bouchelle were recognized for their photographs featured in the 2011 Senior Services and Community Transit Calendar. Their photographs represent their unique perception of the simplistic beauty of Cecil County.
Trailblazer (Individual) — Jerry McMahon
Jerry McMahon sees his purpose in retirement as part of a support system to all fellow elders. Jerry is the Chairperson for the Waldorf Senior Center Council and Greenback INvestment Club. An avid gardner, Air Force Veteran and NSA retiree, Jerry is a constant fixture at the senior center and volunteer for seniors county wide.
Trailblazer (Organization) — Arts for the Aging
Arts for the Aging is recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a pioneering arts program for older adults and a model for excellence in life-long learning and creative aging. Infusing the latest field research and evaluation in its work Arts for the Aging remains true to the founder’s innovative vision, giving older adults — especially those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease — a sense of healing, self-worth and independence.