Advocates from Reed City, Troy recognized for valuable contributions to seniors

James Forrer receives a donation for his charity, Helping Angels, from Bridget Hurd, director of Community Responsibility at BCBSM.

Larry Emig of Reed City and James Forrer of Troy were recognized Wednesday at Older Michiganian’s Day at the State Capitol in Lansing for their dedication to improving the lives of the elderly. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Senior Advisory Council honored the outstanding senior citizen advocates with the Claude Pepper Award, named after the late U.S. Congressman who championed senior citizens’ rights.

BCBSM has given the Claude Pepper Award annually since 1980. Recipients demonstrate a strong concern for the special needs of the elderly, and their actions profoundly impact older adults, particularly individuals who do not receive adequate health services due to mental, physical, financial or geographical limitations.

Emig, 66, has served on the Osceola Commission on Aging Advisory Board for more than 26 years, helping oversee in-home care, transportation and nutrition services for hundreds of seniors in Osceola County. The former mayor of Reed City has served in leadership roles for several organizations at the local, regional and state levels, including a recent appointment by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Commission of Juvenile Justice. He has also served on the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan’s Board of Directors since 2006, helping oversee the agency and services to over 38,000 seniors in a nine-county region. 

Read more of this post

BCBSM applauds senior advocates with Claude Pepper Award

Pictured from left to right: Julius Martin, Claude Pepper Award winner; Robert A. Ficano, Wayne County Executive; Louis Kisic, Redford Senior Citizen Club President, Diana C. Jones Award winner; Diane Webb, Wayne County Commissioner for District 9; Nancy Bryk, accepting award for John J. Villa, Claude Pepper Award winner; and Ilona Varga, Wayne County Commissioner for District 5.

Age didn’t stop anyone at the Wayne County Senior Fun Fest on June 26.  It was remarkable to see hundreds of seniors from across metro-Detroit gather for an afternoon filled with music, dancing and even bingo!

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan honored two senior advocates and one organization for their commitment to seniors and outstanding volunteer service at the event. The individuals were honored with Claude Pepper Awards for their professional or volunteer efforts that have made significant contributions to improving the lives of Michigan seniors.

The award recipients received a $1,000 check to give to the nonprofit organizations of their choice.

The honorees are:

Julius Martin – Working-Advocate Category

Julius Martin of Flint is a certified nurse’s aide at Bortz Nursing Home, where he is considered one of the finest health care workers that serve the elderly. Martin puts forth an extra effort to be there for the residents by helping them make phone calls to their families, reading cards and letters to them, talking with them about life accomplishments, and driving them to special events such as family reunions. Ultimately, he improves the lives of older adults by respecting their culture and helping them stay connected to earlier life experiences and family memories.

John J. Villa – Retired Category

At 92 years young, John Villa of Beverly Hills has the zest of a teenager and refutes some of the stereotypes people tend to associate with seniors.  The Villa Wellness Center, named in his honor, benefits more than 350 elderly residents of Southwest Detroit each year.  Seniors are able to enjoy the center’s wellness activities including water aerobics, Zumba® dance, tai’chi, field trips, parties and health fairs.

Redford Senior Citizen Club honored for exemplary service in the community

The Redford Senior Citizen Club received this year’s Diana C. Jones Award for members’ exemplary service in the community and their advocacy efforts to keep seniors informed. Under the direction of president Louis Kisic, members of the Redford Senior Citizen Club live up to it’s mission of “believing that life is a great adventure, and to live it happily and usefully.” The club provides a positive place for seniors to come interact and be informed about important issues affecting their daily lives.

Senior citizen advocates and volunteers are not always properly recognized for their important contributions to the community. Do you know someone who is committed to improving the lives of the elderly?