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  2006 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Januari Smith
Phone: 1-217-558-1544, Cell: 1-217-725-8212

December 14, 2006

Department on Aging inducts four into Senior Hall of Fame and presents Governorís Unique Achievement Awards

Seniors honored for helping others, commitment to community

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson today inducted four people into the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame and presented several Governorís Unique Achievement Awards during a special ceremony at the Governorís Mansion in Springfield.

The Illinois Senior Hall of Fame was created in 1994 to honor the contributions of extraordinary Illinoisans age 65 and older. The Governorís Award for Unique Achievement recognizes groups, individuals and programs that make a positive impact on the lives of seniors in the state. This year theme, "Caregiving," honors those individuals who are caring for a loved one.

"These individuals and organizations have left a lasting mark on our state. They are a good example of the bright, vital people who make up the diverse population of older people in Illinois," Director Johnson said. "Older people have taught us how to live, how to work hard, serve the community and lead by example."

The 2006 inductees into the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame are:

  • Dr. Thomas M. Graber (Evanston, IL), the winner in the education category, is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and serves on the faculty of the University of Freiburg, Germany, the University of Michigan and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He founded the Northwestern University Cleft Lip and Palate Institute, the Orthodontic Section at the University of Chicago Medical School and the Audiovisual Council of the American Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Graber authored 28 books and gives lectures to university, medical and dental groups all over the globe.


  • Elaine Holt (Charleston, IL), the winner in the labor force category, was the director of Peace Meal Senior Nutrition for 27 years before retiring about two years ago. Today, she volunteers in the Peace Meal kitchen, preparing daily meals for 50 homebound seniors. Last year, Holt received the ďVolunteer of the YearĒ award from Prairie View Care Center of Charleston, Inc.


  • Charles A. Klyber (Springfield, IL), the winner in the performance/graphic arts category, was nominated by Congressman Ray LaHood. Klyber is an excellent athlete, winning three medals in the Illinois Senior Olympics in 2004 and 23 medals in 2005. He has won the Gold Medal in the 10K road race, 5000 meter, 1500 meter and 800 meter; the Silver Medal in the discus, javelin, football and shot put; and the Bronze Medal in the 500 meter, shot put, discus, basketball and softball. Klyber also distributes a free senior sports e-newsletter to keep seniors across the country abreast of all senior athletic events throughout the nation and created a National Fundraising Program for all senior athletes in the United States.


  • Anton "Tony" Borella (Virden, IL), the winner in the community service category, has spent the past several decades helping others. He was a Virden volunteer fireman and served on the Virden Township Board and the Virden Public Library Board for many years. Borella was instrumental in the construction of the Virden Area Community Center and establishing the senior meals program.

The winners of the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement are:

  • St. Johnís Lutheran Church (Lena, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging. The churchís adult day center, The Friendship Center, has helped nearly 100 families since it opened eight years ago.


  • Millie Kaiser (Murphysboro, IL) and Margie Kemp (Carterville, IL) were nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Egyptian Area Agency on Aging. These two ladies facilitate monthly support groups for a 13 county area in Southern Illinois.


  • Darlene Githen-Parks (Centralia, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Midland Area Agency on Aging. Githen-Parks, who is disabled with a vascular disease, has cared for her 10-year-old granddaughter since birth. She is an active member of the local Grandparents Raising Grandchildren group and readily assists other members by giving moral support and valuable information and advice.


  • Sylvia Poole (Fairview Heights, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois. Poole, who is the primary caregiver for her mother, is committed to improving the quality of life and care for nursing home residents. She recently participated in a long-term care ombudsman volunteer training with the intent to provide education and advocacy for individuals who reside in long term care and their caregivers. Henry Piper (Springfield, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland. Piper is raising his three great grandchildren, ages 14, 13 and 3.


  • Kathryn Johnson (Bloomington, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging. She is the Program Manager of Senior Outreach Services at the PATH Crisis Center in Bloomington and the Caregiver Advisor for DeWitt, Livingston and McLean Counties. Johnson, who cares for her 83-year-old mother, initiated the Caregiver Advisory Program, which is now considered a model for the entire state.


  • Larry Nolan (Kankakee, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging. He and his wife, Bea, developed a senior citizen housing facility in the community of Sun River Terrace in 1999. Nolan has also secured grants to build houses for 25 low-income families and provide home modifications for seniors in Kankakee County.


  • Mary Coonda (Riverside, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County. While Coonda was active in her volunteer and professional life, she was simultaneously serving as a caregiver for her aging parents in Minneapolis, as well as caring for her mother-in-law and father-in-law during their final years.


  • Velma Hout (Peoria Heights, IL) was nominated for the 2006 Governorís Award for Unique Achievement by the Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging. For the past 13 years, Hout has provided informal caregiving assistance to her friend, 90-year-old Lula Mae Gravvatt. Although Gravatt recently moved into a nursing home, Hout still attends therapy sessions and talks to the doctors and nurses about her condition and care.

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