The sixth annual Valley Legacy Awards were presented Oct. 14 at Mr. Anthony's Banquet Center with five individuals selected from 25 nominees.
The annual event honors civic-minded seniors and senior advocates for their contributions to the Mahoning Valley.
The award recipients for Outstanding Senior are Elizabeth Cole Clark of Warren, Jean M. Schlecht of Warren and Charles H. ''Chuck'' Whitman of Canfield. Outstanding Advocate for Seniors are William Adams of Youngstown and Martha Whelan Murphy of Youngstown.
Also this year, the first Cliff Johnson Valley Legacy Memorial Award for Timeless Service to the Community was presented honoring the memory of Bruce Gordon.
George Hays, Valley Legacy committee co-chair, said while the Valley Legacy Awards are designed to honor living members of the community, this year with the loss of committee member and Valley Legacy Outstanding senior recipient Cliff Johnson, it was decided to honor Johnson's memory by creating the award in his name.
Lillie Johnson, a recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award in 2008, said Cliff Johnson was ''the most positive person I have ever known.''
''He was interested in everything. He saw the good in everyone and tried to bring out the best in all he met," she said. "Cliff was totally committed to everything he did and always focused on how it could be accomplished,'' she said.
Johnson thanked the Valley Legacy Committee for recognizing the scope of her husband's involvement and dedication with the creation of the award.
The Valley Legacy awards recognizes contributions, service and compassionate actions performed by or for the senior citizens of the Mahoning Valley. Nominations were received from across the Valley with men and women having a multitude of interests, occupations, and talents with educators, community volunteers, veterans, police officers, Rotarians and business people nominated.
Outstanding Senior nominees included Betty Brindiar (Canfield), Wilford "Willie" Culler (Lisbon), Jack Gibson (Warren), Carolyn Hughes (McDonald), Carolyn Mays (Youngstown), Charles Myers (Youngstown), Geraldine Peterson (Girard), Dorothy Roberts (East Liverpool), Ileene Shaffer-Rozich (Girard), Madeline Shanks (Poland), Ralph "Jim" Snelson, DDS (Warren), Lewis Speece (Canfield) and S. Paul Wright (Girard).
Outstanding Senior Advocates nominees included Nicole Agani (Warren), Raella Baker (Brookfield), Karen Buchmann (Salem), Michelle George (Negley), Guardian Angels of Ohio, Dean McClaine (Youngstown) and Charity Ricciardi (Austintown).
Outstanding Senior Award recipients are:
After retiring from teaching, Clark turned her attention to her hometown of Warren, becoming involved in improving the downtown area and helping to establish the Trumbull Town Hall. Through the Upton Association she helps educate the community on Warren's role in the Suffragatte Movement.
Clark started a docent training program for the Henry Bishop Perkins Mansion, which houses Warren's City Hall and during the Christmas holidays schedules events such as the Victorian Walk and storytime with Mrs. Claus.
She is most known for her contributions to bring two programs to Trumbull County - Trumbull Mobile Meals and in conjunction with the Visiting Nurse Association launched Hospice of Trumbull County.
Schlecht helped launch in 1970 as a meals-on-wheels project for the Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance, Trumbull Mobile Meals brings food and cheer to residents confined to home. She has served in many capacities at Mobile Meals including currently as chair of the annual basket extravaganza.
Schlecht was also on the original planning committee to bring hospice services to Trumbull County and was in the first class of volunteer trainees for direct patient care.
As a teacher, Whitman worked with marginal students motivating them to graduate. As the director of career services for Youngstown State University, he computerized the career services offices, creating a comprehensive, multifaceted office. Whitman helped students hone their job seeking skills and pioneered the practice of videotaping students during mock interviews as an educational tool and established a Career Service Graduate Scholarship.
He is a member of the Juvenile Court Advisory Board, where he has been instrumental in building community liaisons between the court and area services.
Outstanding Senior Advocates for Seniors recipients are:
Cliff Johnson Valley Legacy Memorial Award for Timeless Service to the Community