Anna Mae Cuchna, of Niles, along with her twin sister, Betty Jean Bahmer, were among five recipients of the Valley Legacy Award for outstanding senior citizens.
Cuchna and Bahmer were nominated as a pair by the Trumbull Retired Teachers Association.
Twenty-six people were nominated for the ninth annual Valley Legacy Awards luncheon held Thursday at Avion on the Water in Canfield. More than 290 people attended the event to honor people who, according to Shepherd of the Valley, which sponsors the event, "were not just making a living, but for making a life."
The Niles Times / Bob Coupland
Twin sisters Betty Jean Bahmer and Anna Mae Cuchna were presented a Valley Legacy Award Outstanding Seniors at an awards banquet held Oct. 3 at Avion on the Water in Canfield. From left are Dennis Parks, president of the Shepherd of the Valley’s Board of Directors, Bahmer, Cuchna and Michele Hoffmeister, Valley Legacy Advisory Board co-chair. They were nominated as a pair by the Trumbull Retired Teachers Association.
Of those nominated, only six receive the Valley Legacy Award, including four awards for Outstanding Senior and two for Outstanding Advocates for Seniors. In addition to Cuchna and Bahmer, Niles Mayor Ralph Infante was nominated as an outstanding senior advocate. Winners in that category were Kay Lavelle of Austintown and David Mirkin of Liberty.
Twin sisters Cuchna and Bahmer volunteer at Niles Community Services where they work on the Toys for Tots program. Cuchna oversees all 15 Toys for Tots collection sites. In addition to Toys for Tots, the sisters work on other NCS programs including the back to school and Christmas food drives.
Both women are active in their churches, teach CCD and Sunday School classes and serve as Eucharistic ministers and on the bereavement committees.
As members of Trumbull Retired Teachers Association, Bahmer oversees the second Harvest Food Bank May Day of Service and other outreach programs including making lap robes for nursing homes, judging 4-H booths at the fair and bagging beans for Children's Rehab's jelly bean sale. Cuchna is a docent for the Sutliff Museum, coordinates library materials to go with fourth grade curriculum and served on the board of First Book of Trumbull County.
As members of the Youngstown Alumnae Panhellenic Association, both have held leadership positions leading to support of the Beatitude House, Someplace Safe and the Niles Schools Children's Fund. Both have received the Who's Who Among Teachers award.
Shepherd of the Valley launched the Valley Legacy Awards in 2005 to recognize the contribution, service, sacrifice and compassionate actions performed by or for senior citizens in the Mahoning Valley.
All nominees received flowers and a certificate of recognition for their contributions to the community.
In addition to Cuchna and Bahmer, other outstanding seniors awarded at the luncheon were Alma Apicella of Salem, Daniel Mathey of Warren and Marilyn Schmidt of Canfield.