Local seniors in running to receive national award for volunteering
Volunteers at four local nonprofit organizations are among 68 from across the state to be nominated for a national award.
The Salute to Senior Service program honors the contributions of adults 65 and older who give at least 15 hours a month of volunteer service to their favorite causes.
The four local nominees are: Dorothy “Dottie” White of Springdale, who volunteers at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Harmar; Bob McCandless of Oakmont, a volunteer at Riverview Community Action Center in Oakmont; Jeff Pope of Plum, who donates his time to the Plum Senior Community Center; and Sandy Ritchey of Etna, who volunteers at UPMC St. Margaret near Aspinwall.
The national award is sponsored by Home Instead, which provides in-home care services for seniors. It will be given to one of 50 finalists, the winner from each state.
The public can vote for their favorite Pennsylvania nominee online at SalutetoSeniorService.com.
Voting to select state winners begins on Monday and will continue until April 30.
A panel of senior-care experts will pick the national Salute to Senior Service honoree from the 50 finalists.
Home Instead, Inc. will donate $500 to each of the state winners' favorite nonprofit organizations. Their stories will be posted on the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame on the company's website.
In addition, $5,000 will be donated to the national winner's nonprofit charity of choice.
“The goal is to really say ‘thank you' to these seniors who are giving their time and not getting paid in return,” said Nick Paradise, community service representative for the Home Instead office in Oakmont. “Most of these folks have retired and they have earned that. But they choose to keep giving.”
When they talk about their outstanding volunteers, officials at local nonprofit agencies tend to use the same word: indispensable.
“He really is indispensable,” Elaine Pruitt, community outreach coordinator for Riverview Community Action Center, said of McCandless.
“He does so much around our center,” she said. “He does everything. He helps me in the food bank; he delivers Meals on Wheels every day; he sets up for bingos and cleans out the coffee pot. We've been saying we don't know what we would do without our Bob.
“He loves our center and we love having him there,” Pruitt said. “He is an absolute joy.”
Pope received similar praise from Nina Segelson, executive director of the Plum Senior Community Center.
Pope, a stroke survivor, leads a stroke support group, the Stroke Survivor Connection, which meets each week in the center. He is involved with American Legion Post 980 and the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Pittsburgh.
“He is very important to these people who have been struggling or are struggling with the after-effects of stroke,” Segelson said.
White has not let being born with cerebral palsy keep her from helping others.
In 1994, she began volunteering in HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Harmar. She has spent every Friday volunteering in the hospital since then.
“Dottie is a smiling, energetic, darling person — truly an angel on wheels — who loves everyone, and tells them so,” said HealthSouth's volunteer coordinator Nancy Fazio.
A retired nurse, Ritchey and her registered therapy dogs brighten patients' days when they visit UPMC St. Margaret.
“The volunteer time with these dogs is special because the dogs bring such joy to people,” said Iris Douglas, UPMC St. Margaret volunteer coordinator.
Ritchey also volunteers with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Gwen's Girls and the Lighthouse Food Bank in Butler.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kiski Valley-based ring charged with hundreds of thefts over 10 communities
- Highlands, Tarentum reach agreement on resource officer for Grandview Upper Elementary School
- No injuries in Kiski Area school bus accident
- 55th House candidates relying on relationships with voters, not media advertising
- Route 28 traffics stoppages planned Tuesday morning
- Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority fires contractor over delay
- Pittsburgh Mills mall stability questioned
- Apollo-Ridge to refinance more debt
- $200K grant to connect area’s hiking trails
- Harrison official faults inspection services
- Butler County Historical Society acquires 1928 Austin C Cab Van