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Arlington and Fort Worth Volunteers Honored for Their Service to Older Adults

Suzanne Gelineau of Fort Worth (right), and Elva Roy of Arlington (left) have received the Outstanding Older American Award and Outstanding Advocate for Older Americans Award, respectively, from United Way’s Area Agency on Aging.

The Outstanding Older American Award is given annually and honors an individual in Tarrant County who is at least 60 years old and who continues to lead a dignified, independent, and productive life and contribute to the community. The Outstanding Advocate for Older Americans Award honors an individual in Tarrant County of any age who exemplifies dedication to improving the quality of life for older adults in Tarrant County.

Outstanding Older American honoree Suzanne Gelineau is one of Meals On Wheels, Inc.’s most dedicated and diverse volunteers. Volunteer Services Vice President Nedra Cutler says there have been days when Suzanne has served meals and attended multiple Meals On Wheels committee meetings from early morning until late afternoon. “Three years ago she came in ready to help and became more involved than many volunteers,” said Nedra.

Suzanne began as a volunteer driver delivering meals to homebound residents. She lives in west Fort Worth but delivers meals in east Fort Worth where there is the greatest need for volunteers. Whereas volunteers usually deliver meals once a week, Suzanne delivers them several days a week. She also serves on the Meals On Wheels Southeast Volunteer Advisory Council, assisting with volunteer recruitment, advocacy, and staffing a Meals On Wheels booth at community events.

Suzanne is a member of the Client Services Committee, which identifies additional needs of meal clients and connects them with other services so they can stay safely in their own homes longer. Suzanne also helps with the annual Meals On Wheels Golf Classic fundraiser, which makes possible 13,900 meals and is chaired by her husband, Charlie. She has assumed many Golf Classic responsibilities, including recruiting and training other volunteers to staff the challenge holes during the tournament.

Elva Roy, honored as the Outstanding Advocate for Older Americans, is herself an older adult who is focused on community action and enhancing the lives of older adults. In 2010 she created a group called Women over Fifty for Friendship. Later, when she learned about the Arlington Aging Texas Well assessment led by a United Way committee to study how “aging friendly” Arlington is, she enthusiastically said yes to joining the committee. She also participates on the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council.

Last year Elva created a grassroots advocacy group called Age-Friendly Arlington. The group has more than 165 members. Under Elva’s leadership, the group is identifying areas where it can assist the City of Arlington to reach its “aging friendly” potential, and advocating for all older residents in the city. Members are working to identify needs in the areas of community and civic participation, housing, transportation and public spaces, and health and social services. “Elva is active, concerned, and not afraid to speak out,” said Dr. Pat Gleason-Wynn, LCSW, RN, Chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. “Where she determines a need, she acts.”