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Ohio Department of Aging inducts 12 into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Bookmark

Ohio Department of Aging inducts 12 into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

Columbus, Ohio – Membership in the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame grew to 474 today with the induction of 12 outstanding older Ohioans at a special ceremony in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium in Columbus. The honorees hail from communities all around the state and have diverse interests that have positioned them as leaders and key contributors within their communities.

“Our elders play vital roles in their professions, their vocations and their communities throughout their lives,” said Beverley Laubert, interim director of the department. “We believe in celebrating the relevance of our elders every day. When provided with opportunities to continue to grow, thrive and contribute, older adults make our state and everyone living here stronger.”

The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame was established in 1977 to honor Ohioans age 60 and older for achievements and contributions to others, the roles they play in their communities, state and nation, and for what they do to promote productive and enjoyable lives. Their stories are compelling and represent lifetimes of dedication, ingenuity, perseverance, kindness and compassion. This year’s inductees range in age from 63 to 97.

The honorees were officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during a special ceremony held at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. Staff from the Department of Aging and Ohio’s area agencies on aging joined state legislators in recognizing the inductees and thanking them for their contributions.

2018 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Inductees

Richard P. and Frances H. Anderson, Maumee – For more than 70 years, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have demonstrated exemplary spirit and commitment to civic engagement in the Toledo community. In addition to supporting the economy with a multibillion-dollar company headquartered in Northwest Ohio, they also volunteer and advocate for many local organizations and projects.

Speaker William G. Batchelder III, Medina – Speaker Batchelder was a key player in some of the most significant events in Ohio’s legislative history. He was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1968 and served that body for 38 years, making him the second longest-serving member of the state legislature. He served as Speaker of the House from 2011 – 2014.

Sister Sally Duffy, SC, Cincinnati – Sister Sally has devoted her life to sacrifice, love, faithfulness and justice with a mission to improve the world around her. Calling on her expertise in education, political science, pastoral and crisis counseling, and health care administration, she works with community leaders and organizations to create safer and healthier neighborhoods in southwest Ohio.

Ronald Dwinnells, MD, Poland – Dr. Dwinnells has dedicated his life and career to improving the health and wellness of his community. His 32-year medical practice and leadership of ONE Health Ohio transformed care delivery in northeast Ohio. He has been awarded more than $50 million in federal grants and has brought more than $100 million into the local economy through health care services.

Dorothy J. Gackstetter, Graytown – Mrs. Gackstetter has been going for the gold all her life. She is an accomplished Senior Olympian, knowledgeable equestrian, clothing designer and community leader, among other pursuits. Along the way, she has encouraged young people to get involved, stay positive, be successful and succeed in life.

Mary L. McDonald, Mansfield – Mrs. McDonald is an advocate and a visionary leader who has changed the lives of many in her Mansfield community. In the 1970s, she helped establish the Friendship Center for local seniors, and served as its director for 20 years. Today, she leads “Yes We Can Seniors” which continues her community’s legacy of providing opportunities and resources for elders.

Gary G. Miller, CEM, Cincinnati – When others run from trouble, you’ll find Mr. Miller running toward it. For more than 40 years, this “Master of Disaster” has devoted his career and talents to helping people and communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters through his work with the American Red Cross as Senior Director for Major Disaster Operations.

Carolyn Nelson, Sunbury – Although retired from her physical education teaching job, Mrs. Nelson has not retired from teaching everyone who has the pleasure to know her. She went beyond the curriculum as a teacher, took notice of students who faced physical, mental or social challenges and took them under her wing. She promoted physical activity and good health for a lifetime.

John A. Ruthven, Cincinnati – Mr. Ruthven is a naturalist, author, lecturer and wildlife artist who is often called the "20th Century John James Audubon." He made a name for himself by expressing the wonders of nature and wildlife with infinite detail. His artwork has helped support many conservation efforts and other causes in Georgetown, Ohio.

Gail J. Rymer, PhD, Little Hocking – Dr. Rymer believes that all human beings deserve to live with dignity and respect, and have opportunities to remain engaged with the world around them. She has been a vocal advocate against elder abuse in her southeast Ohio community through her private practice and community involvement. She helped start the Southeast Ohio Elder Abuse Commission.

Bertalan Szabo, Munroe Falls – Mr. Szabo is a nationally recognized naturalist. He has spent more than six decades introducing people of all ages in his northeast Ohio community to the wonders of the natural world around them, as well as the benefits of regular physical activity. He was an outspoken advocate for the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, now called Summit Metro Parks.

Access detailed bios and photographs of these inductees at www.aging.ohio.gov/halloffame.

About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.

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