Four Community Volunteers from Columbia and Greene Counties Honored for Outstanding Service | Local Ads


ALBANY – Four outstanding community volunteers from Columbia and Greene counties were recently honored by the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) for their exceptional service to seniors and other community members.

Barbara Caldara of Earlton, Pat Collins of Chatham, Duncan MacPherson of Freehold and Shirley McThenia of Stockport were all nominated by their county regional offices on aging to be recognized at the annual celebration of Older New Yorkers’ Day. the NYSOFA.

The virtual celebration kicked off Nov. 5 on social media, with a video presentation featuring around 90 award winners from across the state, as well as remarks from state officials.

When COVID-19 landed in her community, Caldara pledged to volunteer in any way she could. She is no stranger to public health work, having had a long career as a registered nurse and later as a nurse practitioner. She also served in Vietnam, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army Nursing Corps. Deeply involved in her community’s COVID-19 response effort, Caldara created a volunteer spreadsheet, helped weekly test sites, and began tracing contacts in Greene County. She has spent days working with full personal protective equipment (PPE) on the front lines to help public health workers. She has also recently assisted with vaccine administration in several roles.

Since 1997, Collins has been a regular volunteer with the Columbia County office for the Seniors’ Meal-in-Home Program, delivering meals to the surrounding Chatham area. Drawing on her own experience as a cancer survivor, Collins listens and offers words of encouragement to cancer patients through her volunteer work with the American Cancer Society. She also helped patients get to their medical and treatment appointments. When the Columbia County Department of Health called for volunteers to support COVID-19 vaccination sites, Collins again stepped up and assisted the operation for up to three days a week.

MacPherson’s caring nature was exemplified by his continued help to a widowed neighbor in need. Her husband died of cancer and MacPherson helped her with her daily chores, including housekeeping when she had health issues. He continues to volunteer his time as a community volunteer while continuing to be a caregiver. He puts others before him and has always encouraged his children to generously serve their community.

McThenia has made great contributions to the older residents and youth of Columbia County. In her 30 plus years of volunteering, she has always taken the lead in organizing and helping where the need exists. McThenia has been an active member of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Auxiliary since 1989, having served in all positions, including a six-year term as president. She currently oversees the hospital’s patients and registrations office and schedules the volunteers who run it. His proudest achievement is to raise up to $ 35,000 per year through the Lobby Sales event, where vendors set up displays about once every two months to sell merchandise, such as jewelry. and wallets. She also helps with “The Second Show,” a thrift store operated by the Hospital Auxiliary, is an active member of the Stockport Fire Department and a major fundraiser for the Stockport Youth Program. McThenia has also volunteered for several years at St. Luke’s Church suppers and currently helps with the Office for the Aging congregational meal site in Valatie.

Kevin McDonald, administrator of the Columbia County Office for the Aging, said, “Volunteers like Shirley McThenia and Pat Collins are the reasons Columbia County is such a great place to live. Their civic action has made an incredible difference, especially during the pandemic. In recent months, we have seen an increase in demand for services. Whether it’s home-delivered meals, transportation, or direct operational assistance to our county-run immunization sites, people like Shirley McThenia and Pat Collins have been instrumental in our agency’s work in the world. public service. We are proud to join the New York State Office for the Aging in recognizing his work. “

Therese McGee Ward, Executive Director of the Greene County Department of Social Services, said: “Barbara Caldara and Duncan MacPherson are exceptionally dedicated to their neighbors and their community. We are grateful to Barbara Caldara for her service to our country – in the Army Nursing Corps in Vietnam – and, today, her service in Greene County to fight COVID-19 through her direct support. at testing and vaccination sites. She spent long days applying her expertise to this complex public health task when her community needed her most. Duncan MacPherson provides vital assistance to his community through many organizations, as a Pantry Volunteer and Driver for our County Home Delivery Meal Program. He has also contributed to our community on a personal level – by helping a neighbor with daily routines. I could not be more proud of these two exceptional people and I am honored to celebrate them on Older New Yorkers Day.

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