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Coordinated Care is pleased to introduce its 2004 Prime Time Awards honorees.

These awards were created in 1995 to honor Western New York citizens who exemplify successful aging. The Prime Time Awards dinner honoring this year’s awardees will be held on Thursday, September 23, 2004 at the Statler Golden Ballroom from 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. For more information please call 858-2307.

The Dr. J. Warren Perry Health Professions Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated his or her life to the health profession in WNY and had provided outstanding service to the elderly, long-term care patients and clients.

Gary Brice, Ed.D. established the first Western New York Wellness Summit, which is now recognized by the AHA as a national “Best Practice.” He also created the first hospital-based wellness and disease prevention program for elderly in the region, as well as developed the first Alzheimer’s behavioral unit in New York State as part of a long-term care facility. Mr. Brice has received national recognition for developing training programs for caregivers in dealing with the elderly.

The Burt P. Flickinger Caregiver Award, while not necessarily given to a senior, is given to one individual who has made a difference in the life of a frail, elderly or disabled person.

Salvator Giambrone became a caregiver in the late 1990’s when his wife of 53 years, Rosalie, became ill and was eventually diagnosed with cancer.. He took her to doctors appointments, kept her motivated when she was down and never once complained. He was a rock for her and the rest of the family. She soon died and at 79 years old Salvator had to learn to live again, and he did so with grace, dignity and class that has been the hallmark of his life. Shortly after she died, Salvator’s daughter was diagnosed with MS. He has since been a primary caregiver for her as well. He takes her to appointments, cooks for her and her family, and makes sure they are all doing well, you see her husband is quadriplegic. The family relies heavily on Salvator for assistance with doctor’s appointments, fixing things around the house and so on. Salvator never stops trying, never stops caring and never wavers in his strength, courage, integrity and love for his family and friends.

Gordon R. Gross is a practicing attorney with Gross, Schuman, Brizdle & Gilfillan. He attributes his own commitment to community activities to his parents’ community involvement. Many organizations such as The Foundation for Deaf Education, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Kleinhan’s Music Hall and others have benefited from his philanthropic efforts.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards honor five individuals who exemplify successful aging through their commitment to family, community service, and/or dedication to social causes, the arts or business.

John Russo has donated blood 536 times for the American Red Cross. He has given over 67 gallons of blood to help save lives, that’s sitting in a chair every two weeks or 24 times a year, which is the maximum allowed.

However, John is not just a donor, he is also a volunteer for the organization that he is so committed. John helps donors by serving goodies to them after they have donated, providing good conversation and a great smile. John says, “We didn’t give blood because we would get medals or honors; we did it because we knew people were waiting for it, that they needed it to survive. That’s still the reason I donate now.”

During Rita Simmon’s life, she has taken care of her aging sister as well as her sisters elderly neighbor. She would cook, grocery shop and visit with the two. Despite the time-consuming task of being a caregiver, Rita has been active in projects all over Wyoming County. She is very active in the Castile Historical Society, the Portageville Fire Company and the Wyoming County Office for the Aging. When seeing someone in need, Rita is there with a solution. Rita became involved with a family whose young husband, with a wife and two children, took his own life About a year later the younger daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Recently Rita learned that the families health insurance premium was due, but since mom has been with her daughter and not working, there was not enough money to pay the bill. One member of the church suggested that the parish might be asked to make a $500 donation to help out. Rita believed they could do better than that. She asked her pastor about having a special collection at the weekend service to help this family. He not only thought it was a good idea, but asked his second parish to be generous as well. By the time Rita was finished, the two churches had raised $3,000 to help with the medical insurance and expenses—six times the original suggestion!”

Tom Kazmark wasted none of his early retirement on relaxing—he was too busy helping his neighbors. In addition to his work as a volunteer van driver, Tom is active in the Odd Fellows and has held several offices in that organization. He has been involved with raising funds for the “Happiness is Camping” program for kids with health conditions and the “John C. Sable Heart Fund” which sponsors research. Tom serves as Deacon at First Presbyterian Church helping with the bi-annual rummage sales, the over sixties club, and just about anything else that needs doing.

June Schillinger has “adopted” several aging people, especially those with no children, and took care of their need throughout their lives. She is also a dedicated advocate of the Niagara Lutheran Health System. She began her association with the Niagara Lutheran Home as a volunteer over thirty years ago and continues her relationship with them today.

June has taken many people under her comforting wing and shares her experiences and knowledge with an openness that is rare. Her attitude and demeanor are upbeat and happy. Her nominator writes, “I especially appreciate her honesty and integrity, and mostly, her Christian find someone who cares about others without considering what’s in it for themselves is rare–and June Schillinger is one of those rare people. I look forward to many more years of learning from and working with her. Her enthusiasm for life and caring for others is contagious.”.

J. Milton Zeckhauser’s dedication began when he volunteered for the U.S. Army immediately after Pearl Harbor, rising through the ranks from Private to Major. Mr. Zeckhauser’s gardening project is a year-round one. It involves environmental studies, testing the ground for chemicals and acid/base levels, as well as interviewing and instructing potential gardeners, planning and purchasing materials, raising funds, etc. This project may qualify both as a service to humanity as well as to the community because it not only helps feed the gardeners with healthful vegetables, but it rejuvenates once vacant land, overgrown, rundown lots. Milton has also presided over many social organizations such as The United Negro College Fund, The Buffalo Philharmonic, The United Jewish Fund, Jewish Family Services, The City of Buffalo and so many other organizations–there are just too many to name.