May 2020 - Older Americans Month

Make Your Mark Spotlight Articles:

Older Americans Month 2020: Make Your Mark

Around the nation, older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors, and advocates. They offer their time, talents, and experience to the benefit of our communities.
For 57 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been a special time to recognize these contributions..
This year’s OAM theme, Make Your Mark, highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities—everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action. In the spirit of this theme, here are a few ways to make your mark this May and all year long:
  • Volunteer your time. Local schools, shelters, food kitchens, and hospitals always need support. Help a neighbor by prepping a meal, picking up groceries, or giving them a ride. Or, take time to pass on your knowledge. Why not tutor a student who could use extra help in math, music, or science?
  • Share your story. There are so many ways to do this, from showing your grandkids around your old neighborhood to writing a book. Take a class and learn how to express yourself with the arts! Or, assemble a photo album of important moments in your life.
  • Get involved in your neighborhood. Join a homeowner or resident association, organize a block party, or sign up for a book club or other social group. Have a green thumb? Small projects like planting flowers in your yard or cleaning up the community park have a big impact.
Communities that support and include all their members are stronger! Please join Pennyrile Aging and Independent Living as we celebrate Older Americans Month in our communities!
This year’s OAM theme, Make Your Mark, highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities—everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action.

Make Your Mark: Eldridge Rogers

May 28, 2020
Eldridge Rogers is a native of Christian County.  He is a 1958 graduate of Lacy High School.   Eldridge grew up in a farm in Northern Christian County and has made a lasting impression across the Pennyrile region.  He has been involved in student education and student athletics for over 50 years.  Eldridge was instrumental in the building of the Ruff Park tennis courts and youth baseball facility in Christian County.  Eldridge has been known for his love of athletics and organized the Senior Babe Ruth in Hopkinsville/Christian County.  Eldridge was an athletic official who trained, supervised and assigned officials for various sports for the regional local leagues and high schools for over 30 years.  Eldridge was also a member of the original charter committee that brought the YMCA to Hopkinsville.  While working at Hopkinsville Community College, Eldridge personally sponsored student government, Circle K and the Baptist Student Union (BSU).  Eldridge has received many honors such as the Ky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Christian County High School First Athletic Hall of Fame, Ky Academic Association Hall of Fame, Ky Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, University of Ky Great Teacher Award, Recognized by Ky New Era as the Top Ten Athletic Names in Hopkinsville/Christian County, Recognized by the University of Ky Community  College System as sponsoring the top student activities program.  Eldridge supervised the Hopkinsville/Christian County Senior Games for over 20 years.   Eldridge has dedicated his life to serving individuals of the Southern Pennyrile region.  It would be hard to find anyone in the southern Pennyrile who has “Made a Mark” on as many lives as Eldridge Rogers.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Sue Rose

May 27, 2020
Sue Rose, age 76, is a volunteer at the Todd County senior center.  She assists with coordinating special events, fundraisers and now with the COVID-19 crisis, she helps to package the meals for home delivery and curb side pickup.
Sue is a member of the Todd County Women’s Club, Sharon Grove Church of Christ and a member of the Todd County Public Library Friends Board.  Sue serves on the Todd County Senior Center Advisory Council and is on the Pennyrile Advisory Council on Aging with Pennyrile Area Development District.
Thank you, Sue, for donating so much of your time back to the community and to the seniors in Todd County!

Make Your Mark Spotlight: George Radford

May 26, 2020
George Radford is a native of Trigg County. Born in Cerulean, Ky he is a 1967 graduate of Trigg County High School and Murray State University. He is a retired educator and coach from the Trigg County School System.
George spent 31 years in education and is still involved with Genesis Express after school tutoring program. He is involved in many community organizations’ that he feels are important to keep Cadiz and Trigg County the best place on earth to live. He currently serves as president of Cadiz/Trigg County Crime stoppers, member of the Trigg County hospital board of directors, Board of Kentucky Agency on Substance Abuse Policy along with being an active Deacon at Cave Springs Baptist Church.
George has dedicated his life to the service of the youth, elderly and needy of Trigg County.
George and his wife Agnes spend most of their free time visiting and supporting their Grand and Great Grandchildren. This is the joy of their lives
George Radford has truly “Made his Mark” in Cadiz and Trigg County.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Claudena Towery Travis

May 22, 2020
Claudena Towery Travis was born on July 8, 1934 In Caldwell County, Kentucky. Her family moved to Crittenden County in 1949. She attended school at Shady Grove from 1950-1951 when the schools consolidated and she went on to graduate from Crittenden County High School in 1953.
Claudena worked at the Hosiery Mill for a couple of years and married J. C. Travis in 1957. She began working at Moore Business Forms where she worked until her retirement in 1984.
Claudena’s husband was passed away in 1995 after a cancer diagnosis. She continues to live in Crittenden County and thoroughly enjoys participating in the meals and activities at the local senior center. The senior center is a wonderful place and an important part her life. It is a place to meet new friends, play games, socialize and enjoy meals with others.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Wilda Harrison

May 20, 2020
Wilda Harrison, Age 64 of Todd County is a busy lady. After 28 ½ years of service as an Occupational Therapy Assistant she retired from Western State Hospital.  Not wanting to just sit around, she applied to the Todd County Board of Education to be a substitute teacher and has been busier than ever.  Wilda set the bar high for herself by recently earning her Bachelor’s Degree from Murray State University.  May 9, 2020 would have been her day to walk the stage to graduate!
Wilda also teaches Art Canvas Classes and comes to the Todd County Senior Center every summer to teach classes to the senior center participants.
Wilda can also be found at Camp Martin every summer teaching 2nd-5th grades. Wilda is active with Claymour Camp which is held each July for the past 117 years. Wilda is the first woman in its history to serve on the board. She organizes the setup, cleanup each night of the revival, organizes the outreach and advertising for the event, and is in charge of recruiting the musical talent.
Wilda and her husband Danny have been married 49 years. They have two children and seven grandchildren.
Thank you Wilda for all you do in your community!

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Paul Baber

May 18, 2020
Mr. Paul Baber is a 91-year-old veteran that currently resides at the Joseph “Eddie” Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, Ky.  From 1950-1952, Mr. Baber served in the Army decoding secret messages. Afterwards, Mr. Baber worked as an insurance adjuster and transferred offices from Lexington to Madisonville, Kentucky in 1953. Mr. Baber met his wife, Pat, in Madisonville and they have been happily married since 1955. Mr. Baber has two children, Laura and David. Mr. Baber said he had the chance to move, but stayed because he believes Madisonville “is a nice town to live in, and raise your family in.” Mr. Baber states he has not been disappointed.
            Since, making Madisonville his home, Mr. Paul Baber has been very active in service to his community through involvement in church, music, local clubs, politics, the college, and the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts.  Mr. Baber was an active member of the Kiwanis Club and the Rotary. He served on several committees and was influential in starting the Community Theater that focuses on local talent. He remembers the first show, “The Music Man” fondly. Mr. Baber also shared memories of singing in a Barbershop Quartet and with the Methodist choir at his church. He smiled saying, “I attended church the first Sunday and was singing in the choir the second Sunday.” Mr. Baber was involved in organizing the Messiah Choir as well. He said “Madisonville has always had good music, and good people to be the directors”.  He stated he was happy to be involved because it is beautiful music. Mr. Baber often worked behind the scenes as a mentor, supporter, and encourager of community talent, and community action.  Mr. Baber expressed that his involvement in the community and with music has brought him so much joy.
            Mr. Baber is described as having good judgment, recognizing people who can make a change in the community and helping them find a path to their success through his support and mentorship. Mr. Baber encouraged the first woman mayor in Madisonville to run for office. As Mr. Baber recalled that event, he stated he is “all for women being in office.”  Mr. Baber values his right to vote and continues to go to the polls each election day.  Mr. Baber has found fulfillment throughout his life by helping and serving others in the community. He would often grow a garden just to be able to give the vegetables away. Mr. Paul Baber continues to make his mark on the community and our community at the Western Kentucky Veterans Center.  He remains an active supporter and attendee of the Glema Mahr Center; as well as the many programs he was a part of over the years.  In 2017, Mr. Baber was the Grand Marshall of the 53rd Annual Madisonville Veterans Day Parade. When asked what his one piece of advice for others would be, Mr. Baber said “Be kind, that’s all.”

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Dudley Riley

May 15, 2020
Mr. Dudley Riley is a 97-year-old former Prisoner of War and World War II Veteran. He was born in Van Hoosier Holler, four miles from the town of Dawson Springs, KY.  Mr. Riley was the youngest of nine children and grew up on a farm in rural western Kentucky.  At age 18, Mr. Riley enlisted in the Army and served during World War II from 1940-1945.  While stationed in North Africa, Mr. Riley and his unit were captured.  They were transferred to a German prison camp near Berlin, where he was held for two years and four months before being released. Mr. Riley was forced to walk for six days in the snow as a POW, which led to him getting frostbite on his feet. In August of 2018, Mr. Riley received a Purple Heart medal for his injuries received more than 70 years ago.  
            Mr. Riley’s family states that “once he hung up his uniform, he continued to help the community.”  Mr. Riley has been a member of the VFW since his return from the service in 1945.  He was a charter member of the Dawson Springs post.  He served on the Board of Directors for the local Red Cross.  He was a member of the Dawson Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Dawson Springs Rotary Club.  Mr. Riley has stated that he was always willing to volunteer to help with any projects that would better the town.  He helped obtain grants to make the town more attractive and was part of the rebuilding of the Tradewater Baseball Park.
            Mr. Riley attended many conventions over the years in his work with the American EX-POW’s organization; of which he served for a period of time as the National Director.  He helped to form the Western Kentucky Chapter and was the State Commander of the EX-POW’s organization as well.  In 2001, Mr. Riley was awarded the honor of “Dawson Springs’ ‘Citizen of the Year’.”  In 2004, he attended the National World War II Reunion in Washington D.C..  Mr. Riley also had a bridge that runs over the Tradewater River in Dawson Springs named after him, “The Dudley Riley Bridge.”  Mr. Riley published a book in 2005 entitled, “Farm Boy, Soldier, Daddy. The Journey that led him to where he is today.”   In 2016, Mr. Riley was proud to participate in the Honor Flight.  In 2019, Mr. Riley was inducted into the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame. Mr. Riley now resides at the Joseph “Eddie” Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, Kentucky where he is an active member of the Resident Council.  Mr. Riley still enjoys attending community events and speaking to groups of children about his life experiences at local schools.
            When asked what his one piece of advice for others would be, Mr. Riley said “Be honest.”

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Doris Phillips

May 13, 2020
Doris Phillips, age 78 of Greenville, Kentucky was born in Hart County, near Mammoth Cave. She graduated from Munfordville High School and went on to graduate from Western Kentucky University in 1964. Doris married Dr. William Scott Phillips (from Muhlenberg County) who was a Presbyterian Minister. They have one son and one daughter, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. Doris became widowed in 1994.
Doris has dedicated her life to helping others. Early in her career she taught school in Logan, Jefferson and Muhlenberg Counties. She also taught school near Memphis, Tennessee.  Her career eventually took her to Princeton, Indiana where she worked as a case worker in various programs including Adult Welfare.
Doris continues to work today as Social Service Case Manager for the Homecare and Older Americans Act programs through Pennyrile Area Development District. She has worked in the capacity of Case Manager with these programs for 30 years. Doris truly loves her job and working with older adults. She says she has a special bond with her clients and their wellbeing and care are of the most concern to her.
Doris has devoted her life to helping others from the young first grander to the 100-year-old adult. Doris says in her younger years she patched knees and listed to the joys and growing pains of her students and in her later years she has worked with older adults, showing them compassion and care. When asked what is the main thing you want people to know about you, she stated she wants to show people love and that she is someone who really cares for them and wants to know their life story.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Frank McReynolds

May 11, 2020
Frank McReynolds, age 82 of Elkton, Kentucky: Some of you will know Frank McReynolds from seeing him out and about on his bicycle in town, but there is more to him than just peddling a bicycle.  He is also peddling the town for the residents as an elected member on the city council for six years.  He is a veteran who defended our country in the Army and Reserves and retired as a Master Sergeant after 37 years.  Thank you for your service, Frank!
Frank is a member of First Baptist Church in Elkton, an Honorary Kentucky Colonel, has supported the Todd County Senior Center since it began in the late 70’s and is on the Todd County Aging Council.  He can be found a lot of days at the senior center enjoying a meal.
Frank and his wife Brenda have two children, seven grandchildren, and a great grandchild on the way.  When he has the time, he loves to fish, watch UK basketball and garden.
Thank you, Frank, for all you do!

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Dianne King

May 8, 2020
Dianne King age 77 of Smithland, Kentucky has been married to her husband Sonny for almost 61 years. They have two children and two granddaughters.
Dianne married one day before her 17th birthday. Several years later, she started as a nontraditional student at Murray State University to pursue her teaching degree at age 34. She went on to teach for 30 years and participated in numerous community and service organizations. She was honored to be selected and served as an exchange teacher to Japan. This trip sparked her love of travel. Dianne has traveled to every continent in the world with the exception of Australia. She has countless photos documenting her adventures to such places as Machu Picchu, Galapagos Islands, Africa, Jerusalem, Asia and Antarctica. She is still hopeful to travel to Australia one day with her two granddaughters.
Dianne’s life centers on God, family and the love of nature. Her life’s work has been teaching and investing in children/others both personally and professionally. She has written three children’s books and one devotional book. She and her husband have served as foster parents over the years and even cared for other family members. Together they have taught children’s church and participated in the large-scale Easter production of “The Promise” at Trace Creek for 20 years.
Her hobbies include reading, Bible literacy, painting, photography and crafting. Dianne still actively teaches on line through Facebook live, hosting “Devotions with Dianne”.  Those who know her, describe her as having the “gift” of teaching, which has impacted many others.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Hazel Demery

May 6, 2020
Mrs. Hazel Demery is 97 years old and lives in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. 
Mrs. Hazel and her husband moved to Kentucky after WWII when her husband left the military and accepted a coal mining job in Madisonville. She worked at Madisonville Community College as a nurse for a few years and moved to Livingston County in 1951. Hazel and her husband built a house in 1952 where still resides today.
Hazel retired from industrial nursing after 58 years of service to her community. During her time as a nurse, she also served on the Pennyrile Area Development District Board of Directors for roughly 20 years. She stated the connection to Pennyrile Area Development District made a huge impact on her life and she is forever grateful for the friendships she made over the years.
 Mrs. Hazel says her life has been devoted to serving her community, church and family. The Livingston County High School has a scholarship named after her. She even has a tug boat named after her!  She has served on countless community boards, including Red Cross, Community Mental Health, she is a commissioned Kentucky Colonel and Kentucky Admiral.
Mrs. Hazel Demery has made her mark on her community by selflessly giving of her time and talents throughout her lifetime.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Sonny & Goldie Newcomb

May 4, 2020
Sonny and Goldie Newcomb, both age 80 of Todd County, Kentucky married July 11,1958 in Pembroke, Kentucky. Sonny was born and raised in Trenton, while Goldie is from Pembroke. They have lived in Todd County the majority of their life.
Sonny is a retired carpenter/contractor.  Diagnosed with polio at age three, the health challenges never held him back. He worked at Ft. Campbell, taught carpentry and was employed by Austin Peay State University. Sonny missed his high school graduation by a couple of months, and on his 79th birthday, Goldie surprised him with a graduation ceremony and high school diploma courtesy of the Todd County Board of Education.
Goldie is a retired LPN. She has a heart for others and loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen. Goldie loves cooking, sewing, working with flowers and reading her Bible. Goldie has taught sewing lessons for years, including church youth groups and 4-H programs. She also taught adult reading classes.
Sonny and Goldie have one daughter, two grandchildren and four great grandchildren. They are proud of their family.
Sonny and Goldie currently reside at Hearthstone Place Nursing Facility in Elkton, Kentucky. Staying together during their golden years has been so important to their well-being. Their family said it has saved their lives, especially during the quarantine due to COVID-19. They are together every day, spend time together, check on each other and have meals together.
Goldie continues to sew masks for the staff at Hearthstone Place and mends clothing for the residents. She and Sonny continue to minister to others by leading Bible Study and singing gospel music. Most of the time you can hear Sonny singing over everyone else! Above all, Sonny and Goldie love God and their family and continue to serve others daily.

Make Your Mark Spotlight: Kathy Carver

May 1, 2020
Mrs. Kathy Carver age 73 of Hopkinsville is a beautiful, classy, wonderful lady and full of joy! Kathy’s life story begins with, “I am the product of a miracle”.  Her father was severely wounded in World War II when he was blown out of a tank in France. Her father went on to recover and later connected with her mother through letters and written correspondence and eventually married. They connected through the war.
Kathy’s father went on to became a pastor and her mother was his right arm. Kathy states she was “born to be a follower of Christ” and that has never changed. Kathy met her future husband Bruce for the first time in fifth grade Sunday School class. They eventually reconnected years later during the Vietnam War through written correspondence. They married three weeks after he returned from Vietnam. Again, they connected through the war.
Kathy’s life has three main themes: Follower of Christ, Family and Teacher. Since 1969 she has devoted her life to mission work, teaching and raising their family of five adopted children. Kathy and her husband Bruce are now the proud grandparents of five grandchildren.
Kathy has taught thousands of students the Spanish language over the years. She has been interpreter on numerous mission trips and in her own community including schools, courts, medical offices, libraries and even car repair shops and real estate offices. She and her husband along with two of their granddaughters even moved to Costa Rica for an extended period to serve on the mission field full time.  When asked what is one thing you want others to know about you, with sparkling eyes and a smile, Kathy simply stated, “she served”.