SIDNEY — John Laws, of Sidney, was named Shelby County’s 2017 Outstanding Senior Citizen during annual ceremonies in the American Legion hall here, Tuesday.
More than 200 people attended the luncheon, served by Holy Angels Catholic School students.
Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst proclaimed Tuesday Senior Citizen Day in Sidney.
“May is set aside as Older Americans Month. We celebrate the contributions and the lives of our Golden Buckeyes. Persons 65 and older represent more than 12 percent of Sidney’s population. Older adults are trailblazers,” Barhorst read from the proclamation. “We owe older citizens thanks and a heartfelt salute. I urge citizens to take time this month to recorginize senior citizens.”
Jessica Boess, of the Area Agency on Aging, PSA-2, told attendees that the agency is a resource for information and assistance in nine counties, including Shelby.
Last year’s Outstanding Senior Citizen, Ethyl Beam, presented the award to Laws, who had been nominated by Farrel Kaplan.
Shelby County Commissioner Bob Guillozet told the crowd that Laws, a lifetime resident of Sidney, learned to fly at age 14 and joined the Naval Air Force as a navigator. He is a veteran of the Korean War and sang with the Sidney American Legion Singing Soldiers for 35 years. Laws is a lifetime member of the American Legion, the VFW, AMVETS and the Disabled American Veterans. He serves as a Legion honor guard and has been a member of the Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County Board of Trustees and of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
A retired assistant postmaster of the Sidney Post Office, he was elected a Shelby County commissioner and was recognized as a Cincinnati Red’s Hero Veteran of the Day. Laws is married to Edna Mae Laws and they are the parents of two sons, John and Jim.
In characteristic fashion, Laws deflected attention from himself to the Senior Center.
“I think more than anything, it’s the community,” he told the Sidney Daily News. “The Senior Center is the place. We need to publicize it more. If we praise anyone, it (should be) Eileen (Wiseman, the center’s director,) and her staff. It’s a fun place to go. I thank everyone for this honor.”
Shelby County Commissioners Guillozet, Tony Bornhorst and Julie Ehemann recognized the other nominees: Cindy DeLuke, nominated by Eileen Myers; Janet Fischback, nominated by the Senior Center; Jodi and Ray Prater, nominated by Shelia Nuss; and Jerry Swaim, nominated by Rachel Hale.
The 2017 Community Service Award went to the Officer Mike McRill and the Sidney Police Department. It was presented by event chairwoman Nuss to Capt. William Shoemaker, who accepted on behalf of McRill.
“We would like to honor the Sidney Police Department and Officer McRill for their dedication to our very serious drug problem that is haunting our community,” Nuss said. She quoted Police Chief Will Balling who nominated McRill for the Distinguished Law Enforcement Community Service Award presented by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in 2015: “(McRill) truly cherishes and has an intense compassion for the Sidney community and he brings honor to our profression. The community loves him and he loves what he is doing.”
This year’s Senior Day theme was “Age Out Loud.” The Rev. Alan Leach, of Connection Point Church of God, gave the invocation. The meal was prepared by the American Legion, and Adam Jacomet and Debbie Meek, of Piqua, performing music and comedy, had attendees waving colored napkins in the air before door prizes were awarded.
Nuss’s event committee comprised Robin Burleson, Adrienne Fortkamp, Linsey Johnson, Marianne Helmlinger, Molly Helmlinger, Stefanie Hale, Betty Hughes, Hallie Hurley, Jenny Huelskamp, Rachel Hale, Darla Wilges and Wiseman.