Thirteen honorees, including a Union County man, were recognized for their accomplishments and volunteerism at the 44th Annual Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Recognition Ceremony.
Donald Werling, nominated Union County Senior Services, was honored during the recognition ceremony Wednesday at the Martin Janis Center in Columbus.
The Hall of Fame honors Central Ohio older adults who share their dedication, talent and vitality in ways that significantly improve their communities and the lives of others. The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging hosts the event each May during Older Americans Month, which celebrates the contributions of senior citizens.
Werling is deeply committed to serving Union County older adults by offering his ingenuity in home modification.
He builds and installs hand railings, grab bars or gates, step modifications, porches, and ramps. These additions help senior citizens live safely and remain in their homes longer. He has such a strong reputation of assisting others, that often through word of mouth, those in need eventually find him.
After receiving a request, Werling visits the home to see what is required to increase the senior’s safety. He assesses the interior and exterior of the home and requests the needed permits and submits drawings to the proper townships, city, and county officials as required.
He obtains the material quotes and submits them as required. Once approved, he purchases and delivers the materials and tools to the work site.
Werling recruits volunteers for the larger projects, but often completes the smaller projects on his own. If an individual is unable to pay for a project, he will work to find a way to help them.
When the projects are completed, he follows up with the owners to be sure their needs were met and if the modifications to the home are satisfactory.
He also works in conjunction with the local United Way organization and volunteers for its yearly Community Care Day.
Keeping with the mission to help senior citizens with home modifications, he created the Loving in Actions and in Truth volunteer group, a branch of the member mission outreach of St. John’s Lutheran Church. He leads this group of volunteers, who come from many different organizations and churches, to help individuals in need.
In 2018 the group completed 64 projects throughout Union County.
The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) plans, funds, and delivers services that help older adults and individuals with disabilities remain safe and independent in their homes. With the assistance of area providers, COAAA arranges and coordinates services to help individuals with daily living such as homemaking, transportation, home delivered meals, and personal care.
COAAA offers education and resources to caregivers, professionals, and the public and advocates for programs and policies that benefit older adults and individuals with disabilities.
COAAA manages services for 10,000 people and funds services for another 20,000 older adults in eight counties: Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, and Union. It is operated under the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. For more information, those interested may visit www.coaaa.org.
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