2017 Claude Pepper Award Recipients

Patricia Watkins is the winner of the 2017 Claude Pepper Award

Patricia Watkins

Patricia Watkins has been a senior volunteer since 2014. She volunteers for the home services program at Community Social Services. She offers companionship to the consumers and respite to the caregivers of older adults with special needs. Ms. Watkins also volunteers for Wayne State Institute of Gerontology’s food and clothing shelters. She's selfless, maintains a positive attitude and always looks for ways to make other’s lives easier. Her warms hugs and beautiful smile bring joy to all that she comes in contact with. She has a willingness to do what it takes to make sure each consumer has the care and support needed in their lives. One of her consumers has fond memories of Ms. Watkins sitting in the hospital with her because her family was unable to. Ms. Watkins' hope is that all seniors will know they don’t have to be alone or mistreated. She also hopes that in her role of being a voice for seniors, she can bring awareness of the need for more volunteers like her.

Pam Burns is the winner of the 2016 Claude Pepper Award

Pam Burns

Pam Burns is a Nursing Facility Transition Coordinator with The Disability Network of Flint and she provides services that include, but are not limited to, outreach to nursing facilities to assess readiness for independent living and assisting with transition, securing all necessary items and helping with physical moves and follow-up care to ensure customers are adjusting well. Pam’s contribution to the quality of life for older adults and the disability community is immeasurable.

She's dedicated, compassionate and goes far beyond what’s required in an exemplary way. For example, our customer Jan was concerned about being involved in the community; Pam would personally pick up Jan for Expression Art Class at the FIA. This act of kindness changed Jan’s life in such a way that Jan taught the class toward the end of the three-month session. She has spent the last three years fighting for the independence of one customer and will continue to fight until his quality of life is restored to the level it was prior to his stroke. Pam’s absence in the lives of older adults would have a huge impact on Genesee County. She not only assists in assuring new customers can fully enjoy the life they desire free of barriers but she's continually invested in the success stories long after they have achieved independence.

Tracy Burrus is the winner of the 2016 Claude Pepper Award

Tracy Burrus

Tracy Burrus works tirelessly to assist seniors in the Metro-Detroit area. Every community needs a champion and Matrix has named Tracy as their champion for older adults. He works from two locations and continuously stays abreast of the changing nature of services and resources to seniors. His goal is to improve senior social mobility in the local area. As a result of Tracy’s efforts older adults have been able to stay in their homes longer instead of having to search out senior living facilities, seniors now have access to additional resources and have become more mobile by using our senior center.