2018 Claude Pepper Award Recipients

Patricia Watkins is the winner of the 2017 Claude Pepper Award

Barbara Frankenfield, Isabella County Commission on Aging

Barbara has worked to support seniors for more than 34 years. Along with managing her staff, she is an employee the entire company can depend on to step in whenever needed. She is one of the top volunteers among our employees and is often willing to give up her evenings and holidays to work so others can be home with their families. To say Barbara is resourceful is an understatement! She ensures her staff has what they need to complete their work. Regardless of retirement on the horizon, Barbara has already offered to volunteer after her departure. She has shown great leadership ability as a mentor to the Commission's interns and college students interested in caring for the elders in their future careers as social workers.

The impact that Barbara's work has on the lives of older adults and their families is immeasurable. Barb's caring heart is displayed every day from personally taking them to nursing home visits, helping to complete Medicare insurance forms to sitting with hospitalized individuals until immediate family arrives. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of our senior community.

Pam Burns is the winner of the 2016 Claude Pepper Award

Lois Carey, Area Agency on Aging Volunteer

Lois has been an active volunteer for many years supporting several organizations including Hospice of Michigan, Dementia Friendly Grand Rapids, Advocates for Senior Issues, Dementia Support Group Leader, Caregiver Resource Network, and her local church.

Over the years Lois' caring nature has touched the lives of thousands of people. With Hospice of MI, Lois established "The Flower Ladies." For the past 16 years, the group creates floral arrangements for hospice patients with donated flowers and vases. To date, they have distributed more than 29,000 bouquets. Lois gives hospice patients the rare opportunity to record their personal stories through confidential interviews that will be shared with their closet loved ones. Lois doesn't stop at the local level. Her work has helped affect change on the legislative level as well.

Education, awareness and understanding are important to Lois and she continues to actively participate in the Caregiver Resource Network, Family Caregiver University and the Diversity Academy. Lois is inspiring and a joy to be around. Her work will impact generations to come.