Legend Awards are presented to 6 Essex County senior citizens

Photo Courtesy of Essex County
At the annual Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration on Wednesday, May 9, are, from left, Lillian Hipps of Newark, Essex County Seniors Services Director Jaklyn DeVore, Gwendolyn McGill of Newark, Vashti Trent White of East Orange, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and William Clyde Schneider of Cedar Grove.

CEDAR GROVE, NJ — The Essex County Division of Senior Services hosted the annual Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration on Wednesday, May 9, in Cedar Grove. May is recognized as National Older Americans Month.

During the ceremony, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. presented Essex County Legends Awards to the following senior citizens:

  • East Orange resident Dollie June Crawford-Glass, 102, is a member of the Sand Hill Cherokee-Lenape Indian tribes, and can trace her family roots to the Civil War, where her uncles were scouts;
  • Montclair resident Hazel Hassen Bey, 93, has competed in every Women’s National Bowling Tournament for more than three decades and every National Senior Games since 1987, despite having chronic rheumatoid arthritis and being involved in a car accident;
  • Newark resident Lillian Hipps is a retired nurse and teacher; is an ordained pastor, teacher and prophetess with Revival Center Church in Carteret; and former president of the Branch Brook Manor Tenants’ Association;
  • Newark resident Gwendolyn McGill has been a phenomenal volunteer for the Bethany Senior Center for eight years;
  • Cedar Grove resident William Clyde Schneider is a retired police chief in Cedar Grove; and
  • East Orange resident Vashti Trent White,101, was the first black person to serve as manager of the business education section at the national board of the YMCA-Eastern Region, and continues to garden.

“Older Americans Month is an opportunity for us to recognize the tremendous contributions our senior citizens have made to shape and mold today’s community, and bring attention to the contributions they continue to make on a daily basis to improve our quality of life. Active in all aspects of life, our senior population is proving that you don’t slow down after you reach a certain age,” DiVincenzo said. “Our honorees have exhibited a tremendous amount of responsibility by advocating for and providing assistance that is helping their fellow seniors to remain active and continue living in our community.”

“Our Legends Award recipients demonstrate that you can still contribute and make a difference in your community no matter what your age. All of our seniors are role models for the contributions they have made and continue to make, inspiring our younger generation to get involved and for the assistance they have provided to their fellow seniors,” Essex County Division of Senior Services Director Jaklyn DeVore said.

The award winners were nominated by social service agencies and community organizations that work closely with the Essex Division of Senior Services and were chosen because they are positive role models for the younger generation, have worked tirelessly to assist fellow seniors and made tremendous contributions to improve the quality of life.