County recognizes distinguished senior citizens

CEDAR GROVE, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and the Essex County Division of Senior Services hosted the county’s annual Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration on Wednesday, May 10, in the Essex County Robert O’Toole Building in Cedar Grove Park. May is recognized as National Older Americans Month.

During the ceremony, DiVincenzo presented Essex County Legends Awards to the following Essex County senior citizens:

  • West Orange resident Ruth Bernstein worked as a dental assistant and legal secretary before retiring. She now volunteers with the Essex County Kosher Nutrition Program and has held leadership roles on the executive board of the JCC Margulies Senior Center.
  • Irvington resident Mary Reed has spent her life helping children. She has been the foster parent of 21 children with all but one of them graduating college. In addition, she has been president of the youth department and taught Sunday School at Bethesda Church of God in Christ in Newark.
  • Newark resident Barbara Roberts has been a long-time member and volunteer at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, where she has been a member of the Ladies Usher Board and choir. In addition, she volunteered to decorate the Bethany Senior Center, where she is the longest attending member.
  • West Orange resident Nancy Trewhella volunteers her time helping older adults navigate the Medicare system, growing vegetables in a community garden, teaching English as a second language to immigrants and assisting fellow seniors with nutrition assistance applications.

In addition, the county issued proclamations to congratulate the following seniors on their long lives: East Orange resident Alice Baker, age 102; East Orange resident Mary Dorsey, age 101; Montclair resident Margie Johnson, age 102; and East Orange resident Mittie Worrell, age 102.

“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.”