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Jefferson County senior citizens honored for volunteer efforts

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WATERTOWN — Laura E. Davis, 61, and Florence E. Martino, 69, will be honored by the Jefferson County Office for the Aging for their volunteerism and dedication to serving fellow senior citizens.

The two were selected by the county office in preparation for a Tuesday trip to Albany, where they will travel, along with many other seniors, for Senior Citizens Day. In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Martino and fellow nominees will be honored for their volunteerism, civic engagement and community involvement.

“We look at how involved they are with the Office for the Aging, not only in terms of volunteering with us, but advocating for services,” said Louise J. Harackza, deputy director of the county Office for the Aging. “It’s getting out the word about what we do with the Office for the Aging.”

The agency offers people 60 and older information on necessary referrals, financial counseling, in-home health services, rehabilitation, transportation, elder abuse, nutrition, caregiver support, long-term care, legal services, insurance, housing and tax benefits, among other topics.

Mrs. Martino has volunteered with the county office for about 12 years, and Mrs. Davis has volunteered for about nine years.

Mrs. Martino is “wonderful and excellent with all of the people who come in. She’s just an asset,” Mrs. Harackza said. “Both have volunteered, but Florence has worked as a health insurance information, counseling and assistance volunteer. It’s critical for a supplemental insurance. During our open enrollment period for Medicare, we have at least three people come in and Florence is one. Florence would take the time to help our staff.”

Both women were selected for the 2014 honor at the county level, after the agency had considered more than two dozen of its volunteers.

Mrs. Martino worked at the Jefferson County Department of Social Services for about 31 years until she retired in 2003. Aside from her time spent volunteering with the county office, Mrs. Martino also volunteers at the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Samaritan Medical Center, the Italian-American Civic Association and the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton. The Watertown resident has three grown children and two grandchildren.

Before Mrs. Davis, who lives in Carthage with her husband, Benjamin F., began volunteering at the county office, she taught French and Spanish to middle and high school students for 33 years. She has been involved in numerous community organizations, such as the Community Board of Carthage Area Hospital as a representative for the office, as an informal interpreter for the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the North Country Quilt Guild, Parent to Parent of NNY, Trisomy 21 Foundation of NNY, AARP and Carthage Central School.

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