ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – Two Steuben County women were honored for their lifelong commitment to the welfare of the community’s elder—and younger—residents.
Linda Tetor of Bath and Joan Watkins of Woodhull were honored during a November 5 virtual ceremony in Albany that celebrated Old New Yorkers Day, recognizing seniors from across the state.
Born in Bath, Tetor graduated from Kent State University and later became the founding director of the Steuben County Office For the Aging in 1984. During her38 years with the OFA, Tetor developed services for senior citizens and their families before retiring in 2010. Then she developed the nonprofit Steuben Senior Services Fund, which served as a pilot program for the national service Full Circle America.
She’s also volunteered in other capacities, including Girl Scouts, Steuben Church People Against Poverty, Self-help housing project, Operation Christmas Child, and others.
Joan Watkins graduated from the Arnot Ogden School of Nursing and served as a medical-surgical and ICU nurse for more than 40 years at Arnot Ogden, St. Joseph’s and Corning Hospital. She also served for 10 years as the lead nurse at the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier branch in Steuben County and became a nurse practitioner at the MacDonald Health Clinic in Woodhull.
For the past four years, Watkins has been a Wellness Ambassador with Steuben Senior Sevices Fund.
“My best advice to everyone is to get a hold of the Office for the Aging in your community and find what
volunteer project interests you, because there are many!” she said. “God affords us great opportunities to
bless others by using our varied skills.”
Watkins has also volunteered with Operation Christmas Child, the Woodhull Community Food Pantry, Parent Resource Center and its Baby Bottle Drive, and has been a lifelong Sunday School teacher with the Community Church of Woodhull.
At the Albany ceremony, the New York Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, “I am especially grateful that this year’s theme is focused on celebrating the volunteerism of older New Yorkers – a spirit that shines vividly in many selfless actions and contributions. It is important that we highlight not only these individual acts of volunteerism but also their sheer collective magnitude to help others on a broad scale. Throughout New York State, over 935,000 individuals aged 55 or older contribute 495 million hours of service to their communities annually. While this is an impressive contribution of time, its impact can also be measured in other important ways. We estimate that the volunteerism of older New Yorkers translates into an annual economic output of $13.8 billion – an irreplaceable force of human capital that greatly enhances the reach of our institutional social safety-net to serve the public good.”