Each year the Office for the Aging and our Advisory Council recognize two older adults in the community. With the help of our Advisory Council, we have chosen two very deserving older adults who have done great work in our community. On September 29th at Cacciatore’s in Ilion, the two awards were presented at the RSVP Luncheon.

Senior Citizen of the year:

Lydia Sexton resides in Frankfort, NY.

Lydia Sexton is a native New Yorker who was born in Brooklyn, NY but has spent most of her life in Upstate NY. Lydia has been contributing to her community her entire life. When she was raising her children she volunteered at their schools and served as scout leader. In her professional life, she managed volunteers and worked right alongside of them developing programs to meet the needs of her community. Lydia was a Program Coordinator at Catholic Charities in Herkimer County from 1991- 2018 and was the go to person for older adults when they needed assistance with their Medicare plans.

She has been an RSVP volunteer since 2004 and has contributed many more than the 1636 hours that she has reported. Through RSVP she has provided support in a number of ways. She has served at soup kitchens, provided Holiday meals, counseled Medicare beneficiaries as HIICAP counselor and helped at food pantries. She has also assisted seniors by providing transportation, social support and assistance at home through the Hope Ministries program at Catholic Charities. She provides a comforting ear and a warm meal to anyone who needs it. Lydia has also been very active through her calling to help others through her faith. She serves as the Catholic Formation Coordinator for her parish and educates both the young and old about their faith. I am sure she provides volunteer service to others in so many more ways that I am not even aware of. Lydia’s heart must take up most of her tiny body because she is always giving of herself to others.

Lydia has four children and four grandchildren.

The person who nominated Lydia said that she is most deserving of an award to recognize her many years of community service. Lydia said that she would tell others that are thinking about volunteering that, “It brings such joy to the people you serve. It is a gift and rewarding. Volunteering expands you.”

“As the Director of the Herkimer County Office for the Aging I have worked alongside Lydia when she worked at Catholic Charites as the HIICAP coordinator. She not only goes above and beyond the call of duty but she is one of the most kind and compassionate people I know.”

Outstanding Contribution:

Joann Capraro is a native New Yorker and he live in the West Winfield and surrounding area for over 40 years. Joann worked in a law and medical offices. Joann has been working for the past forty years assisting people in need. Joann worked side by side with her husband Doug, who is a Physician’s Assistant at the local clinic. Joann treated patients with compassion and care, like they were family. Joann had many lasting relationships as a result of the kindness and compassion that she showed others. Joann jumped into to assist as many people as she could. As she did then and still does today she shares Doug without hesitation or question as he is called out in the middle of the night, weekends, holidays, and special occasions.  She is the first to reach out to assist whether it be for sickness, accidents, tragedies or the loss of a loved one.  Through the years she has supported school activities, helping at the volunteer fireman fund raisers, served on the village board, recently attained the 100 gallon donation at the local Red Cross blood drive, and assists with the annual rotary Christmas donations and distributions.  Her beautiful voice leads the choir at Sunday mass, she provides bereavement support and arranges and sings at all funeral mass services.  At the local funeral home she graciously greets all with a warm smile a comforting word and most often an endearing hug.  She never misses a birthday anniversary get well or sympathy without a hand written card or personal phone call.  You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the community who hasn’t been touched by her grace, her kindness and her support when it was most needed in their life.

Joann is married to her husband Doug. They have three children and 6 grandchildren.

Joann said that, “Volunteering is the most worthwhile and rewarding way to spend my time.”

Joann is truly a one of kind person. She is always looking to help as many people as she can and puts other people’s needs before her own.

2022 with photos