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Schenectady County Announces 2021 Karen B. Johnson Older New Yorker of the Year Awards

2021 Awardees

The Schenectady County Legislature announced the winners of the 2021 Hon. Karen B. Johnson Schenectady County Older New Yorker of the Year awards, which are sponsored by the Schenectady County Department of Senior and Long Term Care Services.

The awards were created to recognize older adults in the community who have offered their time and experience to worthwhile projects or causes, either through professional or volunteer efforts. The Senior and Long Term Care Services Advisory Council voted to rename the award in 2019 after Karen B. Johnson, who previously served on the Council and was a liaison between the Department of Senior and Long Term Care Services and the County Legislature.

“During the pandemic our community has relied on the help of volunteers more than ever – from food distribution, to sewing masks, taking care of neighbors and those on quarantine, and now helping administer vaccinations,” said Schenectady County Legislator Michelle Ostrelich. “Congratulations to the awardees who have devoted a combined total of over one hundred years in service to our community. We thank them for their dedication to helping others.”

Each year Schenectady County celebrates “Older Americans Month” by recognizing the accomplishments of our older residents who either through professional accomplishments or volunteer efforts offered their time and experience to worthwhile projects or causes.

2021 Schenectady County Older New Yorker of the year Award Winners

Schenectady County Hon. Karen B. Johnson Older New Yorker of the Year (co-winners):

Mary Socha

Mary has lived in the Capital Region her whole life and has volunteered for the Alzheimer’s Association for the past 17 years and has raised over $45,000 during her volunteer service to help support research to find the cure for Alzheimer’s. She was the first inductee into the Alzheimer’s Association Hall of Fame for her fundraising efforts.

Delanne Stageman

Delanne has volunteered in the Schenectady County community for over 25 years through the Young Musicians Forum, the Goose Hill Neighborhood Association, Schenectady United Neighborhoods (SUN) and Re-Tree Schenectady. One of her most significant contributions has been her leadership role at the Young Musicians Forum, where she stepped up to lead the organization’s mission to support young, local musicians. During the pandemic Delanne volunteered at all the Goose Hill Neighborhood Association’s events, including mask giveaways, Build Your Learning Library, and park clean-ups.

Schenectady County Hon. Karen B. Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award

Armand Canestraro

Armand has lived his entire life in Schenectady County and has generously donated his time to 13 organizations over the past 48 years. A resident of Glenville since 1997, he as been active in several Town committees, including the Glenville Park Planning Commission where he served as Chairman since 2008, co-chairperson of the Town Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, and presently serves as the Recording Secretary and co-chairs the Solar Energy Committee for the Guan Ho Ha Fish and Game Club. While Armand technically “retired” in 2009, he continues to serve the community as a Scotia-Glenville School District bus driver and was appointed to the United States Selective Service Commission. In 2016 he was elected to serve as Fire Commissioner of the Glenville Hill Fire District #8 and was also named the Vice Chairperson of the Fire Commissioner Board this year.

Schenectady County Hon. Karen B. Johnson Older New Yorker of the Year Nominees

Nancy and Jerry Furey

Nancy and Jerry have volunteered for over 12 years at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, StreetSoldiers of Albany and StreetSoldiers of Schenectady. They began going to StreetSoldiers Albany in 2018, collecting needed essentials including personal hygiene and pantry items, pet food, and providing a hot meal and sandwich weekly to all who requested assistance. They also helped to launch the Schenectady Team of StreetSoldiers in February of 2019. Nancy and Jerry assist the Schenectady team in collecting and sorting donations and have been present at 100 of 105 consecutive Sundays when the items are handed out to those in need.