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Lehigh County honors older adults

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: May 15 2013 04:08:04 PM CDT
Updated On: May 15 2013 04:27:45 PM CDT

In honor of Older Americans Month, some people from the Lehigh Valley are being recognized for their dedication to enhancing the lives of others.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

In honor of Older Americans Month, some people from the Lehigh Valley are being recognized for their dedication to enhancing the lives of others.

They were nominated by friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. Lehigh County super seniors were in the spotlight Wednesday in Allentown.

"These are people who do amazing, extraordinary things with their time and talents to enhance the lives of others and their communities," explained Anne O'Keefe, with the Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services.

The 'Tribute to Unsung Heroes' included honorees from 61- to 95-years-old.

Margaret Steininger was a yeoman in the U.S. Navy during World War II and still drives herself around. She also always sports a hat she made herself.

"I didn't feel that I had accomplished what I had," shared Margaret.  "But you never know how you're influencing someone else."

This is the 13th year the Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services has honored older adults who inspire those around them, but it isn't always just individuals. 

Husband and wife Don and Joan Mabus were two of the 15 local seniors and one group who was recognized. Joan has contributed 4,091 hours of her time to Meals on Wheels; Don has volunteered more than 4,974 hours. Together, the couple has delivered 85,580 meals, and they're still counting.

"It makes me feel good because I know I'm helping somebody else," smiled Joan.

Organizers said the group makes a difference just by being themselves and doing what they love.

Almost every person honored at the event said they were humbled, and the award was unexpected.

"I didn't think I was worthy," laughed Marlene Bergstresser.  "I really didn't. What I do for our church is just for our congregation, and it helps me. I feel good about doing all the things I do."

Clearly, the gift of giving never gets old for these seniors.