Top local, state officials fete Newfane man
by Christian W. Peck
Public Information Office
When Marty Horanburg was named the 2012 Senior of the Year, Niagara County Office for the Aging Director Ken Genewick wanted a little help conferring the title on the longtime Newfane volunteer.
So Genewick asked the state's top advocate for aging adults to come out from Albany and help him honor the 74-year-old "Voice of Newfane High School sports" in front of the County Legislature and a large group of friends and others whose lives had been impacted by the Newfane man.
"We're very happy to have honored Marty as the 2012 Senior of the Year," Genewick said after bestowing the Senior of the Year title alongside New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen. "Marty means a lot to the town of Newfane, where he's active in the Golden Nugget Senior Group."
Horanburg, the long-time announcer for the Panthers' football and basketball games, wears many hats in the community. A board member at the Eastern Niagara Hospital and a member of the Lions Club, he is the past chief and a current volunteer with the Miller Hose Company.
In fact, a group of Newfane firefighters even came to share Horanburg's moment.
"He's a great representative for his community and older adults in Niagara County, and we're glad to have had the chance to honor him," Genewick said.
Genewick used the dual opportunities of May's designation as "Older Americans Month" and Olsen's trip to Niagara County - his second since the end of March - to make the award ceremony special for Horanburg.
"We're very pleased that we had Greg Olsen, the director of the New York State Office for the Aging, come in to present that award with us at the Legislature meeting Tuesday night," Genewick said. "Greg's taken a great interest in Niagara County. This is the second time he's been out to Niagara County in the past couple of months to present important information to our local leaders."
Olsen, who oversees the state's programs for more than 3.7 million older adult residents, has twice briefed local leaders on state demographic data about its aging population, hosting more than two dozen municipal representatives at the Niagara County Office for the Aging's Lockport offices in late March and bringing detailed data sets to Tuesday night's Legislature meeting.
"Greg presented to the County Legislature the benefit of making sure we're providing the necessary care, information, and services to help our seniors stay in their in their homes and active in the community - and what that means to our local economy and to New York state," Genewick said.
Genewick and Olsen both came to their jobs having worked in the private and public spheres - Olsen as executive director of both the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans and as legislative and policy director for Assemblyman Steven Englebright, who chairs the Assembly's Aging Committee, and Genewick, who previously worked in adult care while serving on Lockport's Common Council.
The duo has focused particular attention not just on services for older residents, but the role they play in the local community. They have forged a strong partnership over the past year, which saw the pair visiting several locations in Western New York together over the past week.
"We look forward to working with Greg, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of him here in Niagara County," Genewick said. "He understands the importance of making sure our seniors are active, independent, and a viable part of our community - and what that means for economic development as well as the viability of our economy here in Niagara County."
Genewick paused and then added, "And Greg and I want to make sure we're providing what's necessary for our county's older adults."