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Poloncarz, Hogues honor Susan Brazill as 2018 Erie County Senior of the Year

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Tue, May 8th 2018 05:20 pm
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz (left) and Commissioner of Senior Services Tim Hogues (right) join 2018 Erie County Senior of the Year Susan Brazill (center, holding proclamation) and her family and friends at the East Aurora Senior Center.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz (left) and Commissioner of Senior Services Tim Hogues (right) join 2018 Erie County Senior of the Year Susan Brazill (center, holding proclamation) and her family and friends at the East Aurora Senior Center.
Longtime volunteer at Rural Outreach Center, Aurora Adult Day Services, AKTION Club celebrated by family and friends at East Aurora Senior Center
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined Commissioner of Senior Services Timothy Hogues, representatives of the Senior Services department, family members and friends of Susan Brazill and staff from the East Aurora Senior Center on Tuesday as he recognized Brazill as Erie County's Senior of the Year for 2018.
An active and engaged volunteer at the center, Brazill is also an active volunteer at a number of community and civic organizations that impact thousands of area residents.
"Susan Brazill embodies the giving spirit of volunteerism and selflessness that make her an ideal choice for Senior of the Year honors. She makes a positive difference every day, touching the lives of her peers and making a better community for all," Poloncarz said. "It is an honor to recognize her as the 2018 Erie County Senior of the Year, and I want to thank her for her years of volunteerism. She has truly made a positive difference in our community."
Brazill said, "As a volunteer, I am able to make an impact in the issues in my community that are important to me. Many seniors will agree that time is something we have lots of. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, because when you give your time you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back."
As a volunteer for the Rural Outreach Center, Brazill is a part of the SWAT team and works with ROC social workers who make initial connections with families in need of assistance and then train volunteers, like herself, to provide follow up. Brazill regularly checks in with her ROC family, providing assistance and support in needed areas such as running errands, providing transportation to medical and wellness appointments, shopping, completing paperwork such as HEAP applications, and other assistance.
She also volunteers on the fundraising committee for ROC, assisting other volunteers in organizing events and collecting donations, and also volunteers for the ROC Snackpack/Backpack program, providing healthy meals and snacks each weekend to children identified as in need of assistance. At the end of August, ROC sponsors a "Back to School Party" where children in need are provided with a new backpack filled with all the essential supplies required by their school. At the party, these children are able to have their hair cut and styled, get their eyes checked, receive dental supplies and have a school photo taken, all through the generosity of members of the business community.
Brazill is an active volunteer at Aurora Adult Day Services, where she serves as co-president of the board and sits on each of the organization's four standing committees. She works on the annual fund drive, flower sale and fundraising event, plus she is a regular at the center, visiting clients during activities, lunch, or as a volunteer driver.
"Seniors have a lifetime of experience to share, and Susan Brazill takes that very seriously. Her dedication to her peers is outstanding and she has a desire to serve wherever and however she can be helpful," Hogues said. "Susan is an inspiration to many and is greatly deserving of this recognition."
Brazill volunteers at AKTION Club, which was founded a decade ago to enhance the quality of the life for disabled group home residents living in and around East Aurora (there are 12 group homes involved in the AKTION Club in East Aurora.) The AKTION Club Foundation is responsible for awarding AKTION Club funds to developmentally disabled applicants who meet certain criteria. As a volunteer, Brazill helps organize and participates in many of the AKTION Club's social and fundraising events, such as the Valentine's Day and spring dances, Halloween party, bowling tournament and car wash. Brazill and the other volunteers guide adults with disabilities in opportunities to give back to their community, build leadership and decision-making skills.
Brazill said, "Using my time to make a difference in someone's life is, to me, what keeps me getting up each day. Not only do I have the opportunity to stay involved and physically and emotionally active, but I can share my talents and experience with individuals I otherwise might never have met! It's the gift that keeps on giving both ways!"
Among her other activities, Brazill is a volunteer board member at People & Places, a nonprofit organization that has been providing vacations for adults with developmental disabilities since 1975. She was recognized as Coach of the Year of the Erie County Special Olympics team from 1993-13; served as a volunteer and board member for Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center from 1995-00; was recognized by the Department of Special Education, Council for Exceptional Children, as Teacher of the Year in 2009; and serves as an advisor for the Erie 2 BOCES Student Council at Ormsby Center and Baker Road School.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Senior Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/seniorservices/; on the Rural Outreach Center, visit http://theroc.co/; on the AKTION Club, visit http://www.eastaurorakiwanis.com/aktion-club/; and on People & Places, visit https://www.people-and-places.org/.

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