Pat Irwin of Fairfield joining Senior Citizens Hall of Fame | Community Spirit
FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) – A Fairfield woman and a holocaust survivor from Kennedy Heights are among 12 Ohioans being added to the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame this year.
On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, the Ohio Department of Aging will induct 12 older Ohioans into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. The inductees have lived lives full of accomplishments and service, and exemplify the state’s theme for Older Americans Month: “never too old to…”
“The individuals we are recognizing each have made a significant impact and lasting difference in the lives of their communities,” said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the department. “We honor them for both their civic engagement and the many contributions they have made to promoting quality of life for others thought our great state.”
75-year-old Patricia Irwin of Fairfield is a leader in Butler County with a mission to heal, educate and serve the community, as well as be a friend and advocate for everyone who needs her. She has a legacy of caring not only for her family, but also for individuals in her community through her service as a health care provider and educator. She also is known as an innovator with a gift for creating and implementing new programs for the community.
The Galveston, Texas, native moved to Fairfield, Ohio, when she married her husband, Jim, in 1958. Pat Irwin was a registered nurse and established a private practice for people in need at the Psychotherapy Center. She not only works with the individuals that struggle with mental illness, but also mentors family members who help them cope.
She created the Care Fair, an annual event of the Open Door Pantry, to educate the inner-city community. The Care Fair's motto was "Health is Wealth - Spend it Wisely!" Participants learn about wound care, stroke prevention, end of life care, in-home services, Medicaid benefits and various types of screenings, such as vision, hearing and blood pressure. There also were pet therapy, public library services and martial arts demonstrations. More than 25 agencies were involved, and 300 people attended the last Care Fair.
Irwin has a special fondness for working with women and addressing the unique issues that women face. She knows firsthand what it is like to face her own mortality. She regularly speaks to various community groups about topics such as depression and women's health issues. "I saw that too many women pay too high a price for being nice and giving out all they have," she said. "Women need to refuel and get back on the balance beam."
She is the co-founder of "Speak Easy," a weekly support group for depressed women. For more than 22 years, the group has reached out to those who have a variety of mental health issues.
In 2002, she was recognized as a YWCA Woman of the Year, as well as one of the Cincinnati Enquirer Women of Achievement. In 2011, she was honored with the Volunteer of the Year award for serving on the Peace and Justice Committee at Sacred Heart Church.
87-year-old Werner Coppel of Kennedy Heights lived for 12 years under Nazi rule and survived two years in the Auschwitz concentration camp before he and his wife made Cincinnati their new home and new hope. He uses his story to teach future generations to stand up against "the cancer around us: hate and prejudice."
Coppel grew up during Hitler's rise to power. As a Jew, he was slowly stripped of his rights and banned from public school. He joined a Jewish youngsters' group and was sent to a forced labor camp. Later, he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz for two years. He was sent on a forced death march from Poland to Germany. It was on this journey that he narrowly escaped death and was liberated by Soviet troops on Jan. 27, 1945.
Coppel returned to Berlin, Germany to help others who had survived the war. He was the lone survivor of his family. He married a young nurse named Trudy, and the Coppel family arrived as "displaced persons" in Cincinnati in 1949. He adapted by learning English, developing relationships with other local survivors and working hard to provide for his family.
In the mid-1970s, published letters to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer denied that the Holocaust occurred. Coppel decided to speak publicly about what he had witnessed and endured. He joined the Jewish Community Relations Council speakers' bureau and began sharing his difficult and often painful memories. He donates his time and travel expenses to this cause.
Werner Coppel has addressed approximately 108,000 individuals in 1,500 audiences over the past 37 years since he began to speak about the Holocaust. He's told his story through the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education's speakers' bureau, and is a founding member of the organization's board of trustees. He inspires individuals of all ages to overcome adversity in their own lives.
In May 2001, Werner received a Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa degree from The College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati for his work. He also has served on the board of his synagogue, Temple Sholom. When he is not speaking about his experiences, he can be found on the golf course or spending time with his wife, their two sons and four grandchildren.
"The best medicine for staying relatively young is never look at the glass as being half empty, but always half full," Werner said. "Always be positive and stand up to hate and prejudice, even if it doesn't affect you."
Other 2012 inductees to the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame:
- Darlene Baney, 72, Findlay – Mrs. Baney is a nurse, educator, minister and missionary. With compassion and expertise, she has helped others around the world cope with disasters through her service with the American Red Cross, her church and other organizations.
- Norman Bell, Sr., 79, Toledo – Mr. Bell is a servant of his community who has worked more than 30 years to ensure the dignity, safety and economic security for the people of Toledo and Lucas County. He also has represented his community and nation around the globe.
- Anna Blackwell, 83, Springfield – Mrs. Blackwell is an accomplished musician and scholar who has instilled in thousands of people a deep appreciation of music. She helps children all over the world to lead a positive life not defined by barriers.
- Eugene D’Angelo, Jr., 83, Upper Arlington – Mr. D’Angelo has a distinguished career in local broadcasting and brought about several local and national broadcasting firsts. He has contributed to the arts and celebrates his Italian-American heritage with others in his community.
- Germaine Hahnel, M.D., 80, Olmsted Township – Dr. Hahnel changed the face of family medicine in Ohio and the nation. She was one of the first board-certified family physicians, and remains an active advocate for the health and wellness of her community.
- M. C. Hokenstad, Ph.D., 75, Shaker Heights – Dr. Hokenstad is a worldwide leader in social work education and research. He has contributed significantly to the literature and practice of social welfare and the care of older people.
- Julian Marcus, posthumous, Bexley – Mr. Marcus paved the way for thousands of Ohioans to live healthy, active lives contributing to their communities. As founder of what is now known as Employment for Seniors, he was a pioneer in the civic engagement movement for older adults.
- Glenn Maxwell, 77, Bellaire – Mr. Maxwell uses his faith and a keen sense of community service to rebuild lives all over the world. As a member and leader of Habitat for Humanity, he has helped countless others escape adversity and realize better lives.
- Jane Scott, posthumous, Lakewood – Ms. Scott was a society writer for the Plain Dealer, but is perhaps best known for the influence she had on the rock music scene in Cleveland and around the world. Her progressive and open-minded reviews of up-and-coming acts earned her the respect of a global music industry.
- Alberta Shurelds, posthumous, Lima - Mrs. Shurelds was a teacher who found a calling as an advocate for truth and fairness. She was active with many causes and counseled policy makers and others about civil rights and opportunities for all, regardless of age, race or situation.
For detailed biographies and photos, visit www.aging.ohio.gov/news/halloffame/
Since 1978, more than 350 men and women have been inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. The hall honors individuals age 60 and older who are native-born Ohioans or who have resided in the state for at least 10 years. Each year, the Ohio Department of Aging solicits nominations from partner organizations, community leaders and the general public. Nominations are evaluated on the impact of current contributions or a continuation of work and accomplishments begun before age 60. Honorees were evaluated by a selection committee using a formal rating system.
Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.
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