UNSUNG HEROES: Diane Adele Pomeroy, a Voice for Rockland’s Seniors

BY JANIE ROSMAN

dianepDiane Adele Pomeroy believes the work she does for advocating for seniors “is important for those who do not have a voice to get their needs met.” And while Pomeroy makes use of a motorized wheelchair, the physical limitation does not define the feisty 72-woman, whose energy, empathy and compassion are boundless.

“She’s a miraculous volunteer with numerous agencies, including my Shalvah (Hospice-like) visitation program in nursing homes,” says Brenda J. Greenberg, director of Volunteer Services at Northern Services Group, a not-for-profit Rockland County organization. “She’s also an ombudsman under the Office for the Aging, a state officer in the Statewide Senior Action Council, and a volunteer for United Hospice of Rockland.”

Pomeroy — current president of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council, Inc.’s Lower Hudson Valley Chapter (a grassroots advocacy group) — said her biggest concern is not being heard. “I find it’s difficult as a senior (universally) to be part of a herd, and I resent being a member of herd that is not heard. There’s no shame in being poor, but there is shame in being poorly [represented].”

L to R: Greg Olsen, Executive Deputy Director, New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Pomeroy, State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, State Senator David J. Valesky
L to R: Greg Olsen, Executive Deputy Director, New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Pomeroy, State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, State Senator David J. Valesky

A voice and piano student at the Juilliard School, she attended business school, and later worked in advertising as a graphic artist, drawing illustrations.

In 2011, Pomeroy received the Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen Award from the New York State Assembly, and the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, and the Outstanding Community Service Award at the Orange and Rockland County Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon.

“I’m the only person to get that award, ever, from the Office of the Aging, and it was unexpected,” she said. Ombudsmen — certified by the state to act as liaison and advocate for nursing home residents — are acknowledged in Rockland County at an annual senior recognition, “and when they made an announcement, I thought it was Oscar White, who came with me to Albany. I said quietly, ‘Oh, good, it’s him.’ Then they told me it was me!”

“September will be 12 years that she’s volunteered in the program,” Michael Fober, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Coordinator said. ‘In spite of her difficulties, and because of all she’s accomplished, she’s been, and continues to be, an inspiration to so many people.”

 

THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES NEW SERIES “UNSUNG HEROES”

Who is your unsung hero? Let us know, email editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.