This week in Rockland County I had the opportunity to speak to a knowledgeable, experienced and motivated group of people. Over 400 local seniors joined our Office for the Aging and me in the Fieldhouse at RCC to celebrate all that is good about getting older. And as someone who has carried my own Medicare card for a few years now I know what I’m talking about.
I thought I would be spending my senior years relaxing and playing golf. Instead, I’m spending my so-called retirement as your County Executive and I’m not the only hard-working senior in Rockland. We had the pleasure of honoring two of Rockland’s Super Seniors; two people who have mastered the art of aging and are just as dedicated to their community as they were in their earlier years.
Betty Meisler was named the 2019 Senior of the Year and Dr. Frances Pratt made the 2019 Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen.
Betty has a legacy of public service to Rockland County. She moved here from the Bronx in 1966 and soon started volunteering for Cancer Care before helping almost a dozen other nonprofit organizations since then. She has long been an advocate for older adults and people with disabilities in our county.
Betty is likely best known for the 30 years she spent as the Director of the Rockland County Foster Grandparent Program. She connected that institution into the community and introduced the program into the schools, head-starts and programs for children with special needs. Working with the older population, she began to see many unmet needs and helped to develop programs to meet those needs.
For Dr. Frances Pratt, I have trouble deciding where to even begin, she is another example of the quality of senior we have in this county. Her contributions to Rockland are numerous and impressive. After earning her nursing degree here at RCC she climbed through the ranks to become the first African American Head Nurse in the Emergency Room of Nyack Hospital.
She has served as President of the Nyack branch of the NAACP for over 40 years. She’s been described as a soldier for social justice and civil rights in Rockland County. She is a champion for the marginalized and underserved. She also has the best hats I have ever seen.
Frances has made a difference here not only through her own actions but by serving as a mentor to so many in our community. She has enhanced the quality of life for every resident of Rockland and continues to encourage youth and adults to get involved and make a difference locally.
Thank you to Betty Meisler and to Frances Pratt for everything you have done for our county and all the things you continue to do. Congratulations to you both on these awards; the people of Rockland can never repay you.