2021 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

Thanks for celebrating positive aging with us! In case you missed it, the full broadcast for the 16th Annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards is available on our YouTube Channel.

The IPAA Luncheon celebrates and honors older adults across King County that exemplify positive aging. In 2021, Sound Generations recognized recipients in the following six categories: Advocacy + Activism, Community Service, Health + Wellness, Intergenerational Impact, Lifelong Learning, and Defining Inspiration. To learn about all of the amazing nominees, check out our program booklet.

2021 IPAA Winners

Congratulations to the 16th Annual Inspire Positive Aging Award Winners!

Cynthia Grayson

Advocacy & Activism

Cynthia has been a powerful force for equity and human dignity for many years, serving as a child welfare worker and as a mental health therapist, then establishing businesses to support families and keep children from out of home placements. She is a fierce fighter for equalizing services for all ethnic communities, in particular for African American and Native American families, because she understands that these groups (and others) are often disproportionately affected by family separation, economic disparity, legal injustice, and fear of involvement in community. In fact, she was a critical change agent in organizing racial disproportionality efforts in King County.

Pushpakant Patel

Community Service

Pushpakant (Push) is always willing to help anyone in need regardless of age, and has been helping people for over 40 years now. He noticed early on when he moved to Seattle that there were seniors that could not drive, so he decided to help and has been giving rides to those seniors for any medical reason to either clinics or hospitals. For Pushpakant, age is just a number. Even at 82, he is very active and always helping people. This just goes to show that one does not have to slow down their helping or volunteering just because they are aging!

Ray Puddicombe

Defining Inspiration

Born 96 years ago in Tacoma, Washington, Ray was a WW2 Veteran, avid gardener, and incredible storyteller. He was warm and personable, always engaging audiences with his life’s stories and infectious laughter. Ray’s family and friends have learned a great deal about friendship, generosity, gardening and appreciating life, taking each day as it comes and finding joy in all that it has to offer. Sadly, Ray passed away before he could accept his award, but his message will live on through all those who have had the opportunity to cross paths with him.

Ampy Seto

Health & Wellness

Ampy, known as the Queen of Social Dancing, strives to make sure everyone feels warm and welcome. She is a connector between generations and cultures, and serves with love and enthusiasm. Although Ampy experienced two strokes, she was constantly seeking new ways to volunteer and give back to her community. According to her husband, when she heard her doctor’s gloomy diagnosis about being bound to a wheelchair, she said “Just watch me!” and pulled herself out of her wheelchair. She has been on her feet ever since, and has continued to play an active role in her community.

Mary Floyd

Intergenerational Impact

Mary has been volunteering as a Foster Grandparent Mentor at Homage for a number of years and the teachers and students rave about their interactions with her. They are eager to have her back every day in their classrooms and as one of the principals said “Mary, you ARE one of our valued staff members.” In addition to volunteering anywhere from 10-15 hours a week with kids in schools as a mentor, Mary is often keeping her eye open to folks in her apartment complex who might be open to volunteering. To quote Mary, “I keep telling them – those kids need you and you could really be helping them out. Come join me!” Mary shows that older adults can make a significant contribution even (and especially) in their later years. Mary’s good humor, positive attitude and zest for life are a great example for the children she serves.

Rebecca Crichton

Lifelong Learning

Rebecca’s work and outside interests almost all circle around healthy aging, aging with wisdom, defeating ageism, and how to handle the challenges of aging with resilience. The impact she has made on countless lives is exceptional! he immerses herself in learning, and her schedule looks straightforward at first glance. For example, she might be attending a presentation on a topic like brain health, age discrimination, or the impact of race on aging, or giving one of her excellent presentations, such as “Happiness is an Inside Job,” or writing an article for a local newsletter or magazine. But one thing that is different about Rebecca compared with others is, she shares everything she learns. On daily walks, she freely exchanges what she has recently read, learned, or heard. She incorporates her new learnings into her next project. She’s truly a lifelong learner and teacher. And that’s always inspirational.

2020 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

Congratulations to Our 2020 IPAA Recipients!

Advocacy + Activism

Trudy James

Trudy James, 82

Trudy has dedicated years coming to understand death and grief in new and deeper ways. From 1989 to 2007, she has directed programs for AIDS CareTeam, Cancer Care Alliance and has served over 500 men and women CarePartners with AIDS. Trudy is a credentialed interfaith chaplain and owner of a small business called Heartwork. At age 76, she tried her hand at documentary filmmaking and created Speaking of Dying which coincides with her end-of-life planning sessions, annual retreats and Grief, Loss and the Holidays presentation. Trudy has become a social media pro and maintains her website and Facebook page for Speaking of Dying. Her offerings, happy demeanor, energy and her commitment to her work inspire many. Trudy says that getting older is a privilege and that her life is better than ever at 82. She is the oldest person in her yoga class; her commitment to mind, body, heart and spirit wholeness shows others what is possible for aging.

Community Service

Mohan Khandekar

Mohan Khandekar, 77

Retirement gave Mohan ability to take his passion for volunteering to new heights. He is an active volunteer and spends 20-22 hours per week in these various activities, but still finds time to be a loving and attentive family man. Mohan has been a lead volunteer at Northshore Senior Center, an Information Resource Person for SeaTac, an assistant badminton coach at Kirkland Middle School and Lake Washington High School, is a board member for the Kenmore Community Club (KCC), is the audio/ video/ still photography and graphics resource chief for IAWW (India Association of Western Washington), and works with children at the Seattle Art Museum in the “Youth and Family Programs” organized by the Seattle Architecture Foundation (SAF). The enthusiasm and good cheer with which he helps so many diverse communities is so visible, that it makes him a living example of a person who has aged well and inspires others to do the same.

Defining Inspiration

Val Brustad

Val Brustad, 73

Val leads a life that makes you think of aging in terms of impact rather than years. Having been a caretaker for his mother who had Alzheimer’s, he supported his wife who was an Alzheimer’s Association support group facilitator. After Val’s wife passes away unexpectedly, he stepped up and trained to continue the group in her honor. His sense of aging is communicated in terms of being part of a community and making sure that no one is left alone. Rather than focusing on his loss Val focused on the needs of others–on how he could step in and be service of others. Each person involved in the support group can attest to how Val’s words, his vulnerability, his wisdom has shaped their perspective to the disease, caregiving and grief. It is this influence and ability to leave a mark, that inspires those around him to be more forgiving to themselves, get up, and fight another day.

Health + Wellness

Shirin Velji

Shirin Velji, 81

A former teacher in Tanzania, Shirin continues to mentor and inspire everyone she meets. She loves to inspire and help people of all generations, especially the younger generations. She brightens the days of the residents she visits at the Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living department of Emerald Heights, where she also volunteered to make masks to protect them against Coronavirus.She volunteered at the Fitness Center where the Fitness Exam is done twice a year, cheering for the athletes and welcoming the spectators. Shirin worked for the South East Asia Operational Department to work on Urban Projects (Roads, Water, Housing, etc.) in Korea, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Her enthusiasm in her work is evident with the stories she shares and the lifelong friendships she has made. She has dedicated her life to helping others, and it’s truly inspiring.

Intergenerational Impact

Sadru Kachra

Sadru Kachra, 79

Having grown up in Kenya and seeing the living condition of those around him, he spent his whole life giving his to others to better their quality of life. One of his favorite projects, which he says was “heartwarming and satisfying” was building two extra classrooms to a one-room school. Now that he lives in Washington, Sadru continues to spend his time volunteering at the library and the senior center. His passion to serve others, even at the age of almost 80, motivates and encourages both me and many other people in my community to give to all the people around us. Sadru teaches the youth in my community to expand their knowledge outside of school, to go to college, and to volunteer throughout their professional lives. Once, he met Mother Theresa who, at a very old age, came to Kenya to attend an event in which his Lions Club distributed rice to the poor. He says that meeting her inspired him, and now he works hard to inspire others.

Lifelong Learning

Dori Gillam

Dori Gillam, 68

Dori is energetic, aging her way and nothing short of inspiring. She leads by example by living her life by her words and demonstrating what it means to age positively. Whether it’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or participating in the Womxn’s March with her friends, both young and old, Dori lives life to the fullest. She spends a good deal of her time speaking about aging and hosting presentations designed to shift how we thinking about aging and our older neighbors. Through use of humor and personal stories, Dori teaches that your older years don’t have to be molded by preconceived ideas about aging; those years get to be molded by us with the support of community. She encourages people to advocate for themselves because she’s seen firsthand the dignity that can be erased as you age. Through Wisdom Cafés she ignites conversations about aging, even delving into topics that we usually don’t discuss when it comes to older adults.

2019 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

2019 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

Inspire Positive Aging Awards Logo

On June 26, 2019, Sound Generations hosted our 14th Annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards (IPAA) Luncheon at the Bellevue Hilton. The IPAA Luncheon celebrated and honored the nominees and award recipients, at an event attended by over 320 individuals from diverse communities across King County.

2019 IPAA Recipients

A huge congratulations to all seven of our 2019 award recipients!

Advocacy + Activism

This year was extraordinary, as two Advocacy + Activism nominees were awarded!

Dianne Thompson

Dianne Thompson, 79, is a change agent! In 2018, her advocacy helped ensure that adults in Washington State who are covered by Medicaid can receive hearing aids. This year she was instrumental in raising awareness and garnering support for a legislative bill to ensure that audiology patients are informed about the benefits of hearing technologies such as tele-coils and bluetooth. Her methodical, persistent, diligent and strategic advocacy as resulted in raising awareness about Medicare Observation Status which is a little known coverage gap that can cost older adults thousands of dollars in unexpected hospital bills. As a role model for advocacy, Diana patiently mentors her peers and advocates of all ages, providing them with the information and strategies to help them be successful. She is well known and highly regarded by her state and federal legislators, city and county policy makers, and statewide advocacy organizations including those for aging, hearing and healthcare issues.

Janet Jones-Preston

Janet Jones-Preston, 71, is a grandmother who has raised her children and fostered others. Although retired, she is (in the words of Times Pacific NW magazine writer, Susan Kelleher) a SUPER volunteer. Janet, along with her son who immigrated to Ghana for graduate studies, built a home ostensibly for herself. However, upon encountering a homeless family of eight she allows them to live in the home rent free. Upon learning that education is not a basic right as it is in the U.S. of A., she mortgaged her home and provided funds for her son to start a school that is flourishing and now serves 260 students. She visits the Washington prisons twice month, taking along fellow educators, student teachers, district superintendents and school staff on all levels. To the Ghanaian students she represents hope and to the prisoners, empowerment and encouragement.

Community Service

Sidney Rouse

Sidney Rouse, 86, has arrived at the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center at 6:30 A.M. to assist in the kitchen for the past 8 years, 5 days a week. Sid has stood by his kitchen comrades, dishing up hugs and happiness along with the food. Despite suffering from an eye disorder, he appeared each morning for duty, sporting a patch on one eye.  When encouraged to go home, he takes the moment to teach his peers: “When you slow down, your body and mind slow down. At home, I would just feel sorry for myself, but here, I have a job to do and a cook to annoy.” What is most inspiring is his humility in performing his tasks. It’s stirring to see an accomplished Boeing Test Engineer and WWII decorated veteran, find such satisfaction in performing the most basic tasks for a non-profit. He takes as much pride and professionalism in his kitchen duties as he did in the aerospace industry.

Defining Inspiration

Marilyn Valentine

Marilyn Valentine, 84, is a unique, creative, soulful and engaging person. All of her creative parts are integrated into everything she does. She models bravery, showing up as her whole self, which creates the space for others to do so as well. She was the first person at the Lake City Seniors program to openly share her partnership with a woman. Marilyn connected to Lake City Seniors through her Enhance Fitness classes. I asked her if she would co-facilitate an LGBT+ support group. After thinking about it, she agreed to help start a group, but she wanted it to be open to anyone and it would be called “Connections.” For two years, Marilyn co-led a highly successful and diverse peer support group. She was the heart and soul of this group, welcoming new members and fostering deep and meaningful friendships and connections that continue to reverberate throughout the center and our community. I want to be Marilyn when I grow up! I want to be her right now.

Health & Wellness

Asefa Tesema

Asefa Tesema, 71, a former prisoner of war, exudes peace and calm that is rooted in his commitment to his faith and his mind/body wellness. He practices prayer, meditation, yoga, and exercises daily. Five years ago, after eye surgery left him blind, Asefa’s daughter sponsored him to come to the U.S. to try to get better treatment and regain his vision. Upon his arrival, he started attending the Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle. A few volunteers led exercise programs there for a little over a month but could not keep going. Asefa started leading the exercise. He began leading the group in a gentle yoga and aerobic exercise program two times a week to improve physical and mental health. After four and 1/2 years he eventually found and trained new volunteers that are carrying on the program. When asked about aging, he said, “Aging is not a disease, it is a blessing and a gift.

Intergenerational Impact

Marletta Iwasyk

Marletta Iwasyk, 80, is a phenomenal kindergarten teacher. She, recently turned 80 years old, and has taught for over 50 years for Seattle Public Schools. Over the years, she has taught over 1275 students and continues to teach and inspire generations. Marletta’s presence in the classroom positively influences students, teachers/staff, and parents about getting older. To the kindergarteners in her class her presence makes them “blind” to aging and to not feel like you can only do things at a certain age. To the teachers/staff Marietta is a role model and inspiration. Her vast knowledge, boundless energy, wonderful personality, and caring nature inspire them daily. And it lets them know that age need not limit them. To the parents her presence shows them that age doesn’t have to limit you. Many of the parents were raised thinking you retire at 65 and Marletta challenges that mindset.

Lifelong Learning

Ann Root

Ann Root, 92, has been a participant and teacher at the West Seattle Senior Center for four+ years. She inquired at the Center about visiting people who are home bound. Ann realizes the importance of community and friendship. She has been matched with two elder friends as part of our West Side Friends Program. She visits each of them 1-2 times a month. Ann does not drive, so she walks 4+ miles each way to visit her home bound elder friends. She also walks the four mile round trip to the Senior Center several times a week. Have I mentioned she is 92?! Ann values learning and stretching herself in new ways. She teaches a weekly advanced and beginning German class at the Senior Center. Her skills as a teacher are exemplary. She also is involved with an Enhanced Fitness Class and belongs to our book group. When Ann walks in to the Senior Center, we are all inspired and moved by her perseverance. At 92 years of age, her commitment to exercise and good health is evident. She walks to the Center in all kinds of weather, and several of us “younger ones” are now inspired to do the same.

2019 IPAA Nominees

We honor the 49 remarkable nominees that were recognized by their fellow friends, family, and peers at our 2019 Inspire Positive Aging Awards.

Meet our 2019 Inspire Positive Aging Awards nominees.

Thank you for being a part of our 2019 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

Check out our 2019 IPAA Photo Album

Our IPAA Luncheon celebration would not have been possible without the support of our gracious donors, volunteers, nominators, and attendees.

2019 IPAA Sponsors

We are also incredibly grateful for our Signature Sponsors, Microsoft and Premera Blue Cross; our IPAA Benefactor Sponsor, Azose Commerical Properties; and our Lead Sponsors, Swedish, Biella Foundation, and Aegis Living.

2019 IPAA Corporate Tables & Table Captains

Thank you also to our Corporate Tables & Table Captains: Aetna, Airline Catering Co. Inc., Alzheimer’s Association, Central Area Senior Center, Community Health Plan of Washington, City of Seattle, Iora Primary Care, Kaiser Permanente, Quail Park Communities, Senior Center of West Seattle, Sprague Israel Giles, The Hearing Loss Association of America Washington State Association, Brittany Blue, La Tasha Byers, Janet Ceballos, Heidi Cosentino, Darryl Price, Carlos Rojas, Katrina Russell, Jim Wigfall, and our In-Kind Corporate Sponsor, Alaska Airlines.

And new this year, we would like to thank our vendor booths who made the first Touch of Inspiration Outreach Fair a success.

2018 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

On June 20, 2018, Sound Generations celebrated our 13th Annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards by recognizing 49 inspirational older adults from diverse communities throughout King County. This event brought together nearly 300 guests thanks to the generosity of our sponsors: Regence, Premera Blue Cross, Azose Commercial Properties, Swedish, Aegis Living, and the Biella Foundation.

Six Award Recipients were acknowledged for their exceptional contributions:

Advocacy + activism

Hilke Faber, 74, is a role model for all ages and a tireless advocate for older adults. As a retired registered nurse who served as Washington’s first nursing home ombudsman, she led statewide and national legislation reforms for nursing home regulations. Her advocacy efforts led to the establishment of Bill of Rights for nursing home residents in Washington, and she created resident councils in King County’s senior living communities to provide a channel of communication between residents and home administrators. Her passion for advocacy and service has helped those around her see nursing home residents in a new light – as autonomous, dignified people capable of advocating for themselves regardless of their age and health.

Community service

Jemanesh Demisse, 72, is dedicated to helping the underserved elders in King County’s East African community. She has been working with the East African Senior Meals Program at the Yesler Community Center for over eight years, preparing nutritious and culturally relevant meals for over 50 elders each Thursday and Saturday. She has demonstrated leadership by actively recruiting volunteers for the meals program and Rainer Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, and she is not afraid to go out of her way to assist a community member. She is the first to first to fundraise when someone is in need, the first to visit a community member in the hospital, and cheers on the younger generation at graduation ceremonies. Despite her recent health challenges her dedication to her community is unwavering. Her nominator said, “Jemanesh has a heart of gold… [She] taught me that one can be humble and give without the expectation of getting anything in return.”

Defining inspiration

Natalia Mendez, 76, inspires people who know her with her positivity and selflessness. Natalia emigrated from Pueblo, Mexico to Yakima when she was 34, where she raised four children on her own and was known in the community for bringing meals to less fortunate families. She continues to embody this spirit of kindness today, spending hours each week preparing delicious Mexican food to share with SeaMar’s Lake City Latino Senior Group. Even though she struggles with chronic pain after a car accident, she remains active physically and is always willing to try new activities like yoga and dancing. At an event celebrating the independence days of Latin American countries last year, Natalia sang a song from Mexico in front of the lunch crowd. Her nominator described her voice as “soulful, strong, and inspiring” – just like Natalia herself.

Health & wellness

Merle Fister, 97, exemplifies healthy aging through his determination to stay physically and mentally fit. He begins each day with calisthenics and a half mile walk, before joining other residents for a daily group exercise class. Recognizing that loneliness and isolation negatively impact people’s health, Merle always makes sure to greet new members of his retirement community to make them feel welcome and involved. He helps others with computer and cell phone problems and follows news reports to stay current on world events. Those who know Merle describe him as loving and optimistic, and they appreciate him for demonstrating the power of positive thinking, the importance of an active lifestyle, and the healing power of laughter and a joke, even if it’s a bad one.

Intergenerational impact

Dianne Hansen, 71, was honored for her ‘Intergenerational Impact’. Dianne is admired for her work as a volunteer tutor and piano teacher in her community. She generously devotes her time to tutoring young children at the Shoreline Public Library, and through the SWEL Timebank discovered her passion for teaching piano lessons. This inspired Dianne to offer free piano lessons to children whose families couldn’t afford private lessons. Dianne also purchased keyboards and music books that she’d loan to students so they could practice at home. She now devotes time to her 12 young piano students but still finds time to dedicate to other causes, including piano lessons for retiree and working mother students, general tutoring, teaching ESL classes, and sewing classes. Her patience, compassion and enthusiasm is infectious, and she is an inspiration to all who know her.

Lifelong learning

Ray Bradley, 65, an active member of Central Area Senior Center’s Food, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Workshop Series, brings encouragement and joy to everyone he meets. An intelligent and curious man, Ray loves learning and always participates and assists in any way he can. He asks questions for every presenter and topic, and he is always enthusiastic when he is asked to help with a demonstration in class. Ray keeps a positive attitude during classes, and his humor good cheer helps other participants to do the same. Outside the classes, Ray also teaches a computer classes to CASC members every Wednesday. His nominator said, “One need not ask for [Ray’s] help – if he sees a need, he is on it.  If he determines a better way exists to solve or resolve a concern, he offers his ideas immediately.”

If you didn’t get a chance to nominate someone you know, you’ll have another opportunity to submit a nomination next year. We hope to see you at the 2019 IPAA celebration!

2017 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

On April 20, 2017, Sound Generations celebrated our 12th Annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards by recognizing 56 inspirational older adults from diverse communities throughout King County. Presented in partnership with Premera Blue Cross, this event brought together nearly 350 guests and raised more than $90,000 – exceeding our fundraising goal by 30%!


Seven Award Recipients were acknowledged for their exceptional contributions:

Community Service

Barbara Peete, 75, received this year’s ‘Community Service’ award. Among other contributions, she manages the wildly popular Bid Whist program at Central Area Senior Center. Every week, more than seventy people come from all over King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to play the card game and enjoy the potluck and music. In addition to overseeing the entire program, she has galvanized participants to start recycling and composting. She is respected by all, and when the center needs someone to represent them, members always select her to be their spokesperson. Her nominator said, “She shares what she has, is fair and objective, educated and smart, but most of all, she’s reliable. You can count on her to do what she says she’ll do.”

Advocacy + Activism

Feanette Black Bear, 64, was honored with the ‘Advocacy + Activism’ award. Feanette inspires others through her strengh, resilience, and advocacy on behalf of indigenous communities. A Lakota elder, she has been involved with the movement to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the water protectors in North Dakota, among other causes.  She is fluent in the Lakota language and is often honored to share a prayer at gatherings, such as the Indigenous Women’s candlelight vigil in downtown Seattle to honor missing and murdered indigenous women. Her offer of a prayer was a huge strength at the event and her beautiful words were healing and empowering. Her wisdom is a gift to younger generations, and her love for her community and her bravery are unfailing.

Health + Wellness

Michael Neguse, 61, received the ‘Health + Wellness’ award. Michael is devoted to helping those who are undeserved and has strong ties to King County’s East African and refugee communities. Through his work with East African Senior Meal Program (EASMP), he helps provide more than fifty seniors with free and culturally relevant meals, current events information, and bus tokens. He also speaks four languages, and uses his language skills to educate people of all ages about emergency preparedness.  His contributions are appreciated by many organizations he’s involved with, including ReWa, Seattle Tilth, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Neighborhood Group, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands.

Intergenerational Impact

Pam Berry, 74, received the ‘Intergenerational Impact’ award. Pam has been working in the community for over 30 years, bringing music training to children in the Southeast Seattle Community Youth Orchestra. She and her husband have contributed their own funds to the orchestra and to helping children in other areas of their lives. Her enthusiasm for the children is contagious, and she often inspires others to help out – a skill that her nominator describes as “uncanny” – “She asks others to do things and before they know it they’re cooking and working with her. I have found myself in tears laughing about how she made me do it.” Through her selfless determination, Pam shows that you can be a great example to your community and to young people at any age.

Lifelong Learning

Kelsi Watson, 67, was honored for ‘Lifelong Learning’. Though she is legally blind, Kelsi does not let this stop her from joining in many activities at Central Area Senior Center such as the Sliders – a dance group that meets for exercise and performs out in the community. Others are inspired by her rhythm and ability to perform by listening to the music and the instructors. She also attends monthly membership meetings and regularly offers suggestions to improve the center. If there is a resource lacking (such as special BINGO cards), she’ll go out and purchase them, always declining offers to be reimbursed. Through her thoughtfulness, sense of humor and good attitude, she demonstrates that she does not suffer from a disability but rather is fully capable.

Outstanding Team

Mr. and Mrs. Huang have volunteered as choir instructors for the Cultural Exchange Program at the North Bellevue Community Center for 17 years. In addition to teaching the choir songs from around the world and publishing a book of songs, the Huangs lead the group to perform at an annual Chinese New Year Celebration and at the Redmond Senior Center. They always tell their peers there is no age limit for music and encourage many isolated Chinese seniors to join the class and enhance their social networks. In addition, they encourage young musicians to ensemble with them and believe music can break down the generation gap by creating partnership, harmony, and happiness.

Defining Inspiration

Fred Geraldsen, 91, was recognized for ‘Defining Inspiration.’ Fred is admired for his boundless energy and compassion. After serving in the Army Air Corp during WWII, he studied mechanical engindeering and began a long career at Boeing. Currently, he is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels – despite being older than all but one recipient. At the SeaTac Senior Program, he helps set up lunch, square dances, participates in support groups, flies remote control vehicles and leads the Nintendo Wii bowling and golf group. In 2007, he was appointed by the Mayor of SeaTac to chair the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee where he advocates on behalf of seniors. His nominator describes him as “a wonderful example of living life to the fullest, no matter what age you are.”

If you didn’t get a chance to nominate someone you know, you’ll have another opportunity to submit a nomination next year. We hope to see you at the 2018 IPAA celebration!

2016 Inspire Positive Aging Awards

2016 IPAA Recipients

Inspire Positive Aging Awards 2016

Community Service

Richard (‘Dick”) Body

Richard BodyDick’s volunteer experience has included three Sound Generations programs, Hyde Shuttle, Volunteer Transportation and Meals on Wheels, South King Fire and Rescue, and Des Moines/Normandy Park Senior Activity Center.

With the South King Fire and Rescue Department, Dick is the designated volunteer driver for their 1941 Chevrolet fire truck. Many a summer weekend, Dick and his faithful stuffed Dalmatian, Hydrant, attend community festivals, farmers markets, parades and senior centers. Every July, Dick hosts a drawing for one lucky senior from our senior center to win a ride in the antique fire truck for our community’s annual Waterland Parade. Dick also delivers interdepartmental mail for all eight fire stations on a weekly basis.

Dick wears MANY hats at the Des Moines/Normandy Park Senior Activity Center. He is a volunteer driver for day trips, helping area seniors enjoy all the fun places to visit and explore in the Pacific Northwest. He is the official “carpenter,” making a beautiful table rack for the center, repairing TV trays, donating wood sailboat mobiles and ornate memory boxes to the annual auction. Every Thursday since 2003, Dick has served his Meals on Wheels route, packing and delivering meals.

As his nominator said: “He doesn’t just do his job, he goes the extra mile to bring a smile, wipe a tear, make a child laugh, a dog wag its tail, a homebound senior feel special and loved.”

Health & Wellness

Geraldine Allsopp

Gerri AllsoppGerri is an inspiration to many, many people — in her community, in her church, at the YMCA where she exercises, in the music community, and with generations of young people. Everyone who knows her just says: “WOW!” She is everything we all wish to be: healthy, active, involved, capable, and flexible. She has a cheerful spirit and gentle soul, takes on new adventures, and always embraces life.

Her first love is music. In the past she was the first choir director at, Normandy Park UCC. She taught music at North Hill Elementary school and continues to give piano and voice lessons. She loves to cook, entertain, host functions, host visiting musicians, work in her beautiful gardens, and take yoga classes every week. At Normandy Park Congregational UCC, she is a member of the choir (acting as director occasionally), serves on committees, helps in Vacation Bible School, and plays the piano at the monthly community meals.

Her nominator says, “I am in her yoga classes and love doing yoga with Gerri. Just watching her perform the asanas encourages me to keep going towards the goal of being a flexible, graceful, strong 93 year old! Her instructors and classmates are also in awe. In other words, Gerri has boundless energy and gives all of us hope — that we, too, can age gracefully with a full meaningful life.”

Intergenerational Impact

Dr. Dominick Minotti (79)

Dr. Dominic MinottiDr. Minotti is a retired physician and Army Colonel who is an inspiration to all because of his energy, drive and dedication to serving people in four different generations. He has served for many years as a volunteer board member for Gay City Health Project on Capitol Hill and is passionate about youth outreach.

In addition, he volunteered for many years for Seattle Central College’s Compass program, and continues to tutor several special needs youth and young adults with their academic work. He mentors them in setting higher expectations of themselves and developing greater skills in self-sufficiency in their journeys to independence.

Nick has also helped improve the health of low income young and older adults with serious mental illness by serving as Chair of Navos’ Capital Campaign Major Gifts Committee. He provided the administrative support for the St. James Children’s Music Program for years and still volunteers for concerts and provides support to the music office at St. James Cathedral. Finally, he sings in St. James’ nationally acclaimed choir and serves as a board member for the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington.

His nominator said, “Nick seeks out ways to help individuals with special challenges: helping a younger person coming out of jail to establish a home and job; helping someone lost in the foster care system since early childhood to establish stability and a career in adulthood; accompanying friends to major medical consultations in order to explain what has transpired and assist them in making decisions about care; and serving on the advisory council to establish support for older adult LGBT folks.”

Advocacy & Activism

Fai Coffin (76)

A lifelong activist for peace, justice, and community understanding, Fai has demonstrated continuing efforts to promote inclusiveness and connection, especially for women, elders, working people, lesbians, and communities of color. Through her work at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, she has built bridges and encouraged supportive networking as well as building connections through activities that are just plain fun.

Fai is an ardent supporter of Gullah Days in Columbia City, the Life Enrichment Book Store, the Community Alliance for Social Justice, and the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, where she has given art classes in paper folding for many years. Her matchless gift to Elder Lesbians in SE Seattle has been ALISS (Aging Lesbians in SE Seattle). They meet monthly in the Senior Center and have movie nights or potlucks in between in various venues. Through ALISS, separate groups have flourished including “End of Life” Issues, “Helping Hands”, and “Political Empowerment”.

Her nominator said, “Fai is always FUN, but as an outgrowth of her continued inspiration, which is Fai just being Fai, we are discovering new ways of belonging, perhaps the essence of health and contentment.”

Lifelong Learning

Barbara “BJ” Johnson (95)

Barbara JohnsonBarbara is the most senior of the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center’s Hula group: the Kupunas. A Kupuna, a Hawaiian word, “is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader”. Barbara joined the group when she was 87 and celebrated her 95th birthday this year. She practices every week and performs with the group at least two times a year. Her infectious smile and positive attitude is an inspiration for all 15 members, and mesmerizes audience members with her grace.

Despite two hip surgeries and surviving lung cancer (although she never smoked), Barb loves to dance. When she was in her 80s, her daughters gave her tap shoes and a tap platform. Little did they know that she would tap dance for hours at a time. She then joined the Kupuna Hula group at the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center.

Her nominator said, “It is a joy to watch Barb dance. Her love of Hula and the delight she has in life shines through. She is such an inspiration to all of the Kupunas: we aspire to dance like her until we are 95+ years old and to enjoy every facet of life like Barb. She is truly the most beautiful and inspirational senior one could ever meet!”

2016 Nominees

Claire Anderson, Char Ashcraft, William Beck, Genevieve Benjamin, Norberto “Kuyabert” Caoili, Jean Carroll, Jim McClaine, Pat Cranston, Dagmar Cronn, April Eng, Rosita Farinas, Mollie Fitzsimons, Melinda and Barry Franklin, Zoe Freeman, Mary Fry, Carolyn Geyman, Patricia “Patti” Gibbs, Jeff Guite, Howard Hansen, Sylvia Haven, Dori Johanson, Isabel Jones, Pil Jung Kim, Ann King, Harriet Leonard, Russell Lundwall, Jerry Lloyd, Erlinda Lorenzo, Gloria “Jean” Matthews, Cheryl McDaniel, Pragmacio “Boyd” Quinanola, Barbara Reul, Juana Royster, Gloria Sandoz, Sharon Schaffner, Vernette Stowers, Ruth Vogel, Barbara “Barbie” Whorton, Elaine Williams.