LITA (Love is the Answer) honored 17 volunteers -- including Josie and Michael Pometta and their dog Baga of Larkspur and Jan Carr of Corte Madera -- and one elder care industry executive for service to residents of long-term care faciltiies at the organization’s annual volunteer recognition dinner and benefit in San Rafael on May 19.
The Pomettas and Baga, a rescue dog, who visit at Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation in Larkspur received a Rusty Award. Carr, who visits at The Redwoods Senior Community in Mill Valley, received a five-year service award.
Cathy Sedlock, a second grade teacher at St. Marks School in San Rafael and a resident of that city, was honored with the Pete Croughan Award named after a long-time volunteer, board member and supporter of LITA. It is given annually to a volunteer who shows outstanding commitment and dedication to LITA’s mission. Sedlock is the charter teacher of LITA’s Bridging Generation program that arranges for elementary classes to visit monthly during the school year with residents of retirement communities. Her class, which visits at the Aldersly Garden Retirement Community in San Rafael, is one of eight classes that visit facilities throughout Marin.
John Zikmund, executive director of Atria Tamalpais Creek Assisted Living in Novato and a Napa resident, was awarded the inaugural Aline Shaw LITA Angel Award for promoting and supporting LITA’s mission of improving the quality of life for seniors in long-term care facilities and for delivering a quality environment for residents of his community. Aline Shaw was LITA’s long-time executive director who passed away earlier this year.
Four other volunteers and their rescue dogs received the Rusty Award for visiting residents of facilities throughout Marin: Stephanie O’Dell and “Lucky” of San Rafael visit at Villa Marin in San Rafael; Jeanne O’Mahony and “Dash” of Novato visit at Villa Marin; and Carol Gleeson and “Slippers” and “Eva” of San Francisco visit at Marin Convalescent & Rehabilitation Hospital in Tiburon.
Ten other volunteers were recognized for long-time service visiting at retirement communities, skilled nursing facilities and board and care homes across the county. The 15-year award went to Cathy Spratling of Tiburon (The Redwoods Senior Community in Mill Valley). Ten-year awards went to Matt White of San Rafael (Northgate Care Center in San Rafael) and Nancy Filmer of San Anselmo (WindChime of Marin Memory Care in Kentfield). Five-year awards went to Eileen Alexander of Mill Valley (The Redwoods); Glen Auld of San Rafael (Nazareth House in San Rafael); Dan Hodul of Fairfax (Stockstill House in Point Reyes Station); Kelly Finnegan and her three children of Novato (Atria Tamalpais Creek); Cliff Nelson of Santa Rosa (Novato Healthcare Center); Bob Halligan of San Rafael (The Rafael); and Forrest Murray of Novato (Pine Ridge Care Center in San Rafael) .
“These dedicated individuals bring the gift of friendship and love to dozens of seniors, many of whom have no other visitors or connection to the outside world,” said Jenay Cottrell, LITA’s executive director. “They exemplify what our organization is all about and we are so thankful for all that they do.”
Established in 1975, LITA currently has some 400 volunteers who visit on a regular basis with more than 350 residents of Marin’s long-term care facilities. LITA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for persons living in skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities and retirement residences throughout Marin. LITA promotes friendships that lessen isolation and loneliness, and increases public awareness of the needs of residents of long-term care facilities through its five programs: One-to-One Friends, The Pet Connection, Bridging Generations, LITA Families and Holiday Gifts for the Elderly.