Department on Aging Announces Senior Hall of Fame Inductees;Presents Governor's Unique Achievement Awards

Awards Highlight Service to the Community

SPRINGFIELD - October 23, 2013. The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., today recognized the 2013 Senior Hall of Fame Inductees. Recipients of the Governor's Unique Achievement Award were also acknowledged during the ceremony held at the Executive Mansion in Springfield. Each year, the department hosts the ceremony to recognize older adults for the special contribution they have made.

"I am pleased to recognize the 2013 Senior Hall of Fame inductees and recipients of the Governor's Unique Achievement Award. We thank you for your individual accomplishments that have helped to better our communities and the state," said Director Holton.

The Senior Hall of Fame was created by the Legislature in 1994 to honor Illinois residents age 65 and older who excel in the categories of community service, education, performance/graphic arts, and the labor force, in regard to their employment. Each inductee is chosen through a statewide nomination and selection process. Since then, 91 people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame including this year's winners.

The recipients of the Governor's Unique Achievement Award are nominated by Area Agencies on Aging. The award recognizes groups, individuals and programs that make a positive impact on the lives of seniors in Illinois.

The 2013 Senior Hall of Fame inductees are:

Dr. Philip Carlin, 85, of Chicago, is the 2013 inductee in the Education category. Born to parents who were educators, Dr. Carlin has been teaching for more than 60 years. His career is described as having one constant which is love - the love of, and from, his students. A World War II veteran, he worked 22 years for Chicago Public Schools and continued another 25 years at his alma mater Loyola University. He still advises and presides over alumni functions. Described as warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring, Dr. Carlin always receives the highest marks of evaluation. His last full-time graduate class gave him an approval rating of 100 percent.

Dr. Russell R. Dohner, 88, of Rushville, is the 2013 inductee of the Labor Force category. Dr. Dohner has been the town doctor since 1955. He still makes house calls, patient rounds at the local hospital and nursing home, and is known to charge patients only $5.00 for the entire cost of visits. Considered a hero by many, this World War WII veteran says if he can do something for people, he will do it. Examples include his donation of several thousand trees to the community, and recently giving money to create a walking path in the local park. Dr. Dohner also served as this year's Illinois State Fair Parade Grand Marshall.

Sam Franco, 88, of Chicago, is the 2013 inductee of the Performance/Graphic Arts category. Franco has been teaching music for the past 60 years. As a young man he studied with master musicians who emigrated from Italy. During his service in WWII, he was lead musician and big band leader for the Army Air Corp. Division. Franco has excelled in both the technical study of music as well as music theory. His pro-bono generosity has benefitted many students who otherwise may not have had the chance to learn an instrument. In addition to his gift of music, Franco is also an accomplished painter and sculptor.

Jere J. Wilmering, Sr., 77, of Fairview Heights, is the 2013 inductee of the Community Service category. According to his nomination, if there is a cause, Wilmering will find a way to help. He has served on Boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, and Arts Council in addition to many others. He serves as a mentor and has been recognized for various honors notably as Businessman of the Year and several state awards for volunteerism. One example of his community service was a project where he raised $150,000 and coordinated 2,500 volunteers to construct a playground.

The 2013 Unique Achievement Awardees are:

Neighborhood House Association, of Peoria, was nominated by Central Illinois Agency on Aging. For more than 38 years, Neighborhood House has operated the Meals on Wheels home delivery program. Several years ago they also started offering meals for congregate sites. They have a strong volunteer base which supports efforts to provide more than 88,000 meals to older adults in the City of Peoria; 15,000 congregate site meals and 29,000 home-delivered meals in Tazewell; and 8,000 congregate and 25,000 home-delivered meals in rural Peoria. All these meals delivered from the central kitchen on Matthew Street.

Providing Access to Help (PATH), nominated by East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging. For 42 years, PATH has been a community resource. Through its call center and crisis hotline, staff provides critical services to adults age 60 and older and their caregivers. They intervene for people who are experiencing homelessness and depression, and investigate cases of abuse/neglect. PATH currently serves, Christian, DeWitt, Livingston, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Ogle, Sangamon and Winnebago Counties.

Nan Anderson, of Evanston, nominated by AgeOptions. Described as an active volunteer, Anderson serves on AgeOptions' Advisory Council; volunteers with City of Evanston Commission on Aging, Make Medicare Work Coalition to name a few, and is the state contact for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. She served as director of the Evanston/North Shore YWCA establishing a domestic violence shelter and has been active with the Girl Scouts of America. Anderson is a true advocate.

Sandra Hakanson, nominated by the Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois. As director of the Mascoutah Senior Services Program, Hakanson's leadership has made the senior center the hopping place in town and her recent fundraiser has put it on the map. Her idea was to sell what is described as a spicy calendar featuring mature models, including the town's mayor who posed wearing only a hat and bow tie. The first printing sold out in less than a week. Hakanson's idea raised money to help pay for the center's programs and services.

L. Goebel Patton, of Franklin County, nominated by Egyptian Area Agency on Aging. Patton currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Area Agency on Aging but his involvement has included work with the American Cancer Society, Lions Club, Salvation Army, SIU Foundation and West Frankfort's Men's Prayer Breakfast. An educator who taught for more than 50 years, he helped establish the West Frankfort Unit School District and served at its first superintendent. Still actively serving, Patton celebrates his 100th birthday October 24, 2013.

Jacksonville Area Senior Center nominated by the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland. The senior center provides activities and serves as a congregate meal site for its senior members. The center is financially self-sustaining due to fundraising efforts and donations which has motivated members to focus on ways to help others. Members have donated personal care items, magazines and neck coolers for troops of the armed forces serving in the Middle East; collected canned goods for a local food bank; and made quilts for a program to benefit children who are ill or dealing with tragedy.

About the Illinois Department on Aging

The Department's mission is to serve and advocate for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life. For more information, call the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966 (or TTY for the hearing impaired at 888-206-1327), or log on to the website at


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