On Friday morning, May 10, ten outstanding men and women were honored by induction into the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Over 230 community advocates, elected and appointed officials joined the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County in celebrating the achievements of the group whose exceptional local volunteer efforts merited their selection for the unique recognition.
Broward Vice Mayor Dale V.C. Holness joined Master of Ceremonies, Joel S. Fass, Esq., and the Aging and Disability Resource Center Executive Director, Charlotte Mather-Taylor, in welcoming the new Hall of Famers whose names are inscribed on a commemorative plaque, which hangs in the Broward County Government Building.
The new electees include: Barbara (Bobbi) Arnold, 78, Hollywood; Beauregard Cummings, 93, Fort Lauderdale; Gail Gannotta, 65, Pompano Beach; Ruby Hutson, 81, Lauderdale Lakes; Jean Merget, 73, Fort Lauderdale; Art Schmall, 80, Margate; Florie Scott, 82, Lauderdale Lakes; Carl Shechter, 92, Pembroke Pines; Harold Smith, 95, Davie; and Aline Zucker, 83, Cooper City.
The following attached documents will provide you with their bios and contact information.
Art Schmall – 80
Art Schmall is 80 years young and VITAS Healthcare Superhero! A Patient Care Volunteer, ‘Amazing Art’ says, “It’s a privilege to visit patients and be part of their lives. It’s like I’m working for God. A natural talker, I know how to listen as well.”
Volunteer Services Manager, Veronica Palomino explains, “Art speaks to new volunteers during orientation inspiring others to volunteer.” A Navy veteran and retired business owner, Art carries a caseload of 33-35 patients, spending an hour with each person.
Ali Leon, Volunteer Coordinator says, “In his eight years, Art has given more than 7,000 hours of comfort, respect and kindness to many patients.” Mr. Schmall works with nurses, hospice aides, social workers and chaplains. His meticulous, patient notes contribute to overall patient care. Associate General Manager, Donna Borland explains, “Art’s been Volunteer of the Year many times. Our corporate leaders have honored him with the VITAS Best Recognition Award.”
When his wife became terminally ill with Alzheimer’s, VITAS helped. Art decided hospice was calling his heart. He sees patients whose families live out-of-town or only have rare visits. Some have no family. He is their ‘volunteer family.’ ‘Amazing Art’ is a senior superhero and merits recognition in the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Aline Zucker, Cooper City – 83
“The Head Huggers” is a true lifeline for many of the David Posnack Jewish Community Center members. Aline Zucker is the co-founder and leader of this group. Her husband had passed when this group formed 7 years ago, and through her own experience, she understands the impact that the group has on the members as a source of support, during good and challenging times.
All group volunteers are over 60; they meet for 4 hours, every Thursday throughout the year, and have knitted over 30,000 pieces since their inception. Ms. Zucker delivers the items to area hospitals in Broward, and through Aline’s outreach efforts; all of the yarn and supplies are donated.
The group, as a whole, feels a great sense of pride that their work is having a positive impact on the community. They have received numerous letters and accolades from patients, nurses, doctors and other hospital personnel that attest to the importance of their work and outreach. The Head Huggers also received the Congressional Medal of Honor, presented by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, during the group’s anniversary celebration 2 years ago at the DPJCC.
The Head Huggers would not exist without Aline’s passion, leadership, diligence and determination to knit and crochet with a purpose. Aline Zucker is a true inspiration to the group, the staff of the DPJCC, and all the people she touches at the hospitals because her mission sees no age nor obstacles.
Aline Zucker is a true volunteer role model who delivers outstanding dedication and commitment to DPJCC and the Broward community, and merits recognition in the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Gail Gannotta – Sunrise – 65
Gail Gannotta pioneered the Broward County Aging and Disability Resource Center’s Senior Intervention and Education Program in 1992, and has remained its sole staff member and inspiration since that date. She is a reality that cannot be replicated.
In addition to her daily job, Gail volunteers her time, talents, and most significantly compassion by obtaining and providing much needed donated medical equipment and other supplies such as hospital beds, wheelchairs, shower seats, adult diapers, and commodes, to needy seniors and disabled persons. Gail responds, on a 24/7 basis, quickly and appropriately to Broward’s most vulnerable seniors, performing home and homeless, and hospital visits, providing food, non-prescriptive supplies, and facilitating access to community resources. Gail has served thousands of elders during her 27 years of service in Broward County.
On Saturday and Sunday you will find Ms. Gannotta at a condominium community or a church providing education and information on resources available to them. Ms. Gannotta feels her main purpose is to support seniors’ efforts to “Age in Place” with dignity, rather than face premature institutionalization. Her outreach has reduced recidivism into hospitals for many elders.
Gail Gannotta is truly a remarkable person and a helpful, caring, knowledgeable advocate, who makes a difference every day in the lives of others, and is an excellent candidate for the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Beauregard Cummings – Fort Lauderdale – 93
Beauregard Cummings is a lifelong resident and product of Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Cummings has been involved in various capacities throughout the Fort Lauderdale, Broward County area. He served as the Executive Director of Operation MOVE (a jobs development and placement project), Executive Director of the School Desegregation Project, and Senior YMCA Director of the L.A. Lee Branch YMCA.
Beauregard’s passion for involvement in all facets of the community directed his energies to become a co-founder of the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and co-founder of its youth group, the Psi Kats. He serves as a Trustee at St. John Methodist Church and First Baptist Church Piney Grove. Mr. Cummings’ involvements include Chairman of the Fort Lauderdale Community Development Board, as well as memberships on several other boards in the City of Fort Lauderdale; the Cemetery Board, the Historical Society Board and Fort Lauderdale Cetrum Sharrett (a community development planning group).
Mr. Cummings has been a candidate for public offices; the City Commission of Fort Lauderdale, and the Broward County School Board. This tireless community organizer has given much to Broward County and continues to do so in his own unselfish manner. For his dedication and his contributions to the greater community, Beauregard Cummings is an ideal candidate for the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Barbara “Bobbi” Arnold – Hollywood – 78
The Meals for Companion Pets Program was created in 1999 when home delivery meal volunteers found many seniors with pets, were feeding their hungry pet before they fed themselves. In order to prevent this, home-bound and disabled senior pet owners needed assistance with pet provisions.
A team of Meals On Wheels Volunteers stepped up to the plate. The MFCP program began in the backyard of Bobbi Arnold, a long serving MOW Volunteer. She began a pet food drive and promoted the program by recruiting more individuals to help deliver the donated pet food to clients struggling to care for their pets.
The demand for the program grew steadily and today, there is a team of 80 volunteers, sorting and delivering pet food each month to more than 114 pets in 75 homes across the MOW service area of Broward County.
Ms. Arnold’s dedication is evident as she continues to champion the program year after year, securing financial and in-kind gifts from VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital as well as other donors.
Without Bobbi’s passion for this program, it would not be the tremendous success that it is today. For her caring, sharing and dedication, Barbara (Bobbi) Arnold merits election in the 2019 Senior Hall of Fame.
Ruby Hutson – Lauderdale Lakes – 81
Ruby Hutson has been a Foster Grandparent Program Volunteer for 7 years and has provided 8,400 hours of service. Ruby is fondly referred to as “Grandma Ruby”, and currently serves at Castle Hill Elementary school where she provides tutoring and mentoring to students 4 days a week, 5 hours each day. She also has assisted at several other Broward elementary schools. Ruby’s service has impacted thousands of students since entering the Program.
Ruby supports the teacher in the classroom with various tasks such as reading in groups to the children, helping them with spelling and demonstrating positive classroom behavior.
Grandma Ruby is a role model and a inspiration to her school community because of her perseverance. Grandma Ruby has battled cancer twice during her time of service, yet continues her commitment to guiding youth at school. Ruby’s selflessness motivates students to emulate her in their social/emotional development thus, increasing their academic engagement. Ms. Ruby Hutson is an admirable candidate for election to the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Jean Merget – Fort Lauderdale – 73
Jean has been a social worker at the Broward Health North, Memory Disorder Center since 1990. For the past 29 years, she has provided education, counseling and support to people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Jean’s day doesn’t end when she leaves the Center. For years she has facilitated a 20 hour evening education program, five times a year, and a bi-monthly evening support group for adult children and working caregivers. Ms. Merget has facilitated these programs without compensation.
Jean organizes and attends social get-together’s and holiday dinners for caregivers and their loved ones. Jean also accompanies families to facilities to choose the appropriate placement for their loved one. During her evenings and weekends she is available to assist families, often running errands for caregivers and providing family support. Ms. Merget has truly dedicated the past 29 years to caregivers and their loved ones. For her community engagement and dedication, Jean Merget merits election to the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Harold Smith – Davie – 95
Harold Smith is a selfless volunteer who has been serving Broward County inmates since moving to Broward in 2005. Harold is a Gideon, and visits them at Broward’s main jail every Saturday morning.
As part of his ministry to the inmates, Harold speaks with them and prays for them. He delivers scriptures and devotional magazines. He can oftentimes be found singing and dancing for the inmates as a way to bring them hope, encouragement, and laughter.
Mr. Smith has been faithfully serving in this capacity over the last 14 years. Even though he is much older now, Harold keeps on going! He has such a passion and compassion for the inmates that he meets each week, and never wants to let them down!
Harold is loved by many at the main jail. He is the epitome of a volunteer who has performed in a “highly commendable manner” in Broward County. Harold Smith is the perfect nominee and merits recognition in the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Florie Scott – Lauderdale Lakes – 82
Florie Scott is a volunteer in the The South Florida Institute on Aging Foster Grandparent Program, were she tutors and mentors children in Broward County Schools and childcare facilities. Ms. Scott has provided over 21 years of service to children in the Broward County community! She is the longest serving volunteer in the Program to date, and has provided over 26,000 hours of service.
Florie has served in various schools such as Northfork Elementary, Dillard Elementary, the YMCA, Lauderdale Lakes Library and other childcare centers. Currently, she serves at Ceressa’s Learning & Activity Center where she helps infant and toddlers increase their social and emotional development. Florie models behavior that sets the foundation for their early development.
Florie Scott’s long term dedication to serving children demonstrates her passion for making sure our youth have the tools they need for future success. At the age of 82, she continues her volunteerism in the community by sharing her wisdom to the students that she serves. Florie Scot is a role model worthy of election to the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.
Carl Shechter – Pembroke Pines – 92
Carl Shechter has been an active and engaged community leader since he first moved from New York to Pembroke Pines in 1988. He has twice served as President of the Hollybrook Golf and Tennis Club, was a ten year member of the Pembroke Pines Planning and Zoning Board and was elected three times to serve as Pembroke Pines City Commissioner representing District 1, serving as Vice Mayor in 2009, 2012, and 2016. He retired from the Commission on September 30, 2017, shortly after his 90th birthday.
Mr. Shechter was appointed to the Broward Health Council, Broward League of Cities Hurricane Preparedness Committee, and to the Florida League of Cities Municipal Service Delivery Council. He also served as Vice-Chairman of the Broward Ethics Revision Board.
In 2016, Carl was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Miramar-Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce, and in 2017, the Southwest Focal Point Senior Center was renamed the Carl Shechter Southwest Focal Point Senior Center Campus. He currently volunteers three times a week at the senior center as a Resource Coordinator assisting with members’ inquiries and guiding them to resources. He also facilitates a weekly discussion group that promotes awareness of relevant topics affecting seniors today. For his untiring community spirit and devotion, and service to the Center, Carl Shechter merits election into the Broward Senior Hall of Fame.