ASHLAND — Bob Frazier was a bit hesitant to accept his award. As a room of community leaders, fellow honorees and friends applauded, Frazier remained in his seat.
“You have to come up here,” Duanna Patton said gently, inviting him towards the podium.
Frazier was named this year’s Ashland County Outstanding Senior Citizen by the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging (AAA5). Patton, the AAA5’s CEO, presented him with the award during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
“Yesterday I was young and today I’m old,” Frazier mused as he stepped to the podium. The crowd chuckled.
Frazier said he didn’t feel deserving of the honor. His neighbor and pastor Luke Kelley disagreed.
“Around the neighborhood, he’s always helping mow people’s yards and helping take care of property,” Kelley said. “We joke around he’s got his own lawn service, but he doesn’t charge anything. He just helps out people that need it.”
Frazier enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during the Vietnam War. After that, he worked in construction for nearly 50 years.
Frazier continues to put his skills to use at Christ Community Evangelical Free Church, where he’s the prime laborer and coordinator of a remodeling project.
“There’s periods of times where he’s at church multiple days a week working,” Kelley said.
Frazier also volunteers with the church’s “helping hands” program, doing home repairs for seniors who can’t afford them. He’s also been head of the church’s buildings and grounds crew and plays bass guitar on the worship team.
Kelley said Frazier doesn’t do any of it for the recognition.
“When you see something that needs done and you help somebody out, I think it’s a good thing to do,” Frazier said. “I think that’s what we should all be doing.”
Third Street Family Health Services received the AAA5’s community service award. CEO Peggy Anderson accepted the award and congratulated all the senior citizen honorees.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for the service that the whole 210 member team does every day to serve the community,” Anderson said.
Other honorees hailed from across Ohio
The AAA5 presents nine Outstanding Senior Citizen awards every year, recognizing one person or couple from each county in its service area. The agency selected award winners based on the impact of their contributions and accomplishments within the community made after age 60.
“In a world that constantly evolves, these remarkable individuals have remained pillars of strength, showing us that age is not merely a number, but a testament to the experience, the challenges and triumphs that shape all of us,” Patton said.
The other winners are listed below:
William “Bill” Danuloff of Richland County. Danuloff was an eight year member of the AAA5 Foundation and helped facilitate the development of its Hawkins Corner facility.
Dennis and Alice Teynor of Crawford County. Dennis is a Navy veteran and finance officer for the American Legion Post 181. Alice is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and retired Crawford County Board of Elections worker. Dennis and Alice remain active in their community, often barbecuing chicken or grilling hotdogs for community fundraisers.
Joyce Ditz of Huron County. Ditz is the founder of Love Your Neighbor Norwalk, which brings residents together to talk about problems in their community and brainstorm solutions. Ditz became a deacon at her church, First Presbyterian, at the age of 83.
Sherry Williams of Knox County. Williams retired as president and CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. Williams continues to advocate for seniors through Prevent Blindness and serves on the Mental Health and Recovery Board for Licking and Knox Counties.
Fred & Margie Saull of Marion County. Both are retired educators who remain active in their community. Margie is the organizer of Honor Flight at Home, which recognizes veterans who cannot physically travel to Washington D.C. for an Honor Flight trip.
Raymond Dietz of Morrow County. Dietz was honored posthumously for his service to the community and its veterans. Dietz was involved in local fire services for more than 40 years. He was chief for the Braceville Fire Department for more than 20 years. Dietz was a member of the American Legion Post 710, where he served as post commander for 10 years. He was also on the board of Seniors on Center in Mount Gilead.
Leonard Skonecki of Seneca County. Skonecki was a longtime local news reporter in Fostoria, where he wrote positive human interest stories and profiles on local veterans. Skonecki volunteers with his local historical society, hosts a book club and places American flags at the graves of local veterans every May.Marilyn Baughman of Wyandot County, who attended the event in a sash and tiara. Baughman is a social butterfly and active member of her local senior center. She has volunteered for a variety of organizations in her community, including the local board of elections. Baughman has volunteered at her local hospital since 2007.