, pub-2480664471547226, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
Home » » OFA Celebrates 50 Years of Service

OFA Celebrates 50 Years of Service

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 6/7/24 | 6/7/24

By Mary A. Crisafulli

DELHI - Delaware County Office of the Aging (OFA) celebrated 50 years of service on May 30 at SUNY Delhi. The invitation-only event hosted over 100 individuals, said OFA Director Wayne Shepard. In 1974 when OFA was developed, Shepard said the goal was to improve the quality of life for the older community members. “The goal is the same fifty years later,” he said.

Shepard gave some history of the office starting with acknowledging Neil Lane as first director. When OFA started Delaware County had a population of 45,311, which is similar to today which is 44,955. Although the population has remained around the same, Shepard said in 1974 only 19% were over 60, while today that number is over 32%. 

Shepard also took the time to advocate for the importance of senior volunteering. “You can make a difference by contributing your time, energy and talents to make your community a better place to live,” he said. Shepard argued that volunteering is a wonderful way to promote good health and happiness. “Volunteering can decrease the risk for depression as you connect with other people, and bring you joy and happiness,” he said.

Attendees were graced with a speech from Thomas Briggs, former OFA director from 1983 to 2011. Briggs worked his way up to the director position but began serving the county in 1975 to help market the newly formed agency. “I’m proud of what my team has accomplished turing my tour of duty when I was employed with the county,” he said, “I’m equally as proud of what Wayne Shepard and his staff and volunteers have done to maintain the legacy of service above self that I think describes how this agency interacts with those who access our services.” 

Briggs gave some history of the office development and cultural norms of the time. He said that the percentage of those aged 65 and older was significantly lower in the 70s, “the primary reason for this is that people didn’t last as long.” He went on to explain that many life-saving medical procedures and drugs were unavailable. Briggs said when he started at OFA, “There were several houses without running water,” and seven with dirt floors. Briggs said his first marketing tasks included writing newsletters with information about social security, hypothermia advice, and good dietary practices. The office and services only grew from there, Briggs explained. 

Delaware County Supervisors Chair and Bovina Supervisor Tina Molé said, “The Office for the Aging means a great deal to me personally and I am thrilled to support all efforts made to make aging in place a reality for so many in Delaware County.” Molé went on to commend the OFA department and all they have done as well as acknowledge the senior population. “I truly believe we need to learn from the older generations and their experiences in an effort to continue to make the future a better place for our younger generations.”

Remember to Subscribe!
Subscription Options
Share this article :
Like the Post? Do share with your Friends.


Post a Comment