"I lost my daughter at 39 years of age and the night before she died she called me to her bedside and there I agreed to help the youth of this country. . . . So far I have helped to send 19 kids through college," said 85-year-old Joseph Mountney of Baltimore as he accepted an Outstanding Senior Citizens award last week.
Kenneth Buker, 86, lost his eyesight five years ago but continued his work in the community. He said he was following an example set by his father and grandfather.
"I received my inspiration for public work from my father. He was a minister of three churches and superintendent of 11 one-room schools. . . . He was that way because of his father, who always looked after the hungry people on a produce route," said the Greenbelt resident.
Buker was a minister with the Disciple of Christ Christian Church for 34 years until his retirement in 1964. He is a member of the Masonic Lodge, Lions Club, Knights of the Roundtable, American Legion, Greenbelt Historical Society, and Greenbelt Park and Recreational Advisory Board. He is a unit commissioner for the Boy Scouts and was chosen as Greenbelt's Citizen of the Year in 1976.
Mountney and Buker were among nine award recipients at the Maryland Jaycees' and Jayceettes' sixth annual Outstanding Senior Citizens Banquet in Beltsville Saturday. Seventy-four senior citizens from 43 communities throughout the state were nominated.
The seven other outstanding senior citizens were: G. Wilbur Boller, 63, of Gaithersburg; Ruth Busch, 73, of Hagerstown; Lester Citron, 72, of Greenbelt; Opal Delancey, 73, of Rockville; Margaret C. Jones, 75, of Frostburg; Mary O'Hare, 69, of Hyattsville; and Ailene Stamper, 63, of Prince Frederick.
O'Hare, who recently resigned as chief judge of the Orphan Court in Prince George's County, was unable to attend the ceremony, as was Citron.
O'Hare's daughter, Terry Johnson, accepted the award for her mother. "My mother just had to resign due to ill health, but she said the thing that will keep her going is to help others," said Johnson.
Letters of congratulations from Nancy Reagan and Sen. Charles Mathias (R-Md.) were read to the group.
In honor of the event, Gov. Harry Hughes declared Feb. 20 Senior Citizens Appreciation Day. The proclamation was read by William Aleshire, who, with Bobbi Donley, organized the program.
Attending the banquet were U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, Lt. Gov. Samuel Bogley and Parris Glendenning, Prince George's County Council member.
"As the federal government moves more (responsibility for social programs) to the state and local level, groups like this are going to be more important to help take up the slack. . . . We're going to have to encourage people power," said Bogley.
"They (government officials) can debate all they want at the state and local level, but the point is that the money's been cut and we're going to have to work arm-in-arm with groups like the Jaycees," he said.
In his keynote address, Hoyer, referring to the ancient Greek king, said, "Like Ulysses of old, you are telling all of us that perhaps experience is the best teacher. Ulysses once wrote, 'How sad it is to rust unburnished, not to shine in use.' We honor you today because, like Ulysses, you have chosen to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."
Nominees for the awards were: Jerry Acker, Katie Basinger, Sara Rosenbaum Beneman, Ethel Bird, James Bishop, Doris Lanahan Bowie, Mary Bowie, Mary Campball Brown, Viola Brown, Henry Buese, Steve Carroll, Laura Carver, Elizabeth Colnughi, Lottie Cooper, Susanna Kyner Cristofane, Rodney Crowther, Charles Davis, Anna DiMaio, Dora Doane, John Downes, Bertha Elton, C. William Elton, Polly Ely, John Estes, Ethel Foreman, Ruth Fowel, C. William Gilchrist, Charles Hendry, Frank Henneberger, Mildred Hines, Florence Holly, Martin Holly, Elsie Houk, Margaret Jones, Arthur Katz, Lem Kirk, Ed Klitch, Emily Leatherman, Clara LeFew, Harold Ludwig, Ruth McLaine, Herman Miller, Alice Morelock, Corrine Murphy, Florence Musgrove, Ralph Noble, Miriam Parizer, Daisy Irene Parker, Ann Lesan Peters, Rosemary Petonic, Agnes Springer Phillips, Frank Pleyo, George Price, George Reichle, Clare Romack, Faye Sperry, Vail Sperry, Marie Sterling, Isabell Thomas, Wesley Tyron, Noah Warehime, John Robert Wells, Arthur White, Oliver Williams and Booker Wilson.