Winners of the Prince William Area Agency on Aging's Older Worker's Contest celebrated last week at a picnic at the Senior Center in Woodbridge.
Area employers nominated employees age 55 or older in two award categories: oldest employee and most valuable employee. Winners were chosen from the western and eastern ends of the county and each received a brass framed certificate from the agency.
William Alston, of Manassas, and Ida Katherine Savage, of Woodbridge, were chosen the Most Valuable Employees.
Alston, 68, an employee of the Prince William County Community Services Board, Prince William Club, has never been late for work during his 12 years as a driver for the club. He is responsible for driving clients, mostly chronically mentally ill adults, to and from the clubhouse, doctor appointments, volunteer jobs and various county agencies.
Alston also has helped keep the vehicles in good mechanical condition.
According to his employer, Alston also takes pride in the appearance of the vehicles and takes them to the car wash when they need sprucing up. At one point, he was the only driver for the club for six years.
Alston, whose family lives outside the county, considers his passengers and fellow seniors "my family".
Savage, 68, works for Wall Colors Inc., a wallcovering business in Woodbridge. She manages the office, answering telephones, scheduling work and ordering supplies.
She is the liaison between the customers and contractors. She is prompt and often stays beyond her scheduled working hours to help when requested.
She recently completed a word processing course at Northern Virginia Community College to enhance her skills.
Josie Marshall and Charles Miladantri were named the Oldest Workers.
Marshall, 77, works at the door collecting tickets for Loews Theatre in Manassas. She has been with the theater for almost 19 years and is always looking for ways to promote the movies shown there, according to her employers. She offers advice to the younger employees and information on the daily operation of the business. Her husband is a relief manager at the theater.
Miladantri, 75, of Woodbridge, is an employee of Prince William County, General Services Mailroom. He is a mail courier and has worked for the county for five years. Miladantri has enjoyed rebuilding and refurbishing cars.
Annie Smallwood was honored with a special award. Smallwood, 70, a cook at the Senior Center, is considered the life blood of the center's kitchen. She arrives at work early and stays "till I'm done."
The center serves lunch each weekday and also provides Meals on Wheels. Smallwood volunteered to work without pay at the center when the center needed another cook.