Elderly remembered for life achievements

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AUGUSTA – Gov. John Baldacci recently joined the Maine Health Care Association in honoring the accomplishments of 40 people living in the state’s long-termcare facilities.

The association presented certificates of lifetime achievement during a ceremony held in the Hall of Flags at the State House. The ceremony was part of a photography exhibit titled “Remember ME.” It featured the black-and-white photographs and biographies of residents living in long-term care and assisted-living facilities.

The primary purpose of the Remember ME project is to salute the people who have spent the best years of their lives supporting their families, building their communities and serving their state and country. The project also urges the public to remember the selfless contributions of the elderly and disabled citizens who now depend on others for their care and safety.

The photography exhibit included the photos and biographies of residents from Madawaska to York, Eastport to South Paris. The residents are decorated war heroes and community leaders, including police, teachers, physicians and small business owners.

Geneva Kirk of Clover Living Center in Auburn was honored for her leadership in and commitment to Maine’s education system on state and local levels.

A graduate of Bates College, Kirk taught in the Lewiston school system for more than 30 years, authored numerous publications about the history of Lewiston’s government and wrote a text about Maine government for secondary students.

In addition to her leadership on numerous associations and boards, she was a founding board member of the Maine Technical College System and guided its development from 1986 to 1991. A member of the University of Maine board of trustees, Kirk proved instrumental in working for the creation of the Lewiston-Auburn College of the University of Southern Maine.

She spearheaded the development of the First Call program with the United Way of Androscoggin County, a comprehensive information and referral phone service that serves as a model for other communities. The United Way Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Kirk in 1995, and the annual award now bears her name in remembrance of her good works.

Association President and CEO Richard A. Erb said, “Just because these residents are less visible in the community doesn’t mean that we should forget their important contributions to our state and country. After giving to others all of their lives, they now depend on us for their daily medical and social care and we take that responsibility very seriously. This photographic tribute and recognition ceremony is our way of remembering them and saying thank you.”

The Maine Health Care Association is a nonprofit trade association, representing more than 250 providers of long-term care services to the state’s elderly and disabled residents.

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