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The original item was published from 5/8/2020 4:45:00 PM to 7/2/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Office for Aging

Posted on: May 8, 2020

[ARCHIVED] 2020 New York State Senior of the Year Awardee

2020 State Senior of the Year Awardee Ouderkirk

Congratulations Carolyn Ouderkirk!

Carolyn Ouderkirk was born in Massena, New York, to Maurice and Irene Dewey. Her first husband, Richard Aulicino, passed away in 1992. Her second husband, Eugene Ouderkirk, passed away in 2015. She has one brother, Richard, who lives in Indiana with his wife, Joan. Carolyn also has one nephew and four nieces who reside in Indiana. In the past, she lived in Florida for five years, as well as many years in southeastern New York and later, Guilderland. In 1995, she moved to Fort Ann.

Carolyn started her career as a teacher at West Point Elementary School in West Point, New York. After teaching at West Point, she worked for a boat-building company in Florida, followed by positions as office manager for two law firms in Albany.

Carolyn has been volunteering for 25 years in various capacities. Her nominators say, “She has been a great asset to the Queen Anne Senior Citizens and the Fort Ann community.”

Carolyn is the secretary of the Old Stone House Library Committee and is active with its preschool and summer programs for the children of Fort Ann. She belongs to a book club that meets monthly at the library to discuss and share books.

She is also the secretary and a founding member of the Fort Ann Historical Society. She played an integral role in researching, editing and promoting the publishing of the book “Fort Ann: 300 Years of History” in 2007.

She is the “official” typist for the Queen Anne Senior Citizens, actively participating in their many activities. She once hosted a baby shower for the unwed mothers living at the Wait House in Glens Falls, collecting many items of clothing, as well as diapers and toys.

Carolyn is also a member of the Fort Ann Rotary Club, another organization whose members are very involved in the community. Activities include serving a graduation breakfast, planning Trivia Night, and participating in Photos with Santa and Operation Santa Claus. Additional-ly, taking photos at the school’s annual Valentine’s Day dance, as well as providing dictionaries and thesauruses to the elementary school students. Carolyn also donates food and funds to the Fort Ann Central School backpack program and the Cornerstone Church food pantry.

In early 2001, Carolyn had begun volunteering with the Red Cross. She had trained to help during local fires, flooding and other emergencies. She also served as the editor of the Red Cross monthly newsletter. One week after 9/11, she was sent to New York City where she spent three weeks serving meals to the families of the victims of the World Trade Center disaster. She returned during the Thanks-giving holiday and spent another three weeks at Ground Zero, serving meals to the workers. Following Hurricane Katrina, she went south and helped to rebuild damaged homes.

When Carolyn was asked, what advice she has for other New Yorkers about volunteering, she stated, “Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your enthusiastic spirit, which is a priceless gift. What you’ll get back will be immeasurable!”.

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