Helen G. Brown of Stroudsburg died two years ago at the age of 92. She was a vivacious teacher, author and environmentalist who shared her love of the Poconos and its history in seven books.
She was a community leader for decades and so beloved that the Monroe County Area Agency on Aging named an award after her.
The Helen G. Brown Quality of Life Award honors a person or group that enhances the lives of senior citizens.
This award is given annually by the Monroe County Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council to a person and/or organization who have contributed a program of excellence which enhances quality of life for Monroe County senior citizens.
This year, Helen Bott of Kresgeville, an RSVP volunteer, received the Helen G. Brown Quality of Life Award.
According to Joe Horn of Kresgeville and president of the Young at Heart Senior Club, who nominated Bott, says that she and Helen Brown's lives have many things in common.
Both ladies were interested in photography, travel, loved animals, were dedicated to the education of young people and volunteerism. Both ladies were well ahead of their time.
Helen Bott was born in Parlin, NJ. After grammar and high school she attended Dickinson College and graduated with a degree in chemistry and math. She married William Bott.
In her professional career, Helen rose to become head of the International Credit and Collection Department of Exxon Oil and Chemical Co. She was also chairman/chairwoman of the finance and credit International Corp F.C.I.B. and was selected to the board of directors.
Upon retirement Helen and Bill retired to the Poconos.
Bill and Helen were enjoying retirement until Bill had a depilating stroke. After a long period of home care it became necessary for Bill to become a resident at Brookmont Nursing Home.
After Bill's passing, Helen started to run Bingo for the residents at Brookmont.
For the last 18 years, Helen, with the help of volunteers she has recruited, runs Bingo twice a week every Monday and Friday. Most residents are wheelchair bound and one is blind.
In addition she was vice president of Young At Heart Senior Club for eight years, trip director for three years, chairperson of various committees, including Cake Lady (recruits members to bring cakes.)
"Helen is always available to take a friend or neighbor to a doctor appointment. Because of her dedication to young people, she is personally responsible for a $30,000 a year scholarship fund for the last 20 years at her alma mater. The college, her class mates and alumni planted a tree with a brass plaque in her honor," said Horn at the annual award's luncheon held at The Tannersville Inn.
Helen played racket ball well into her 80s with people half her age until an injury made her stop.
"If you see a stainless steel motorhome, the size of a bus with a beautiful mural of a tiger on the back, towing a Jeep, it will be Helen," said Horn as he introduced Bott.
She told the attendees that when she was at Exxon, she was the first woman to hold the job as head of the International Credit and Collection Department.
"I felt very fortunate to be selected," she says.
She added that today she is very happy to be helping people.
"I do play Bingo and it's been very gratifying to help others play. I only hope that when I get into the state where I need help, there will be help for me."
Ray and June Butler of Stroudsburg and Connie McCool of Stroudsburg, also RSVP volunteers, received the award this year with Bott.
Dan Ferguson, chairman of the MCAAA's Advisory Council recognized RSVP volunteers and special guests which included last year's recipients, Louis Vallenino and Barbara Seese, along with PA State Representatives Mario Scavello and John Siptroth, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Martin and Commissioners, Chairperson Susanne McCool, Vice Chairperson Theresa Merli and Commissioner Janet Weidensaul.
Vallenino has resigned from his position on the MCAAA's Advisory Council and was given recognition for having served on it for over 30 years.
The Monroe County Area Agency on Aging is devoted to strengthening family life, assisting individuals attaining or maintaining independence and self-care and protecting adults in danger of neglect, abuse or exploitation. It is staffed by professionals in the field of aging and with the guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.
It strives to improve the quality of life of Monroe County's older citizens through the coordination of exiting services and development of essential programs.
It is located at 724B Phillips St., Stroudsburg, 570-420-3735.
Volunteers of RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) assist MCAAA whenever and wherever they can to help improve that quality of life of the community's older citizens.
Its office is located at 411 Main St. Suite 102-B, Stroudsburg, 570-420-3747.