On May 6, the Putnam County Council on Aging will honor four outstanding senior citizens. This year’s selection included three women from Ottawa and a Continental resident. All four women enjoy the camaraderie of working with others. They also feel it is important to give back to their community and county.
This year’s selection includes Dorothy Schmenk, Philomena Kistler, Alma Schimmoeller, and Eleanor Carder.
They will be honored during the annual Senior Citizen’s Day celebration at Leipsic Fogle Center. The nominees must be 60 years or older, a resident of Putnam County and someone who has contributed to family, friends or community with work or volunteer hours.
Dorothy Schmenk, Ottawa
Dorothy is the vice president of the Ottawa Senior Center. She volunteers by working at the center’s special events and also has cleaned the event hall for several years.
“I serve food and things like that,” Dorothy said. “I guess I’m the flunky that just does stuff.”
Born on a Glandorf Farm, Dorothy said there were 14 in her family. After marrying Norman Schmenk in 1947 she moved to New Cleveland, where she has lived for the past 67 years.
“I enjoy playing with the kitchen band at the Senior Center,” Dorothy admitted.
Dorothy also serves as a lector and communion distributer for her church.
“It’s important to get out,” Dorothy said. “Just go and do it. That’s important.”
For fun, Dorothy enjoys bowling. She has bowled in a league for more than 50 years.
“She is all heart, and continue to give of her time and can-do spirit to a countless number of people,” said Tammy Evans, assistant director of the Ottawa Senior Center.
“I was mad,” said Dorothy describing her response when she found out she had been selected as an outstanding senior citizen. “There are so many more people who are more deserving.”
Philomena Kistler, Ottawa
Many people in Ottawa recognize Phil from her years as the owner of Gmeiner Shoe Store.
“I’ve always enjoyed people,” Phil said. She said she enjoys seeing adults, who she fitted with corrective shoes as children. “Working in the store meant long hours,” she said.
As a business owner, Phil was also a leader in many community activities. She was the first woman to lead the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. She also worked with the Downtown Retail Association for many years as they planned activities to promote the downtown Ottawa. This included planning the annual downtown festival, Christmas on Main Street, and Easter coloring contests.
Philomena also served on the Mid Am Bank board.
She helped a committee set up the village of Ottawa signs when they were first placed on the edges of town.
Her husband Raymond helped set up the Putnam County EMS.
Phil was the first manager of the Ottawa Retirement Village. She also has served for several years on the Tawa Manor board of directors.
She enjoys helping do book work at the Ottawa Food Pantry.
“I love doing these things,’ Phil said. “It’s always fun to help out.”
Rosie Buescher who nominated Phil described her as “very family oriented. “Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren spend every holiday and special occasion at her home,” Rosie said.
Phil said many members of her family are either in the health friend or teachers.
“There are a lot of people out in the community giving back by helping,” said Phil. “I feel many others deserved this award more than me.”
Alma Schimmoeller, Ottawa
When Alma describes her week, it is filled with volunteer hours working at the Thrift Store or helping at the VFW chicken and fish fries and American Legion Taco nights.
“I think I work about 50 hours a month at the Putnam County Thrift Store,” Alma said. She said her duties include checking people out or stocking shelves.
“I just like it,” Alma said.
Alma said she started at the Thrift Store by helping at Christmas finding the list of things for each qualified family.
Alma also enjoys helping with the VFW Christmas party for the kids.
Five times a year she washes the server gowns for Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. She has also served as past president of the Rosary Altar. For many years she served lunch during the senior citizens card party.
During the fall festival at the church, Alma is known for her angel food cakes. She also helps make the quilts that were raffled off at the event.
“I love doing all of these things,” Alma said. “It’s very seldom that I ask myself why I’m doing it.” She said once you start volunteering they are always asking you to come back.
Alma was nominated by her friend Mary Thompson who said Alma had helped make and quilt 25 quilts to raffle off.
Eleanor Carder, Continental
Eleanor was nominated by the pastor of her church who said her primary service is quilting quilt to be sold with the proceeds going to various projects to help people.
Eleanor belongs to North Mt. Zion Church, north of Continental.
Eleanor is not sure how she learned to quilt. “I sewed a lot while I was growing up,” she said. “I think it was when I got involved with the quilting group and I just did what they did.”
Eleanor said working together on a quilt is a good social time. “We meet once a month and we all bring something to eat while we are together. There’s never a shortage of food.” She said they are commissioned to make the quilts.
Eleanor also makes pies for funeral dinners at her church and once a quarter makes pies for the Lima City Rescue Mission.
Pastor Brent Gibson described Eleanor as “a home body and very independent.” He said Alma helped her husband who had lost both his legs in a logging accident before they were married.
“She helped him in his farming and cared for him with dignity and grace when he got older,” Pastor Gibson said.