Jean Kearney is latest recipient of the Unsung Citizen Award from the Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise.
Working as the recreation, volunteer and adult day program co-ordinator for the Good Samaritan Village by The Station, Kearney has been the driving force behind the village’s acclaimed model of elder care according to a news release from the Rotary.
Her position involves working closely with thousands of Penticton seniors and their families, as well as their family caregivers.
“Her boundless energy and enthusiasm have been contagious, drawing residents, family members, volunteers and staff into her many creative endeavours, involving daily programming for the assisted living and long-term care communities as well as the Dementia Cottages,” said organizers of the Rotary award.
Kearney will also receive Paul Harris Fellow recognition, named after the Rotary’s founder.
According to the Rotary, this will see that she joins the ranks of Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Kofi Annan and other esteemed global figures.
Thanks to her fundraising efforts, the village now includes music therapy in its celebrated social program. Music therapist Debi Johnson said: “seeing a toe tapping (from) someone who is slumped over in their chair, but their mouth is moving to the words of a song” underscores the real-life significance of the program.
Johnson also described Kearney’s “limitless capacity for spreading joy and cheerfulness” as “akin to a 1,000-watt lightbulb.”
“Jean’s footprints are all over so much more behind the scenes,” said local author Gary Doi.
Kearney is thankful for the support she has received from the community and said hearing people thank her and talk about the difference she’s made is payment enough for her efforts according to the release.
“These selfless personal sentiments reveal a key character trait that the Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise looks for when granting its Unsung Citizen Award,” states the news release.
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