Hall of Fame - Inductees

Hall of Fame - 2019 Inductees

Improving the Lives and Health of Others

The 2019 Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame inductees exemplify what it means to improving the lives of others and their communities.  Providing medical care to homeless, keeping older adults safe and independent at home, supporting current military and veterans, and helping families with special needs children are just some of the examples that describe the remarkable service contributions of the inductees who will be in the spotlight for the 44th annual Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held on May 15 at the Martin Janis Center in Columbus.  The Recognition Ceremony starts at 1 p.m.

This year’s inductees range in age from 65 to 81. Presented annually by the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, the ceremony honors those who actively lead meaningful lives and enrich the quality of life for others.  The 2019 inductees are:


Diane Croy has volunteered more than 23,500 hours in her lifetime.  She volunteers her time at Grady Memorial Hospital’s emergency room in Delaware County.  She provides home-cooked meals for emergency room workers and goes out of her way to honor doctors, nurses, and staff. 


Madel O’Neil serves as president of Stargazer Charities, Inc., an organization that helps military veterans and families, as well as local non-profits in the greater Columbus area.  She organizes and coordinates the “Suits for Heroes” event, which provides a new suit, shirts, ties, and shoes to help current military and veterans with job interviews.


Jack and Carolyn DeWeese both have served an integral role in the Fayette County community.  Jack served on the Board of Fayette County Commissioners for 18 years.  Carolyn, a teacher for 31 years with Miami Trace schools, was chosen as Ohio’s Favorite Teacher by the Ohio Federation of Republican Women and was runner-up in the national competition. 


Dr. John O’Handley currently serves as a Medical Director at Mount Carmel Health System Community Outreach, a program that provides care to people who do not have access to healthcare.  In this role, he provides free medical care to the homeless and other underserved populations on a Mobile Medical Coach that goes to 10 sites around Columbus during the week.


Gary Sams serves as the Volunteer Network Administrator of Employment for Seniors (EFS), a local organization connecting mature job seekers to employment opportunities.  EFS describes Gary as being the “linchpin” of its technology operations, which help seniors in their employment search who are often not provided fair and equal access to the job market.


Karen and Ralph Watts have helped other families with special needs children through their work as foster parents.  Both Karen and Ralph remain active in ministry and counselling.  Both mentor other parents who are struggling with foster care or being adoptive parents. 


Albert (Skip) Salome and his family come together on Christmas Day to provide meals for those in need.  Over the last 10 years, approximately 16,000 meals were served, and 1,400 just this past holiday.  He has been Chairman of the All American Quarter Horse Congress for the past 36 years and was instrumental in the success of the organization becoming the third largest of all conventions in the United States. 


Fred and Donna Reeder have volunteered with LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-On-Wheels program since 2013.  They visit with homebound clients to deliver hot, nutritious meals, as well as provide basic wellness checks.  The Reeders have dedicated more than 700 hours of their time to Meals-On-Wheels. 


Nelson Robert Embry II has devoted his time to the Circleville and Pickaway County community, having served on several local committees and civic organizations.  He and his sister started WNRE-FM in Circleville.  The station was awarded for its excellence in broadcasting by being the recipient of the nationally prestigious American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for news reporting on an environmental issue.



Donald Werling helps Union County older adults live safely in their homes.  He builds and installs hand railings, grab bars, step modifications, porches, and ramps.  He will find materials and sponsors to assist someone in need, and he has provided services such as grab bars and home entrance modifications at no cost to the individual. 



Special thanks go to MediGold for its long-time support as Program Sponsor for this community event.  LifeCare Alliance will sponsor the beverages, and Clossman Catering will sponsor the entertainment.