News & Notices

Strategic Area Plan 2019-2022
COAAA is pleased to share our approved 2019-2022 Strategic Area Plan, which describes emerging and priority issues as well as goals, objectives, and strategies for the next four years. Full details can be found in the plan narrative and goal documents. which can be found in the About Us section.

Home Energy Assistance Program
Assistance to help pay home energy bills is available to income-eligible Ohioans through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
The HEAP Summer Crisis Program from the Ohio Development Services Agency helps income-eligible Ohioans maintain utility service.  The program runs through September 30. 


COAAA in the News


This page is for internal staff and employees of COAAA.
Some links provided are to websites of our agency partners and hosted solutions.

General Information

Nominees are evaluated for their significant contributions to the community after reaching the age of 60. Those selected for induction are role models for leading vibrant, meaningful lives and enriching the quality of life for others. Their compelling stories demonstrate lifelong commitments to causes, organizations and communities.

Inductees receive a Hall of Fame lapel pin, a framed portrait from a professional photographer, and a personal recognition on stage from county commissioners. A professionally catered reception with family and friends follows the ceremony.

The legacy of the Hall of Fame is to preserve and foster an appreciation for those remarkable individuals who helped to shape the future of our communities. More than 450 individuals have been inducted in the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame since 1975

Any individual or organization may nominate a resident of Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway or Union County. Nominees must be 60 years of age or older and a legal resident of Ohio for the past five years or longer. A married couple may be nominated for one award if both have been equally involved in the same activities and both meet the eligibility criteria.


2020 Hall of Fame

The 45th annual Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame is postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


2019 Hall of Fame

The 44th annual Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame recognized the accomplishments of 13 older adults on Wednesday, May 15, at the Martin Janis Center in Columbus. The Soriano Duo performed and Colleen Marshall of NBC4 hosted the recognition program. A reception followed with solo piano entertainment by Rick Soriano.





For any questions, please contact the Hall of Fame Coordinator at 1-800-589-7277.

Frequently Asked Questions


FOR 2019

Current Inductees

Past Inductees



Hall of Fame Nomination Form


Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone submit a nomination?  Yes. Nominations are submitted by friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, volunteers, clubs, businesses, government, elected officials and non-profit organizations. The individual or married couple nominated must live in the 8-county central Ohio area (Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway or Union) but the nominator(s) may live outside the eight counties. Self nominations are not accepted.

How can I check if someone is already in the Hall of Fame?  A list of past inductees appears on the website under Hall of Fame Inductees.

Can I nominate a group, club, agency or organization? No. The Hall of Fame only recognizes individuals.

What information should I include in the nomination?  Be as descriptive as possible. A resume or list of activities or memberships is not enough information for the committee to make a selection. Tips for preparing a winning nomination:

  • Write your nominee's inspiring story to touch the hearts of readers.
  • Describe your nominee's life since reaching the age of 60 and how he/she is a role model for active involvement in the community.
  • Be detailed and use complete sentences; your story is the only basis for selection; it will be used for the inductee's page in the program.
  • Include some dates / length of time for your nominee's involvement in activities.
  • optional - Enhance your nomination with letters of support from others who know the nominee (maximum of three letters).
  • Recognize your nominee for unpaid efforts (not a job).
  • Please do not send certificates, news clippings, photos, resumes or memorabilia.
  • No posthumous or self-nominations, please.

Can the nomination be a surprise?  No. Obtaining advance permission from the person you wish to nominate is required in case he or she will not be available for the portrait sitting in early April, the ceremony the third week in May, or in case the person does not want to accept the recognition.

How are the winners chosen?  Nominees are evaluated for their special contributions to the community after reaching the age of 60, for positively influencing others as role models, and for leading lives not defined by age. Their achievements may demonstrate commitments to formal organizations, including volunteerism, community service, leadership, church and charitable work, or informal efforts such as caregiving and giving a helping hand to neighbors. The selection committee is comprised of COAAA staff, a representative of the City of Columbus Recreation & Parks Department, and a member of the COAAA Advisory Council.

Will I receive notification when winners are announced?  Yes. Letters are sent to all nominees and nominators. If your nominee is selected for induction, you will also receive a phone call or e-mail message offering you the opportunity to deliver the good news personally and be the first to congratulate your nominee.

What is required of the winners?  Winners must be available for a professional portrait sitting in early April and be willing to participate in the Hall of Fame Ceremony at the Martin Janis Center, Columbus, on the third Wednesday in May at 1:00 p.m.

How are the winners recognized?  Inductees receive a personal recognition on stage from their county commissioners and other dignitaries, an individual portrait by a professional photographer, and a Hall of Fame lapel pin. The keepsake program distributed at the ceremony dedicates a full page to each inductee's story and photo. Friends, neighbors and family celebrate with their inductees at the professionally catered reception immediately following the ceremony. Throughout the year, monthly issues of the Senior Times feature a quarter-page Hall of Fame 'spotlight', with one spotlight devoted to each inductee. A number of local newspapers also cover Hall of Fame news in May with an interview of the inductee from that community.

Do I need an invitation to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony and reception?  No invitation is necessary. The event is open and free to the public.

Can I bring a group to the ceremony and reception?  Yes. Groups are welcomed and encouraged to attend. No invitation or reservation is necessary. The only requirement is for buses or vans to park in the overflow parking section after delivering passengers to the entrance. On-site staff will direct buses and vans to the appropriate parking area.

Where is the Hall of Fame located?  The permanent home of the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame is the Martin Janis Center, 600 E. 11th Ave., Columbus. The 'wall of fame' displays plaques with the names and counties of the inductees for each year of the Hall of Fame, along with a display case of group photos from the most recent ceremonies. An historical album provides an alphabetical cross-reference of all inductees, as well as a printed program from each ceremony for the past 14 years. Each program features profiles and photos of the inductees for that year.

Is there a nomination form for the Outstanding Service to Seniors Award?  No. There is no external nomination or formal selection process for this award.

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.