Honoring May 2024 Older American’s Month Honoree for the Outstanding Older Citizen Award to Ms. Nancy Nicholl

May 2024 is Older American’s Month with this year’s theme “Powered by Connections” celebrated by Oneida County. Connections to each other and our communities promote health and wellness amongst the people of all ages within the communities.  

The honoree for this year’s Outstanding Older Citizen Award is Nancy Nicholl, former Oneida County Deputy Sheriff, and School Resource Officer for schools in Oneida County 

including Camden, Sylvan Beach, and Holland Patent Schools. She was nominated by the staff at Copper City Community Connections because Ms. Nicholl promotes opportunities for healthy social connections.

According to her Nominators at Copper City Community Connections, Ms. Nicholl exemplifies the significance of the connections she makes through the numerous activities and special events she plans and funds herself to bring attendees together in fun and joyful events at the Center.

An honorary celebration was held at the Oneida County Office Building, 800 Park Avenue, Utica on May 16, 2024. Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, JR, Michael Romano, Deputy Commissioner of the Oneida County Department of Family & Community Services (DFCS), June Hanrahan, Director of Aging Services, and Susan Streeter, Director of Copper City Community Connections, gave remarks congratulating Ms. Nicholl for the well-deserved honor. Each added comments regarding Ms. Nicholl’s contributions to the Oneida County Community in the past and present.

Ms. Nicholl, originally linked to Copper City by the opportunity for her father to participate in activities that promote making new friends, admits she has expanded her own friendships. She emphasizes the joy she brings to the older adults at Copper City is rewarding to her, especially when she sees the smiles on her father’s and friends’ faces.

“I appreciate this award, but it is awkward for me. I like to do planning quietly, behind the scenes, making each event enjoyable. I help older adults to prevent isolation and to make them feel good about coming to the center. Together, we all revert to being children again,” according to Ms. Nicholl.

Ms. Nicholl comments, “I learned the importance of giving back to the community through my parents. I am now able to pay that back to my father and his friends at Copper City. My whole family, cousins, children, and grandchildren participate by helping to make favors, decorations, and sewing gifts for each occasion. The different generations of our family give back to their communities, something we all do over our lifetimes.”

According to Julie Christenson, Adult Day Care Coordinator at Copper City, “There is never a dull moment when Nancy is here. She brings light to the participants, making everyone feel comfortable, bringing out smiles and increasing the bonds with each other.  We could not make it as big or make it as fun as it is without her assistance. 

The events might take place; however, Nancy makes them larger and enhances the fun for everyone. Ms. Nancy Nicholl promotes fun activities to make a positive difference for so many participants in the activities at the center.  

According to an article in Aging and Health Research, September 2021, scientific evidence demonstrates social connection is essential across the lifespan. Isolation in later years can be a major risk for premature mortality and onset of age-related health problems. Loneliness can be reduced by creating aging-friendly communities, accessible group physical and social activities, and enabling new social networks for face-to-face connections. This is the purpose of senior programs such as offered by Copper City Community Connections in Rome, NY. 

Well-deserved congratulations and gratitude are extended from the broader Oneida County Community to Ms. Nicholl for the work she does making lasting connections across generations and lifetimes.

Oneida County Partners