Advocates from Reed City, Troy recognized for valuable contributions to seniors

James Forrer receives a donation for his charity, Helping Angels, from Bridget Hurd, director of Community Responsibility at BCBSM.

James Forrer receives a donation for his charity, Helping Angels, from Bridget Hurd, director of Community Responsibility at BCBSM.

Larry Emig of Reed City and James Forrer of Troy were recognized Wednesday at Older Michiganian’s Day at the State Capitol in Lansing for their dedication to improving the lives of the elderly. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Senior Advisory Council honored the outstanding senior citizen advocates with the Claude Pepper Award, named after the late U.S. Congressman who championed senior citizens’ rights.

BCBSM has given the Claude Pepper Award annually since 1980. Recipients demonstrate a strong concern for the special needs of the elderly, and their actions profoundly impact older adults, particularly individuals who do not receive adequate health services due to mental, physical, financial or geographical limitations.

Emig, 66, has served on the Osceola Commission on Aging Advisory Board for more than 26 years, helping oversee in-home care, transportation and nutrition services for hundreds of seniors in Osceola County. The former mayor of Reed City has served in leadership roles for several organizations at the local, regional and state levels, including a recent appointment by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Commission of Juvenile Justice. He has also served on the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan’s Board of Directors since 2006, helping oversee the agency and services to over 38,000 seniors in a nine-county region. 

Larry Emig with his check for the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan.

Forrer, 70, recently started his own nonprofit organization called Helping Angels, a grassroots organization that dedicates time, compassion and resources to helping others. He is also an active volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Area Agency on Aging 1-B, Salvation Army, Shoplifters Anonymous and the Troy Police Volunteer Corp. Forrer has also worked as a motivational speaker with Fortune 500 companies and high school students.

Emig and Forrer each received a $1,000 donation for the nonprofit organization of their choice.

BCBSM also presented the Diana C. Jones Award to the The North Ottawa County Council on Aging of Grand Haven. The award recognizes an exceptional organization that provides older adults with health or social services and allows them to live meaningful lives.

Since 1969, NOCCOA has enriched the lives of people 60 and older in North Ottawa County through more than 40 programs ranging from personal visits to in-home social work assessments. The agency offers a wide range of opportunities to learn, interact and exercise the mind, body and spirit. It provided services for more than 40,000 older adults during the past year.

Representatives of the North Ottawa County Council on Aging of Grand Haven pose with their certificates for the Diana C. Jones Award.Diana C. Jones is a retired Blues vice president of Community Affairs who is known for her advocacy and concern for the needs of the elderly.

For more about the awards, read the news release.

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