ONTARIO — Mount Vernon native Sue Payne was recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen for Knox County at the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging yearly awards Thursday.
Payne was recognized with nine other senior citizens from surrounding counties including Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca and Wyandot.
Payne is an active participant at the Station Break Senior Citizens Center of Knox County, according to her nominator, Station Break Activities Coordinator Krista Swan.
“I came to the Station Break about three years ago, and, right from the start, Sue stood out as one of the leaders of the seniors there,” Swan told the News. “People look up to her as kind of a leader there and she’s very talented.”
Swan explained that Payne has been a key contributor in the quiltmaking done at the Station Break helping to start a ladies quilting group. In addition to the yearly quilt that the Station Break auctions off, Payne provides many lap quilts that she makes at home for veterans organizations in Knox County.
In addition to her commitment to quiltmaking, Payne has served the Knox County community in a multitude of ways, including as an aid for students with special needs, as a PTO officer, as a volunteer at stock auctions at the fair, as a 4-H project judge and as a Girl Scout troop leader from 1975-1992.
For Payne, this volunteer work has been fulfilling and rewarding and has given her a way to give back to the Knox County community, which she said gave much to her and her husband, Wes, throughout the years.
“I would just like to thank everyone who has made this possible,” Payne said to the crowd as she accepted the award. “I’ve met a lot of interesting and new people through my volunteer work and it’s made a lot of memories — good memories for me. Thank you very much.”
County commissioners Thom Collier, Roger Reed and Teresa Bemiller were also present at the ceremony and presented a resolution to Payne acknowledging her as senior of the year in Knox County.
“As our population is aging, it’s so important to honor what they’ve been doing,” said Teresa Cook, vice president of marketing and development with the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging. “I think we sometimes think of retirement as someone in a rocking chair. That is not the case. We have someone that’s 94 who is a WWII veteran. We have educators that are being honored today. We have people that are volunteering, giving back to the community and are a crucial part of making the lives of the county they live in better. That’s why we want to do this once a year, is to say thank you.”
Payne, now 72-years-old, worked for 20 years as a custom framer at the former Ben Franklin store, which later became Memories on Main and Focus Studio and then spent seven additional years as a custom framer working at Creative Images until she retired last year.