COLUMBUS — On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Ombudsman representatives from around the state gathered in Columbus to recognize and honor 25 volunteer Ombudsman Associates and Specialists who received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes, celebrates and holds up as role models Americans who make a positive impact as engaged and deeply committed volunteers.
Richard Hoppe of Knox County received the silver award for contributing 250-499 hours.
Hoppe assists with visits to surrounding nursing homes to ensure residents are visited quarterly and he assists with complaint resolution. Hoppe is also certified at the specialist level as paid staff are certified. He is a retired firefighter and college professor. Hoppe received a silver award for donating 256.5 hours in 2015.
Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., Director of the Department of Aging, and State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Beverley Laubert, celebrated the volunteers’ dedicated service and achievements, presenting each with a pin, a letter from the President of the United States and a customized certificate.
“Take notice and speak up. If we start with caring, we’ll notice more and have greater confidence in speaking up,” encouraged Laubert. “All Ohioans have the right to feel at home, regardless of the setting where they reside, so they can continue to grow, thrive and contribute.”
Volunteer ombudsmen gave more than 13,692 hours statewide in 2015. Currently, Ohio has 245 volunteer ombudsmen advocating for Ohioans receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care. They advocate for quality through their work to resolve complaints about services, make recommendations for system changes, help people select a provider and provide information about benefits and consumer rights.
“Our volunteer ombudsmen are excellent examples of living ‘Well Beyond 60’ and helping our elders to do the same,” said Burman. “Their service supports Ohio’s continuing efforts to promote person-centered care in nursing homes, residential care facilities and home and community-based settings.”