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Citizen of the Year

In April, 1963, President John F. Kennedy met with the National Council on Senior Citizens and their meeting was the foundation for an annual observation of May as Senior Citizen's Month. Every President since has issued a formal proclamation asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities during the month of May.

In New York State, Governor Cuomo said "Our Senior population is a cherished and special generation from which we can all learn and improve ourselves."  He wanted to bring attention to the contributions made by older New Yorkers who continue to give of their time and efforts to make their communities better places for residents of all ages.
Honorees chosen through a selection process based on their volunteer activities in the community and commitment to Office for the Aging programs and services were invited to Albany for a Senior Citizen’s Day Celebration on May 21st.

The nominee selected by the Jefferson County Office for the Aging is Lori Thistle. 

Lori Thistle grew up in Hollis, New Hampshire, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1980 with a degree in Biology. Upon graduation, she pursed a career in scientific research at Tufts New England Medical Center where she met her future husband, James Tague, a dental student from Alexandria Bay, NY. After settling in Jim's hometown in northern New York, where he joined his father's dental practice, Lori completed a Master's Degree in Education at SUNY Potsdam in 1987. since that time, she has worked as an educator at various schools and with several community organizations in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. In 2005 she again went back to school and received a diploma in Holistic Health Practice from The American College of Health Sciences in Portland Oregon. Through her small consulting practice she teaches holistic approaches to health and wellness. She has two children, one of whom has also pursued a career in education, and two grandsons.

Lori has given her time to many community organizations. For twenty-two years, she coordinated the missions program at the Reformed Church of the Thousand Isles in Alexandria Bay. In this position, she and her mission team helped serve those in need whether they needed help repairing a leaking roof or paying an electric bill. She also helped establish the church's community food pantry, which now has its own building and serves the entire township of Alexandria. Presently, she volunteers at the church's Anchor Cafe, where one can drop by two mornings a week for complimentary coffee and muffins and some friendly conversation.

Six years ago Lori responded to a notice asking for help starting a farmers' market. During the summer months she now co-manages the market which brings locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables to her community. Her most rewarding work, however, has been in volunteering for the Office for the Aging. She has managed the nutrition sire in Alexandria Bay for sixteen years and has met and admired some amazing senior citizens. She uses the senior luncheon as an opportunity to teach a chair yoga class and preaches good nutrition and healthy choices whenever she can.

Lori believes that volunteering in your community is a civic responsibility, especially when that community is a rural one, which limited resources, activities, and funds. Many if the resources we rely on and the activities we enjoy are available because volunteers have stepped forward to implement them. Give a little times. You will be amazed at how much you get in return.