Tuesday, May 10, 2022

16th Annual Poetry Contest Winner & Entries

This year marked WCCOA's 16th Annual Poetry Contest. Twenty poems on the theme of "Coming of Age" were submitted by fifteen Wood County residents 50 years of age and older. In this blog post, you will find the announcement and picture of this year's winner and all of the poems that were submitted. Thank you to all who participated this year!

Congratulations to our 16th Annual Poetry Contest Winner, Carol Kinsey of Bowling Green! 

A note from our judge, a BGSU Professor in the Writing Department, on the winning poem: 

"The poet turns to their garden, a place of meditation for many, and, specifically, to their Black-eyed Susans – a flower known to excel in the second half of the growing season – as a source of contemplation and imagination. Across the lines of this prose poem, the writer uses the observable traits of this flower – its vigorous spread from small starts, its gradual decline, its scattering of seeds into the future – as a catalyst for reflecting on the cyclical nature of a garden and of a life. Might our own lives be perennial? How might we live on – what seeds might we scatter – once the bloom is off our own Black-eyed Susan? The poet, like each of us, can’t be sure: “I will be gone. Or will I?” But taking inspiration from the natural world, they are willing to imagine and hope for the possibility of returning to come of age in future seasons."

Going to Seed
By Carol Kinsey 

It’s the end of September. The Black-eyed Susans (my favorite) are waning. The flowers are wilting on the stem. Becoming less yellow-vibrant, the petals less plump. Drooping. Drying up.
I planted these from several small starts years ago, wanting a little splash of color. Now they have spread, taken over the small space I envisioned for them. They have gloriously asserted themselves to be the center of attention. I love them. I await their blooms in mid-July, I then cut their offerings to place in little vases on the deck and in the kitchen. They make me smile; they are a touch of homey yellowness like nothing else.
Now it’s the end of September. Time to cut back the spent blooms and stems. They are beyond their prime. The flower heads drop dried seeds onto the ground as I cut. Cut them back to rest for the winter and come again new year full and bright. This is the way, nature’s way.
I think of myself. I am older. Going to seed is nature’s way. But, I will not drop dried seeds of myself onto the ground of the future, not be coming back full and bright again. I will be gone.
Or will I? Perhaps seeds of myself in thoughts, memories, traits we re-emerge in those I’ve left behind will come back around as evidence that I was here. What a lovely thought.
Going to hold onto that, especially when nights are long and a little lonely.

Coming of Age
By Liliana G. Rossi

She can feed herself, walk around
Climb the furniture;
She is one year old.
She is coming of age.
He can write his name,
Have an intelligent discourse,
He is four years old,
He is coming of age.
He can read simple books,
Can earn his own money with chores,
He is seven years old.
He is coming of age.
He got married, 
Got his brand-new professional license,
He is twenty-nine years old,
He is coming of age.
I am seventy-two years old,
What steps are left for me?
What does coming of age look like for me?
Grieve my firstborn who left me too soon?
Celebrate those still in my life?
Spoil my grandchildren for as long as I can?
Pretend that I am still in my life?
Shots in the dark…
Glimpses of reality…
A life that used to be…

Feeling Content
By Willis Beck

I’m feeling content at the age that I am in;
I recall all my years and the places I’ve been.
Can’t live in the past or retrace the road; 
But be thankful for health and a lighter load.
I’m proud to have come as far as I could;
I wish for my loved ones a brighter world. 
I won’t leave a marker of where I have been;
I’ll only tell stories of what I have seen. 

Of A Certain Age
By Willis Beck

So, you’ve reached a certain age and you think that you are done:
Well, I’m sorry friend, but you’ve only just begun. 
Reset your clocks, turn your calendar page;
It all moves forward past retirement age. 
You can change your goals and maybe your turf;
All things are possible on God’s green earth.
Do what you wish to alter your plan,
You’re your own boss, woman or man. 
There may be setbacks along the way, 
Remember that tomorrow is another day.
Remember the past but push ever ahead;
You’ll reach your goals without any dread.

Coming of Age
By Steven Peake

There hung a blue mist from the fields.
I awoke from sleep to find my lists at my feet.
Seems like so many days are behind, maturity sets in the mind. 
Ah! Yesterday’s views seem so far. Those times of kids in the car,
Traveling so many miles, to put on children’s smiles. 
For parties, and practice, football or soccer, at times someone forgot
an important item in their locker!
Just when things seem alright, I have to break up a fight!
Then it’s a dance or the prom or someone lets off a bomb!
A firecracker, I know, but causes me to blow!
So another week or year passes by, and I can’t understand why?
The house seems so bare, and no one is there.
Looking around, no toys on the ground and stillness 
sits coldly at home.
Oh well! May just as well shout out a sound!
The mist still lurks off the ground. 

Coming of Age
By Steven Peake

Sitting in my boxer shorts, looking at the mirror
Wondering if I really know what day or month or year?
It seems to me what scares me most is who I see, myself or ghost?
Much thought of great accomplishments, of degrees and status quo.
The maturity of life, apart from strife, is empty don’t you know!
Thinking of my loves and hates, what matters most when at the gates?
When outcomes to this point of golden years and finding self in tears.
I raise my coffee cup, and push down the toaster knob, ready with a glob of jam. 
Being grateful for who I am. 

Our Fiftieth (Wedding) Anniversary Celebration
By Rick and Luella Smith 

Moments like this fill us with joy 
And are meant for us to share. 
Moments like this stand out 
Since their occurrence is rare.
Moments like this will never be lost.
They will remain in our hearts.
These moments are for remembering,
And from them, we’ll never part. 

My Sweet Angels on Earth
By Michelle Malik

Wow! At first sight of those wee-tiny fingers and toes,
My heart filled with joy!
My sweet little angels on earth; my grandkids.
Kisses and hugs that seem to never stop coming. 
“I love you grandma and grandpa.” “Do you love me too?”
My heart filled with warmth!
My sweet young angels on earth; my grandkids.
I heard; “I fell down.” “My boo-boo hurts.” “I need a kiss.”
My heart melted. I was a puddle of compassion at their feet. 
My fast-growing angels on earth; my grandkids.
Grade school and teen years are overloaded with sports and dating.
“College is hard.” “He broke my heart.” “My friends have moved away.”
“I know you will always love me and listen, grandma and grandpa.” “I am sad.” “You are always there with a strong shoulder.” “I love you both very much.”
My heart fills with tenderness and warmth. 
My sweet mature angels on earth have grown up;
My grandkids.

By Donald F. Czerniak

I fished the Atlantic Ocean.
I fished the Pacific Ocean.
I fished Lake Erie.
I fished small lakes.
I fished creeks everywhere near
While I lived in Ohio.
I fished for women all over
The vast United States, 
But I never hooked any. 
Maybe because I didn’t use the right bait--- 
a good line of bologna.
I was always successful in fishing
For water-dwelling animals.
I caught more than my share of them. 
But the two-legged ones evaded my hooks forever,
Except one. 
She became my wife. 

A Woman
By Donald F. Czerniak

“You’ve got a crooked nose,” she said.
“I know it.”
“You’ve got a potbelly.”
“I know it.”
“Your left eye is half-closed.”
“I know it.”
“Your hair’s totally gray.”
“I know it.”
“You’re much too old.”
“I know it.”
“Your right eye looks funny.”
“I know it.”
“What I’m looking for is a perfect man.”
“Why don’t you go into a convent.” 
I walked away from the hussy. 

Exploring Facets
By Rosemary E. Yanik

Coming of Age –
What does it mean?
To us?
To others?
To the world?
Have we arrived?
Do we know it all?
Do we understand our purpose?
Are we now in control?
Have we attained status?
Does it matter?
Do we have the right to make the rules?
Break the rules?
May we go our own way?
Believe what we want to?
Do we give up,
Give in, or
Go beyond?
Do we understand our gifts, our talents,
And use them wisely?
Do we realize how we should treat others?
Do we discern our path and 
Create a loving legacy?
Do we show compassion, forgive, comfort, and 
Live in grace?
Coming of age,
The wonder,
The spirit,
The celebration,
The journey,
The dream,
The hope,
The inspiration,
The joy of being.

Kaleidoscope of Being
By Rosemary E. Yanik

Coming of age
No matter what age our birthday makes us,
We are always coming of age-
A kaleidoscope of years.
Coming of age –
When within us a smile breaks through,
When a heart song carries us,
And we think outside ourselves.
Coming of age –
Seeing the beauty all around us,
Recognizing the good in ourselves and others
Using our gifts and talents to make a difference.
Coming of age –
Being self-sufficient, and independent, but caring;
Being bold but not forceful,
Loving ourselves and others when we least deserve it.
Coming of age –
Honoring our creative spirit 
Sharing our best beliefs and values,
Spending happy, quality time with loved ones.
Coming of age 
A kaleidoscope of years,
The when, the where,
The why, the how, the who.

I Lost A Friend Today

By Nancy Jones

I lost a friend today, and she is in my every thought.
Her friendship was so special, I feel only pain and naught.
My heart seems so very heavy, and my every breath is weak,
As I contemplate a life without her in a world so incomplete.
I viewed a photo of my friend, and saw the vibrant spirit,
I will never see again.
Her spirit seemed to mock me as it leaped right off the page,
Yet, quivered very brightly in thoughts of seeing me again.
Her face was bright with smiles, that always brought such cheer.
It illuminated the inner strength she possessed throughout the year.
The photo captured in the moment the friend I held so dear.
The essence of her being can never be erased,
As again I hear her untamed laughter vibrate through my space.
Her eyes, they snapped and sparkled and dared me to think once more,
Of the precious friend in heaven whose spirit will live forever more. 

Weather Report
By Gary Saunders

A winter storm is coming,
All are agreed…
This one’s not a guess- It’s coming for sure.
Making preparations…
To live without power,
With limited supplies.
Moving around will be a struggle;
Good neighbors will be a treasure;
And staying in touch with loved ones will be the spiritual lifeline.
And yet (those words of grace!)
There will be beauty,
Moments of awe and wonder,
For this is the world of nature;
And wonder – yes, delight! –
Is the nature of it.
And in this great mysterious unfolding,
Love will prevail.
So, fear not, my soul.
Yes, the storm is coming, as it must.
May I await it with a heart
Grateful for a life of blessings 
And trusting of peace at the last. 

Sunday Sunrise
By Gary Saunders

The sun prepares to make its appearance.
The rays are already bathing in the world, washing away the darkness.
I think of my loved ones, scattered, yet in their beds.
What treasures they are…
With Your dawn, wash them of the grime which life and living bring.
Scrub them with cleansing light,
That they may wake to this new day, this great opportunity,
With clean hearts and minds,
With energy, and delight, and good purposes.
Welcome, morning light. 
Do your stuff. 

Coming of Age
By Dorothy Ellis

Glancing back, I take look, my life is like a chapter book. 
As one chapter of my life unfolds, another awaits with wonders untold. 
So, let’s start at the beginning. Can you see me grinning? My head is really spinning!
How did time go so fast? My memory is failing, yet my mind keeps unveiling,
More reflections I’ve witnessed from my past. 
The chapter of my youth held such freedom and joy with most of my needs being met.
Simple fun was the mantra of the day. Playing hopscotch and skating till the sun had set.
Before I knew, I was a teen and thought I knew it all.
I met a boy and soon we wed. Our love I still recall.
We’ve been married for fifty-six years; shared seasons of love and reasons for tears.
We’ve had four lovely children and eight grandkids as well. 
Memories of precious times still make our hearts swell. 
What a decade was the 60s with memories galore. 
Looking back who could imagine what our nation had in store.
We lost a beloved president; a tragedy it’s true.
Still, God unfolds our history the way he’s meant to do.
As decades flew by, all became new for me to be a part of.
The first man on the moon, computers, cell phones, and 9/11, that broke our hearts.
My heart has been yearning for simpler days. So far, they’re nowhere in sight. 
Yet, at the start of each day, I continue to pray for God’s guidance in which I take delight. 
If coming of age means turning a page in my chapter book; who knows what’s in store?
Do I dare take a look at another page in this book? Yes, I pray that I will have more.
As I’ve come to this age, I’m reminded of a choice that each of us can make;
To look for the good as we travel with each other on this journey we all must partake. 

Time to Sound the Gong
By Martha (Marty) Hogle 

Where is the music, where is the song
What is the difference between right and wrong
When do we continue to fight, or sound the gong
When do we shake hands instead of a fist
When will kind words top the list
Will love and acceptance return again someday
Or will we continue to fight and kill, is this our way
Have we lost the method to make friends and trust 
And will these hate-filled acts continue to follow us
Can we cease to act in these moments of rage
Or can we finally admit we are coming of age
An age to inspire and not react with fire
It is time to bring kindness back in style 
Put an end to rude killing acts so vile
Put our childish behavior and tantrums aside
Grow up from within let the kindness in your heart swell with pride
Let’s start tomorrow with a giving heart filled with love
As we practice our lesson learned from above
We are blessed with the fact, we are “coming of age”

Another Chance
By Martha (Marty) Hogle

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder
It only creates lonely hours to ponder 
Where have these precious moments gone, I wonder
They have fleeted by like the roaring thunder
Time in the past I can not recover
So close that book, it was only a cover
What memories remain are scraps of a page
Lights are dimming on our life’s stage 
Grab what is left, open up your cage
No more time for turmoil or rage 
The stage is now set you must engage 
You have waited forever it’s called “coming of age”
If you think this is the end you are so wrong
A new life begins today, you must come along 
Flip open the page, open your cage, go on that stage
It’s another chance to be “coming of age”

A Song Inside
By Barbara Gould

I knew there was a song inside. 
I heard the songs of love and loving;
They were of good, bad, and real;
Some were nonsense and fantasy;
Some were happy and some were sad.
I found that I was crying from the sad songs.
Looking under rocks as I went about my daily work,
One more time, I asked: Am I singing happy or sad?
I stopped my crazy world and finally I realized 
My song is a happy tune, and I don’t cry
When I hear love songs anymore.

Midnight and Jeopardy
By Nancy Wikoff Leetch

There was a black cat named Midnight,
She liked to watch Jeopardy!
With Nancy at night on the “tube”
She studied Lepidoptery!
Now Mid is seventeen,
(Over one hundred in human years)!
And loved to be held on my lap for a nap –
A Doyenne without tears.
Jeopardy meant “almost bedtime”
Water and food for the night;
And loud crimson PJs for Nancy 
And meowing as if in a fright?
One more event you must know;
On Tractor Pull Weekend years ago
Mid was “dropped off” on our street,
We took her in so sweet,
A little black ball of fur to add
To our life, who needed a Cat-less Home,
Never more to roam!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Share the Love Event 2021


Share the Love This Year

 Exciting news! For the 14th year running, the Meals on Wheels network is participating in the 2021 Subaru Share the Love Event. Over the past thirteen years, Subaru and its retailers have helped Meals on Wheels to deliver more than 2.5 million meals nationwide to older adults in need.

Why does Subaru support Meals on Wheels? Too many older adults are struggling to stay independent and healthy. One in four older adults lives alone in isolation and one in seven older adults might not know from where their next meal is coming. This is simply unacceptable, which is why the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. (WCCOA) provides the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to the older adults of Wood County. This vital support keeps individuals in their own homes, where they want to be.

We’re incredibly grateful to Subaru and its Retailers for supporting our organization and the Wood County residents we serve. With that in mind, we thought you might want to learn a little bit more about the Subaru Share the Love Event.



This November 18, 2021, through January 3, 2022, for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer’s choice of participating charities.* Meals on Wheels is one of four national participating charities and has been since the inception of the event. Through this event, as a member of Meals on Wheels America, WCCOA will receive a share of the donation from Subaru vehicles sold at participating Subaru Retailers.

You might not be in the market to purchase a new car, but if you are, please look into the Subaru Share the Love Event to learn more. If you’re not shopping for a new vehicle, you can still help by spreading the word to your family and friends. A few quick and easy ways to do that:

 -          Share this blog post!

 -          Share our posts about the Share the Love Event on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WCCOA

 And remember: this holiday season you can ensure our senior neighbors are not forgotten, when you purchase or lease a new Subaru and select Meals on Wheels as your charity of choice.

*Disclaimer: Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased from November 18, 2021, through January 3, 2022, to four national charities designated by the purchaser or lessee. Pre-approved Hometown Charities may be selected for donation depending on retailer participation. For every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased during the campaign period, participating retailers will donate a minimum of $50 in total to their registered Hometown Charities. Purchasers/lessees must make their charity designations by January 14, 2022. The four national charities will receive a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000 each. See your local Subaru retailer for details or visit subaru.com/share. All donations made by Subaru of America, Inc.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

2021 Golden Care Awards

Since 2013, we have hosted the Golden Care Awards with the help of local sponsors. This event is an opportunity for caregivers in Wood County to be recognized for their dedication to caring for others. Caregivers are first nominated by friends, family or coworkers. Those nominations are given to the Wood County Commissioners, who read through each nomination and choose a winner from each of three categories: agency support staff, medical professionals, and community caregivers. 

This year's event was held on Monday, November 1 at the Wood County Senior Center in Bowling Green, with 20 nominations in total (5 support staff, 10 medical professionals, and 5 community caregivers). Senator Theresa Gavarone was the MC for the evening, and all nominated caregivers in attendance were presented with a certificate by Wood County Commissioners Dr. Theodore Bowlus, , Doris Herringshaw, and Craig LaHote. 

Event committee sponsors included: Bowling Green Manor, Briar Hill Health Care Campus, Bridge Home Health and Hospice, Brookdale of Bowling Green, Kingston of Perrysburg, and Wood Haven Health Care.

A video was created to honor all of the nominees. The video can be viewed below, or can be found by going to YouTube and searching for the WCCOA YouTube channel. 


Amy Lee

Amy's nomination, written by Stephanie Good, is included here: 
"This nomination is written on behalf of Mary Murphy, a current hospice patient. I (Stephanie Good) am one of her caregivers and we have both decided to nominate Amy Lee. Amy has been an exceptional neighbor and friend to Mary for the past several years. She provides quality care consistent with that of a nursing facility, and will rise in the middle of the night if Mary calls and she needs help. Many mornings she arrives with breakfast in hand and will serve Mary with a smile. (When Mary was still able, Amy would come most every evening and play cards with her and this eventually evolved into more of a care-giving role.) Mary is currently unable to get out of bed and it is essential to have quality, consistent and compassionate care. Amy provides a warm smile and much needed comfort and reassurance at every turn we encounter. This past Fourth of July Amy, and Mary's son Mark, were able to get her into a wheelchair and into Amy's garage to see the fireworks. They initiated a safe transfer into a safe environment so Mary could enjoy the evening. It was a much needed evening with a different view. This is merely one example of going above and beyond that Amy has provided. When Mary talks of Amy you can see the love light up her eyes and a warm smile spread across her face. She will remember a time when she and Amy did something and it will garner a chuckle out of her. It is a warm feeling that fills the room and you feel it in your very soul. You realize right away that this is much more than just "my neighbor Amy". There is a respect, a reverence, and a pride. It is a feeling that resonates with you and you wish you had that kind of neighbor, that kind of friend in your life. Almost like a Guardian Angel living next door. You can feel the relief, literally feel, the relief Mary has when she knows Amy will be coming. The list is too numerous for me to include all the specific examples of things that Amy has done to care for her friend, Simple things like just bringing the breakfast over, picking up a favorite snack at the store, picking up prescriptions, popping over to make sure Mary is eating a nutritious lunch, or being by Mary's side when the Hospice nurse visits are just a few. The care and compassion Amy has shown toward her friend is something that we could all learn from. It is not always easy to step up and go from neighbor, to friend, to caregiver, and yet Amy has made Mary a priority, without a thought of what she may have going on in her life. We could all learn a great lesson in compassion for humanity from Amy Lee and I believe that is what this world needs a bit more of right now.”
 Thank you for all you do, Amy! 

Deb Klasen, Wood Haven Health Care

Deb's nomination, written by Heather Greeno, is included here:

"Deb started her career with Wood Haven Health Care back in 2007, then retired and decided to come back part time and work in 2020. Deb is very dedicated and knows each and every resident, prioritizes the nurse to patient relationship and is very respected by staff and residents. Her many years of experience is shown every day in her work and she has been a great mentor to the nursing staff. Deb taught the STNA training for Wood Haven's new employees. Deb takes new employees under her wing and goes above and beyond to ensure they are providing the best possible care. We appreciate the many years of hard work Deb has dedicated to Wood Haven Health Care." 

Thank you for all you do, Deb!

Laura Steffan, Wood Haven Health Care

Laura's nomination, written by Heather Greeno, is included here:
"Since Laura began her career at Wood Haven Health Care in 2008 she has been essential in many different roles. Laura first started out as a STNA providing direct care to our residents then transitioned into her current role as the Transportation Specialist. In this role Laura is vital to ensuring the residents are scheduled and transported to important appointments and also picks up our new residents who come to stay with us long term or for rehab. Laura is always eager to help when needed and has a special gift to comfort our residents when they are having a hard day. Laura has a true passion for senior care and the residents are grateful for her presence. We appreciate all Laura has done over the many years she has worked for Wood Haven Health Care.”
Thank you for all you do, Laura!


Wood County Advocate of the Year 

Maureen Veit, Adult Protective Services

Senator Theresa Gavarone, the MC for the evening! 

All of the attending caregivers were presented with a certificate:

Bill Scovell
Community Caregiver Nominee

Doug Ringler
Community Caregiver Nominee

Gail Baden
Community Caregiver Nominee

Shelly Ruehl, Brookdale of Bowling Green
Medical Professional Nominee

Shannon Herrig, Bowling Green Manor
Medical Professional Nominee

Scott Fornwald, Kingston Residence of Perrysburg
Medical Professional Nominee

Linda Hazard, Kingston Residence of Perrysburg
Medical Professional Nominee

Korie Poling, Bowling Green Manor
Medical Professional Nominee

Amanda Wagner, Wood Haven Healthcare
Medical Professional Nominee

Amanda Esquivel, Kingston Rehabilitation of Perrysburg
Medical Professional Nominee

Michelle Davenport, Kingston Residence of Perrysburg
Support Staff Nominee

Jim Cress, Wood Haven Healthcare
Support Staff Nominee

Jennifer Lewellen, Kingston Rehabilitation of Perrysburg
Support Staff Nominee

Community Member: 
Ken Lohman

Medical Professionals: 
Alaina LaCourse, Kingston Rehabilitation of Perrysburg and Tanai Lyles, Woodlane Residential Services
Support Staff: 
Tabitha Tippin, Amada Senior Care


On behalf of the Wood County Committee on Aging, we would like to thank our 
sponsors and supporters for making this event a success. This event is a wonderful opportunity to recognize caregivers in our County. Most importantly, THANK YOU to all of the caregivers who go above and beyond to make sure those they serve are receiving the 
care they need to not only survive, but to thrive. 
Your devotion does not go unnoticed. 


If you would like to be involved in this great event next year by purchasing a table for your company, or by making a nomination, please contact the Programs Department at
 419.353.5661 or 800.367.4935 or email programs@wccoa.net 

Monday, August 23, 2021

June & July Trivia Contest Winners

Wood County Committee on Aging's Home Delivered Meal (HDM) participants have an opportunity each month to join in a trivia contest sponsored by Walker Funeral Homes. Participants complete the trivia sheet and return it to their meal delivery driver for entry into the contest each month. We are happy to announce the June winner was Rosemary and the July winner was Norma, both from Bowling Green! You can find pictures of both ladies with their winnings below. Thank you to all of our HDM clients who continue to participate in this contest. A special thank you to Walker Funeral Homes providing a gift bags for the winners. Make sure to send in your trivia sheet this month and you could be our next winner! 

June's Trivia Winner, Rosemary!

July's Trivia Winner, Norma!

Monday, June 14, 2021

May Trivia Contest Winner

Wood County Committee on Aging's Home Delivered Meal (HDM) participants have an opportunity each month to join in a trivia contest sponsored by Walker Funeral Homes. 46 HDM participants completed the trivia sheet and returned it to their meal delivery driver for entry into the contest this month. We are happy to announce the May winner is Barbara from Walbridge! Barbara is pictured below with her husband Larry. Thank you to all of our HDM clients who participated in this contest. A special thank you to Walker Funeral Homes providing a gift card this month for the winner. We are looking forward to additional participants in June's contest.  You could be our next winner!