A 106-year-old Santa Barbara woman has been honored as the California winner of the Home Instead Senior Care® network’s Salute to Senior Service® award.

Edythe Kirchmaier is being recognized for her dedicated community service, including more than 40 years of work at Direct Relief, a humanitarian medical aid organization. After retiring from her career as a social worker in the 1970s, she and her husband served two 18-month terms in Taiwan for the organization. Her husband passed away shortly before her 100th birthday, but she continues to be a strong advocate for Direct Relief’s work, including supporting safe births for moms in need around the worked and disaster response efforts.

Kirchmaier dedicated her 105th year to raising awareness for Direct Relief. “Edythe’s 105th Birthday Challenge” succeeded in its goal of getting 105,000 Facebook fans for the organization.

As one of 50 state winners, Kirchmaier earned $500 for her charity of choice – donated by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network and contest sponsor. Kirchmaier also will have a spot on the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame on SalutetoSeniorService.com where her nomination story has been posted.

“Edythe represents so well the dedication and commitment that make senior volunteers such a value to their communities,” said Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead, Inc. “She has proven once again that age is meaningless when it comes to making a difference. So many charities, nonprofit organizations and faith communities could not do the work they are doing without selfless volunteers such as Edythe.”

A panel of judges selected 97-year-old Thurman Haynes from North Carolina as the 2014 National Salute to Senior Service award recipient. Haynes earned the recognition for his volunteer efforts with the Haynes-Inman Education Center, a school for children with disabilities. As the national honoree, Home Instead, Inc. will donate $5,000 to Haynes’ designated nonprofit charity.

The results of a Marist poll sponsored by Home Instead, Inc. indicate that 62 percent of seniors age 68 and over volunteered their time in the last year, with 13 percent of those reporting that they volunteer in order to stay active.

“It’s important for seniors to remain active and engaged as they age,” Huber said. “However, it is possible for frail or isolated seniors to give back to their communities as well. The Salute to Senior Service program includes free “give back” activity resource sheets with ideas to help seniors who are home-bound or have limited mobility continue to contribute to their communities through volunteerism.”

For more information about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Salute to Senior Service program or to download the “give back” resource sheets, visit SalutetoSeniorService.com.


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