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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Paul Tonko
Paul Tonko - Government

Congressman Paul Tonko is a third term member of the United States House of Representatives.  He currently represents New Yorks 20th Congressional District, including the cities of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Amsterdam. 

Congressman Tonko has been a champion for the lower and middle class, job creation, economic opportunity, the mental health community and providing senior citizens the opportunity to retire with dignity.  Building on his work in the New York State Assembly, where he fought for one of the nations strongest mental health parity laws, known as Timothys Law, Congressman Tonko continues to promote mental health parity at the federal level and serves as a Co-Chair of the Mental Health Caucus.    Congressman Tonko graduated from Clarkson University with a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering and is a lifelong resident of the city of Amsterdam.  Congressman Tonko continues to fight for middle and working class families and is fighting to ensure the American Dream stays within reach for all. 

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Nellie Morton
Nellie Morton - Education

Nellie Morton is a fearless educator and advocate, who continues to fight for the citizens of Albany, especially in the area of literacy for adults and children alike.  Although Nellie retired in 2005 after working 40 years for the State of New York, she quickly realized there was still more for her to do.  Nellie has served at Trinity Alliance and is the visionary behind the up and coming Capital South Campus Center. The Literacy Zone at the center will provide services for adults in an effort to help them increase literacy, English proficiency, and academic achievement.  Nellie states, that an education center is needed where people can realize that there is always real opportunity to improve ones situation.

For 18 years she has volunteered at the Junior Achievement Program in Albany Schools where she teaches a grade school class once a week for the annual five week long program.  Nellie continues to volunteer her time on the South End Improvement Corporation Board, City of Albany, and National Night Out (an anti-drug and crime prevention effort). She dances with Trinitys Dancing With Our Elders Program and sings in her church choir and teaches Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.  Nellie has lived in the same South End neighborhood for over 60 years where she continues to spread her vision and love of learning.

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Mark Sullivan
Mark Sullivan -

Dr. Sullivan is an educator and advocate of community service and has been active in higher education for over 39 years.  Having received a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, Dr. Sullivan served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Marist College from 1987 to 1996. In 1996 the Capital Region became his home where he then served as the 8th President of the College of Saint Rose, a position he held until 2012. Dr. Sullivan led the college in an unprecedented period of growth. By 2012 enrollment increased to over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students in one hundred and thirty four programs. While President the college was ranked one of the top 40 masters level universities in the Northeast-Middle Atlantic Regions by U.S. News and World Report.  Over the course of his 16 years at St. Rose, the college invested over $100 million in new campus facilities; raised $42 million in capital gifts; tripled applications; doubled first-year enrollment, and increased the size of the Colleges endowment seven-fold.   When asked why he began working in this field and what he enjoys the most about it, Dr. Sullivan states that he started in education so he could get students engaged in community service and share with them the joy one gets when you help those less fortunate. 

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Michael J. Ryan
Michael J. Ryan - Business

As the owner of Modern Press Michael Ryan has been at the helm of the family business for 56 years.  He started working alongside his father at the early age of 9 when he would distribute the type. Michael had a keen interest in the family business and learned the business from the ground up. In 1967 Michael served his country in the US Navy for 6 years and then returned to the family business.  Realizing they have outgrown their current facility for the second time Michael led the family into building a 6,000 square foot building on Colonie Street.  Michaels can do and no problem attitude is an invaluable resource for the business and according to his son Patrick, just because Michael is old enough to remember setting type by hand, doesnt mean he isnt on the cutting edge of technology.  He continues to work as long as it takes to get a job done on time.  He has been known to stay all night if the job requires it. 

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Garry J. Kearns
Garry J. Kearns - Volunteerism

For the past 17 years Garry has served as the Executive Director of American Housing Foundation, Inc., overseeing the day to day operations and ensuring that there is quality affordable housing for  individuals, families, senior citizens and individuals with special needs in the Capital Region.  During his entire time in his role at American Housing Foundation Garry has not received a paycheck and instead devotes the majority of his time to fulfilling the mission of American Housing Foundation, Inc.  It was during his 30 years as owner of his own architectural firm that he realized the demand for safe, secure, affordable housing remained consistent.   He has designed thousands of apartments before retiring in the early 1990s and in 1995 founded American Housing Foundation, Inc., with a goal of using his architectural and business experience to address the needs of housing for those living on fixed incomes. Garrys greatest joy is derived from the positive feedback he gets from the residents of the American Housing Foundation communities. Garry states that he is humbled to be able to provide quality, affordable housing that allows seniors in the Capital Region to age in place and in most cases allows them to stay in and around the neighborhoods where they raised their families.   Garry has volunteered for many organizations and was recently inducted into RPIs (his Alma Mater) Ice Hockey Teams Ring of Honor, an honor he does not take lightly as only 6 individuals have been recognized by the school for this honor.  

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Edward P. Ryan
Edward P. Ryan -

Nearly 40 years ago Ed Ryan had a vision of what he wanted to do and set out to see his vision come to fruition. That vision came to light in 1978 when he opened The Law Office of Edward P. Ryan.  Prior to becoming an attorney Ed was very active at Siena in various programs including Big Brothers and then served 18 months on active duty as an Army Officer. While at Forham Law School Ed was one of the founding contributors to the Francis J. Mulderig National Scholars program which is designed to bringing talented and deserving law students to Fordham from throughout the United States who otherwise would be unable to attend, thereby enriching the student body as a whole.  What Ed enjoys most about being a lawyer is that he can be of assistance to literally thousands of individuals.  Eds commitment to the community continues as he along with several other personal injury lawyers have joined with local insurance adjusters to provide and construct a home for a needy family. Ed and his wife have established a scholarship fund for Fordham Law School specifically dedicated to helping graduates of Siena College attend the school and will pledge another $100,000 to Siena to compliment the Summer Fellows Program by which Siena Juniors participate in programs at Fordham Law School during the summer.  Eds personal commitment to his mission of helping others is evident through his continued efforts in supporting higher education in the field of law and through his participation in mock trials. 

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Benjamin Medel, Jr.
Benjamin Medel, Jr. -

Ben's service began when he served in the United States Navy during the Korean War.  A graduate of RPI he began his architectural career after returning from service, married and began building not only his career but a family as well.  Ben felt that his blessings were many and realized that giving back was something that he both wanted and needed to do and he has been doing so for 55 plus years.  His volunteer efforts are varied as he tried to share his expertise and wisdom in many varied areas and has received many awards over the years.  He has served on the Board of Directors of Historic Cherry Hill, current member of Bnai Brith Housing Corporation which he continues to serve today, President and Board member of Congregation Beth Emeth, continuing to serve today, Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, Catholic/Jewish Dialogue Committee, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee, to name just a few.  He has worked in Congregate Beth Emeths soup kitchen, participated in Albany Rotary clean up days, and even assisted wife Ruth with the Girl Scouts on camping trips.  Ben has received numerous that include Jewish Family Services, Volunteer of the Year; the DeWitt Clinton Masonic Award for Community Service;  Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center Pillars of the Community Award (to be awarded April 6, 2014), and Congregation Beth Emeth Sisterhood Youth, Education, Service Award. 

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Eugene Nachamkin
Eugene Nachamkin -

In the area of Health and Human Services Eugene Nachamkin has provided compassionate leadership and support to various healthcare facilities for over 37 years and for the past 10 years has been volunteering for the Epilepsey Foundation.  Since 1972 when Eugene began working with the New York State Department of Health he has dedicated his life to the care and well being of individuals afflicted with health related issues in the Capital Region.  Eugenes greatest joy is his work volunteering and helping others because of the many good fortunes in his life.  Eugene is the recipient of the Red Flame Award given to him by the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast New York.  Eugene graduated with an MS in Accounting from the State University of New York, has an MBA from Fordham University and a PhD from American University.  His career included working in the area of Medicaid auditing for the NY State Dept. of Health and Investigating various governmental agencies involved in Medicaid and Welfare programs for the NY State Office of the Welfare Inspector General.  He has served as President of the Board of Directors for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, Treasurer of the Board and Chair of Strategic Planning for Temple Shaara Tfille and served as a Board Member for the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home and Ten Broeck, Ltd. Eugene plans on continuing his volunteerism in the Capital Region thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community.

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - W. Brian Barr
W. Brian Barr -

Brian Barr is current President of the Board for Senior Hope Counseling, Inc. Brian is a long time Rotarian and served as past President of Albany Rotary.  He has made a profound difference for countless numbers of community members whose lives he has touched as a volunteer, speaker, professional clinician, and administrator.  He was the recipient of NASW-NYS Lifetime-Achievement Award an award offered to an individual who demonstrates repeated outstanding achievements, as well as recognition beyond the social work profession whose contributions are of lasting impact. He was also awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award, an award that honors individuals for their extraordinary public service. Throughout his career he has devoted his time and energy on weekends and in the evenings in educating individuals throughout the Capital Region on the realities of suicide.  He was also presented with the Community Volunteer Service Award at the ZuZu Annual Community Event for his involvement with suicide awareness programs. He has received the Mary Breslin Community Service Award for providing outreach to youth and families in our communities.

For nearly three decades Brian Barr has urged others to pay attention to their own pain, the pain of others and do something about it and make a difference.  He is an author of an article written in Prevention Magazine Saving a Teenagers Life, and a piece on the topic of suicide prevention in the Times Union Newspaper.  He has offered thousands of presentation over the years to diverse audiences and has received merit recognition from Governor Mario Cuomo for his provision of Suicide education and for his ongoing support and most visits to bereaved individuals and their families. Although he is currently retired he has served as a clinical and community director for the LaSalle School in Albany and as Associate Commissioner for the State Office of Children and Family Services. With the United Way of the Greater Capital Region he served on the Community Impact Investment Committee, prior to joining the Board he was Chair of the Speakers Bureau.

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WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: Third Age Achievement Award Winner - Stephen R. Coffey
Stephen R. Coffey -

With over 38 years of experience at the State and Federal levels, he is considered one of the most successful trial lawyers in these two diverse practice areas. He has been recognized by his peers for his record setting verdicts and settlements and his unique ability to master both personal injury and criminal defense trials. Steve was selected by his peers as a New York Superlawyer in these fields.

Steve is the founding partners and chair of the Personal Injury and Criminal Defense practice at the Law Firm of OConnell and Aronowitz. He is known for his fearless approach when confronted with injustice. Steve is an active participant of local and national charitable organizations involving disabled individuals, including the Muscular Dystrophy Assocation, Living Resources and The Miracle League. Over the years he has raised thousands of dollars for Muscular Dystrophy by holding and annual dinner called Legal Leaders in the Fall.  He has also done pro-bono work for those who are less fortunate and unable to retain legal services. For the past five years, Steve has been an active member of The Miracle League. Located in East Greenbush, the Miracle League offers athletic and social opportunities at no cost to special needs children, adults and their families. The league offers baseball, basketball, bowling, football, soccer and track & field to special needs participants of all ages.  He was also a board member of The Hope House Outpatient Clinic. He is also active at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center.  He is kind, compassionate and genuine. These qualities are portrayed through his work, actions and the various organizations he supports.

He is proud of all of the people he has tried to help to the best of his ability and is most proud of his family.

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