VANTAGE SOAR Awards Honor Those Promoting Positive Aging in Ohio

Winners of the SOAR Awards Have Been Announced

Akron, Ohio (May 13, 2019):  VANTAGE Aging hosted the 2019 SOAR Awards on May 2 at The Tangiers. The SOAR Awards recognize those who improve the lives of older adults across Ohio.

The VANTAGE SOAR Awards were created in an effort to bring the community together and address the growing need for programs and services that help our aging populations.

“The SOAR Awards bring the pressing issues facing all of us as we grow older to center stage,” said VANTAGE CEO Karen Hrdlicka. “It is a great opportunity to recognize those who make an impact on the lives of older adults across Ohio. Together, we can continue to promote a message of positive aging and work towards meeting the needs of seniors.”

Many of the evening’s presenters talked about their connections to older adults in our community and how vital programs addressing their needs are. Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, who won the 2018 Joe Ruby Collaboration in Aging SOAR Award, spoke on the importance of working together to create better outcomes for older adults.

The 2018 Age Friendly City Award winner Barberton Mayor William Judge talked about what it means for a community to be age friendly. Dr. Eileen Schwartz, who was honored with the 2018 Ed Kaufman Leadership in Aging SOAR Award, shared the legacy of VANTAGE Aging’s founder and how his leadership grew a struggling startup nonprofit into a multi-service organization.

2019 VANTAGE SOAR Award winners

Frank Gonzalez-Abreu (Care on Demand Network), Joe Ruby Collaboration in Aging Services

Given to a person or group who improved services to older adults through a collaborative effort in Ohio. Nominees included Green Good Neighbors, Julie Carneal (Open M), and White Pond Villa Community Garden.

City of Green, Age Friendly City

Given to a city in Ohio that works to make their city more age friendly. Nominees included the City of Columbus.

Sam McCoy (Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities), Ed Kaufman Leadership in Aging

Given to a leader in Ohio who has improved the lives of older adults. Nominees included Nikolina Karovski (Q92) and Green Mayor Gerald Neugebauer.

Sam McCoy (Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities) wins Ed Kaufmann Leadership in Aging Award.

Special Recognition Awards were presented to:

Summit County ADM Board received VANTAGE Aging Partner of the Year.

The Fairmount Mineral Foundation received VANTAGE Aging Donor of the Year.

Marc Molea, Chief of Strategic Partnerships at the Ohio Department of Aging, received the Positive Aging Award.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Summit County received the Age-Friendly Business Award.

SOAR Award winners received one-of-a-kind, custom awards created by Akron artist Jennifer Worden. She designs the awards with a feather symbolizing the winners helping seniors soar to success.

Next year, the VANTAGE SOAR Awards will be a breakfast on May 11, 2020. Check in with the VANTAGE website at and follow VANTAGE on social media to stay up to date on the event.

Contact VANTAGE with any questions at 330-253-4597 or


VANTAGE Aging provides high-quality programs to empower the economic, social, physical, and mental well-being of adults as they age. Non-medical in-home care is provided by Home Wellness Solutions. Behavioral Health Solutions offers mental health counseling and treatment for alcohol and other drug use issues to adults age 45 and older. Job training for low-income adults age 55 and older is offered through the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Evidenced-based volunteering to meet local and national needs is provided by RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers. Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio provides home-delivered and congregate meals to provide nutritional support to the homebound and disabled. Overall, VANTAGE’s programs come together to offer a path for positive aging. Founded in 1975 as a senior citizen program, VANTAGE has since become an independent, nationally respected organization with offices throughout the state. For more information, call 330.253.4597 or visit

Media Relations Contact:

Dawn Moeglin

Senior Director of Community Engagement


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Sam McCoy with Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities.

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