VANTAGE SOAR Awards Honor Those Promoting Positive Aging in Summit County

VANTAGE Aging hosted the 2018 SOAR Awards (Summit Oscars for Aging Resources) yesterday, May 3, at The Tangiers. SOAR Awards recognize those who improve the lives of older adults in Summit County.

The 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. Many of the evening’s presenters spoke of their personal connections to older adults in our community and how vital programs addressing their needs are.

Gary Davis, Global Manager of Quality Standards & Global Product Quality at Goodyear Tire & Rubber and VANTAGE Board Member, noted that he has had to help his mom considerably throughout the years and couldn’t help but wonder how older adults without this kind of support system live healthy and comfortable lives without the programs and services that VANTAGE and other nonprofits provide.

Clyde Doutt, a VANTAGE RSVP volunteer, spoke about the importance of aging services and said that the RSVP program keeps him active. It allows him to contribute to his community and give back to the agency that has made life easier for him and his wife, Freda. The Doutts receive Meals on Wheels home delivery and Home Wellness services through VANTAGE Aging.

Community members nominated individuals and organizations for 7 different awards. Judges selected winners and included:

  • Joe Ruby, industry leader in aging policy and services
  • Harvey Sterns, Professor of Psychology at The University of Akron, Research Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, and President, Board of Governors for Accreditation for the Gerontology Education Council
  • Kim Ray, Vice President, HCPF of PNC Bank.

VANTAGE President & CEO Karen Hrdlicka and Director of Community Engagement co-hosted the 2018 SOAR Awards

Here are the 2018 VANTAGE SOAR Award winners

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Joe Ruby Collaboration in Aging Services

Given to a group of people or organizations who improved services to older adults through a collaborative effort in Summit County. Nominees included Summit County Probate Court and Akron Community Foundation.

City of Barberton, Age Friendly City

Given to a city in Summit County that works to make their city more age friendly. Nominees included the City of Green and the City of Twinsburg.

Dr. Eileen Schwartz, Ed Kaufman Leadership in Aging

 Given to a leader in Summit County who has improved the lives of older adults. Nominees included Barbara Mansfield Heinzerling and Margaret Scott.

Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, Aging in Place

Given to a service provider who has helped older adults stay in their homes. Nominees included Ohio Living Rockynol and Holly Miller.

Paul Testa, Aging Environment Excellence

Given to a housing service that provides excellence in their living environments for older adults. Nominees included Sunrise of Cuyahoga Falls, Laurel Lake Retirement Community, and The Village of St. Edward.

Stellar Private Cable Systems and SeniorTV, Age Friendly Business

Given to a business that strives to be friendly to older adults. Nominees included Metro RTA and Stan Hywett Hall and Gardens.

Summit County Probate Court received a Certificate of Special Recognition in Innovation for their 2018 Senior Summitto be held May 18 and 19.

Akron Community Foundation was the VANTAGE Partner of the Year and ActionLink was the VANTAGE Donor of the Year.

Upon accepting the awards, recipients reflected on how their efforts have impacted seniors, as well as how the results of their efforts impacted them. Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro thanked the residents of Summit County for their support of bettering the lives of aging adults.

Paul Testa, CEO of  Testa Companies, said that although his company has been in the building industry for over 50 years, his greatest achievement has been The Village at Anna Dean in Barberton, which is redefining the way we look at affordable senior living.

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro accepting a SOAR 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.

As the aging population in Summit County grows, striving to meet the needs of older adults is increasingly critical. Community support is necessary for VANTAGE Aging and other organizations to continue to serve our most vulnerable neighbors. Visit for a variety of ways to join VANTAGE in its mission to help older adults be independent at home and active in the community.

About VANTAGE Aging

VANTAGE Aging (formerly Mature Services) provides high-quality programs to empower the economic, social, physical, and mental well-being of adults as they age.  Our programs include home wellness solutions, mental health services and treatment for alcohol and other drug use disorders, job training, home-delivered and congregate meals, and volunteer opportunities. 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, visit


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