Smithtown resident Sally Economou has been named the winner of the Senior Citizen of the Year award, County Executive Steve Bellone announced Monday.
Economou will receive her award at the annual Suffolk County senior celebration luncheon which will be held at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook on May 15.
Nominations for the award were received by the Suffolk County Office for the Aging and the Suffolk County Senior Citizen Advisory Board and staff of the office reviewed all nominations.
“I am happy to announce that Sally Economou has been chosen as the Suffolk County Senior Citizen of the Year,” Bellone said. “Our senior community has and continues to contribute to the overall quality of life in Suffolk County. I thank the countless senior volunteers across the county who work tirelessly every day to serve others and look forward to their continued involvement in bettering our communities.”
Economou was chosen for her outstanding community service and commitment to serving others. She joined The Retired Senior Volunteer (RSVP) program 18 years ago and has been actively involved since then. Economou is one of the friendly voices that you hear on the other end of the line for homebound elderly in Telephone Reassurance Program (TR).
Her memory for detail is impressive as you hear her converse with those that often feel isolated. Every Friday, Economou can be found chatting with a senior about their cat, the price of home heating fuel, a TV show, a scientific finding, or suggesting a community resource that might benefit them. She is often teased that she would be a perfect TV talk show host. Economou has "adopted" the neediest of the TR recipients and visits them at home occasionally for a cup of tea and a bit of socialization they are so hungry for.
When Economou isn't at RSVP's Telephone Reassurance Program, her other community involvement is being a part of Visiting Nurse Service of Suffolk County where she is a compassionate and gentle hospice worker. The hospice setting is not a sought after volunteer placement, but one that Economou excels in.
Economou has experienced losses in her own life, yet has given of her time and talent by volunteering with the agency since she was 63, freely giving close to 5,000 hours of herself. Recently, Economou made the commitment to have her dog trained as a service dog. Both she and her pup graduated successfully and Sally travels weekly to various nursing homes and rehabilitation centers to provide the patients a bit of canine comfort.