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Two local seniors receive state honor

Bertie McKenna, left, and Elsie Hofmannstand in front of Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch duringan awards ceremony where they were honored as Golden Hooisers.

By LEANA CHOATE - lchoate@newsexaminer.com

Out of 80 submissions from individuals across the state, the state selected 23 for the Golden Hoosier Award, one of the highest honors bestowed on a senior citizen in Indiana. Two call Fayette County home.

Elsie Hofmann and Bertie McKenna received the Golden Hoosier Award from Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch in a collaboration with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The awards were made at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis on June 25.

The Golden Hooiser Award “acknowledges and recognizes outstanding seniors for their lifetime of service to their communities” according to the website Indiana.gov. 

For over 14 years, McKenna has been involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, now called Fayette County Way to Cure, and has raised money to fight cancer through research and education.

“I have gone around collecting money with my purple notebook for Relay for Life for so many years that people see and recognize the notebook,” McKenna said. “They’ve just started asking me, ‘how much should I give?’ because they know me.”

The award, McKenna said, was a surprise.

“We got there (The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, where the awards were given) I was given a yellow rose and asked what was going on. When the lady told me I was a winner I told her I was always a winner – I didn’t know what she was talking about and I didn’t know I had even won the award,” McKenna said, laughing.

Tara Madden, a long time family friend of McKenna, nominated her.

Hofmann, who will soon be 95, had been a volunteer at Fayette Regional Health System for over 50 years.

Hofmann said that she is proud to have served in the community. 

“I am proud of having given my time as a Girl Scout leader, a 4-H leader, my many years as a hospital volunteer and my time as my church treasurer at First Baptist Church,” Hofmann said. 

Giving back to the community has rewarded Hofmann with experiences that keep her humble, she said.

“Volunteering has provided me with worthwhile and rewarding activities that I have enjoyed doing for myself and others,” she said. 

To Erica Scott, nominating her grandma for this award was a no-brainer.

“My grandma is the most selfless person that I know,” said Scott. “She has been a lifelong volunteer working more volunteer hours than many people work in their career given just how long she’d been volunteering. Given this, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to highlight someone that means so much to me for all of her giving efforts for what is really as long as I can remember.”

Both women continue to be active in the community.