Denise Niese receives national award PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 14 June 2013 08:46
Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, received the Star Award from NANASP (National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs) at the organization's annual conference held recently in San Diego.
For more than two decades, NANASP has recognized individuals for their contributions to older Americans.  This award acknowledges outstanding achievements by members and others who help NANASP further its vision to reshape the future of nutrition and healthy aging, along with its mission to strengthen through advocacy and education those who help older Americans.
Early in Niese's career with WCCOA, it was noted that the county's current kitchen was at capacity.  With baby boomers aging and more need for senior centers and home delivered meals throughout Wood County, Niese jumped on board to help secure funding to build a new stand-alone production kitchen.  
This kitchen, which opened in January 2007, has prepared more than one million hot, nutritious meals for those older adults who may not have been able to receive these services otherwise.
A few years later, she saw a need for Saturday meals.  She began giving up her Saturdays once a month to serve those older adults able to come in for meals at the Wood County Senior Center in Bowling Green.  Even on Thanksgiving Day, Niese was in the kitchen preparing 100 meals for her extended "family"- from roasting turkey, to peeling potatoes, to making salad.
Nutrition service providers play a vital role in improving the lives of older Americans daily through nutrition sites, such as WCCOA's seven senior centers and its daily home delivered meals; which might be the only social contact the senior has during the day. Those who selected Niese for the Star Award agreed that no one better understands the day-to-day challenges faced by seniors, and the best way to help seniors face these challenges than Niese, who is continually advocating for increased senior services. Perhaps most importantly, she recognizes the detrimental effect that decreases in government funding can have on an aging population
As executive director of WCCOA, she is an advocate for older adults, supporter of colleagues, and mentor to co-workers.  She is a board member of the Ohio Association of Senior Center's (OASC) and serves on the National Institute of Senior Centers' (NISC) Accreditation Review Board.
As the nomination form noted, not a day goes by that Niese isn't living the words of the Wood County Committee on Aging's mission statement: "To provide older adults with services and programs which empower them to remain independent and improve the quality of their lives."
According to NANASP, nutrition service providers play a vital role in improving the lives of older Americans daily - whether it is through nutrition sites, such as exercise classes, health screenings, podiatry care, social worker assistance, tax services, and/or social activities. Given the central role nutrition service agencies and individuals play in an agency's success in serving its members and external audiences, the creativity, execution and success of outstanding communications should be applauded and recognized.

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