The Senior Hall of Fame represents an elite and unique group of seniors who share many years of commitment to volunteerism and public service. Using their considerable skills, life experiences, and energies, each years of inductees have worked tirelessly to improve quality of life for people of all ages. They function as role models of caring and selfless dedication, leaving their helping and creative mark on our schools, hospitals and social agencies. They have protected our environment, enriched our cultural life, provided guidance for our young people, and brought hope and meaning to the lives of the lonely, disadvantaged and elderly.
Barbara’s interest and involvement with the needs and concerns of the elderly began in 1989 when she became her mother’s caregiver, a nearly 10 year commitment until her mother required nursing home admission at age 99. Even while working full-time as a medical transcriptionist, Barbara’s desire to help other seniors continued to grow and expanded to volunteer work with local nursing homes as well as with a hospice organization.
After her mother died at 101, Barbara continued to volunteer at care facilities and various retirement and senior centers, and was also actively involved with the Nursing Home Ministry at her church. She served for a time as a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association, and for 3 years facilitated a weekly gathering of residents at North Ridge Alzheimer’s and Memory Care facility.
Since officially retiring from transcription in 2015 (at age 80), she does one-on-one visits with the elderly and infirm and gives art demonstrations featuring birds and animals. (Barbara has also been a successful wildlife and animal portrait artist for many years and has illustrated several books.) For the past 3 ½ years she has been conducting a weekly Bible study, “The Artworks of God”, at MorningStar Assisted Living and has begun an art workshop there as well. She also serves on the Hoffmantown Church Legacy Council, a 4-member team that plans, promotes and produces a series of adult seminars and two annual major events for seniors: The Beloved Banquet, a dinner honoring widows and widowers, and the 90+ Birthday Party for those who have reached the 9-decade threshold.
Paul Merritt is a native New Mexican who grew up in Silver City. After graduating from NMSU, he served 4 ½ years in the Air Force. He met his wife Laura while attending the University of Texas graduate school. They have 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren. He is a Mechanical Engineer who received his PhD in 1974 from The University of NM. He worked most of his career with laser system designs at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NM. After retirement, he worked for Boeing Aircraft for 6 years, and then taught at The University of NM for 7 years in Mechanical Engineering. Teaching is his most enjoyed profession, as he finds working with youth to be a great satisfaction. He has written 2 technical books on laser operations. Paul is a Fellow in the Boeing Company and in 2 professional societies.
Starting in 1976 Paul worked every year thereafter with the Asbury Pie Café, at the State Fair. He usually worked as a cook, making hamburgers and hot dogs. In 1976 the Café was run by Asbury United Methodist Church, but it got too big for one church and now there are 12 churches that work together to run the café. The NM State Fair runs for 10 days, but the work to support the café starts in July and August when about 2,000 pies are made at the church kitchens. Paul has worked on these tasks each year. This Café work is very rewarding, since all the profit goes to local charities that feed the poor and the homeless.
In 2009 Paul was asked to be the chairperson of the Asbury Café, a 3-year term. However, it turned out that for the last 10 years Paul has been the chairperson, except for 2 years when he was the co-chair. The most rewarding part of the Café work is when the checks are presented to the charities. The checks are presented by one of the 12 member churches to 12 local charities. For the last several years the profit that is provided to the charities has been $50,000. For the last two years, Silver Horizons has received some of the proceeds from the Cafe’s pie sales.
Donna’s volunteer efforts have been focused on education for seniors and children, arts programming for the community, and social services for our most at-need residents, regardless of age.
After leaving her corporate life at General Dynamics Corp., she became the National Director for OASIS, a nationwide educational program for seniors that combines a wide range of liberal arts, exercise, travel, and preventative medical programming for seniors. She was responsible for obtaining the local partners for each new OASIS site, training the director, and developing the initial program of classes. One of the last sites she developed was the OASIS program in Albuquerque. Donna strongly believes that keeping both mind and body active slows the aging process and allows seniors to remain active and engaged far beyond retirement.
She has served on over 19 non-profit boards and has given of her time and experience in the areas of management, strategic planning, board development, public relations, and fundraising which resulted in over $20 million in donations to those organizations. She is currently the VP of the New Mexico Children’s Foundation, which provides financial grants for youth related programs throughout the state; and the President of the Albuquerque Del Norte Rotary Club, which provides both local and international support for a wide range of social service programs benefiting all ages.
Donna has been very engaged in a number of international programs and believes that she is incredibly fortunate to have been born in the U.S. Volunteering is a small way she can repay her good fortune.
Bruce attended the University of Arizona on an athletic scholarship, where he served as President of Delta Chi fraternity and was a three year letterman in golf. After graduating in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, he moved to Albuquerque where he became licensed account executive with Goodbody and Company.
Through mergers and acquisitions, his employer became Dean Witter, then Dean Witter and Co., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Morgan Stanley, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. He has remained loyal to his first employer, working at the same brokerage firm for over 50 years. He is currently Senior Vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management where he is among the top 1% of account executives.
Philanthropy is a core value held and actualized by Bruce on a daily basis. His current charitable interests are far-reaching but include the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Mexico where he served on the board and is a past president, the University of New Mexico Presidential Scholars Program (of which he was Chairman), the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico, and United Way of Central New Mexico. His favorite pastime is golf; he held the Albuquerque Men’s Amateur title (’71) and the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association New Mexico West Texas Senior title (2001).
Bruce has been happily married to Sandy for over 46 years. They have a daughter Melissa and are extremely proud of their grandchildren, Noah and Hallie.