QUEENSBURY — Humble was the word of the day.
The Post-Star honored 15 local residents Tuesday afternoon as part of its Shining Stars program, an initiative dedicated to recognizing the volunteer and community work of those 65 or older.
The second-annual awards ceremony took place at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury, where the honorees and their guests celebrated with communal spirit and food beneath the scratches of silverware and sounds of chitchat.
Post-Star Publisher Terry Coomes introduced the winners, calling their names and reading testimonials from their nominators about their commitment to their communities.
Each was welcomed with applause and presented a custom plaque bearing their name, photo and a collage of adjectives tailored to their deeds and personalities.
They were selected by a committee consisting of Coomes; Steven Jackoski, a board member of The Conkling Center in Glens Falls; and Lt. Steven Stockdale of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
The honored group garnered a standing ovation at the end of the presentation.
Though they were shining Tuesday, many recipients were shy in their newfound limelight.
“I don’t do the volunteering I do to be recognized,” said Harold McKinney of Fort Edward, after a pause. “But now that I have been, it’s very humbling.”
McKinney is an active member and proponent of the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, through which he transports senior citizens to doctor appointments.
He coordinates the group’s Osteobusters Exercise Program, working with 60 leaders and more than 250 participants at 18 sites.
He volunteers with the Washington County EOC, the Glens Falls Food Co-Op, the Chapman Historical Museum, Therapy Dog International and the Glens Falls Hospital, as well.
“There’s so many people out there that are waiting to be asked to do something,” he said of senior-citizen volunteerism.
“I think it’s very self-rewarding because you realize what you do have to offer, to give back,” he said.
He was nominated by his daughter-in-law, Joelle, who said in her nomination that McKinney “inspires others by example.”
Betty LeMay, another recipient, echoed McKinney’s humbled feeling.
“There’s so many other people who do more than I do,” she said.
The Minerva woman said she’s propelled by a desire to help those in need. One of her mottoes is, “Bloom where you are planted.” Her resume is a testament to that creed.
She is a member of the Minerva Historical Society and the Minerva Service Organization, and she is the founder and organizer of the Minerva Day celebration. She volunteers at the Adirondack Tri-County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and St. Joseph’s Church and served as an emergency medical technician for the local rescue squad for several years.
She was also a founding member of the town of Minerva Emergency Preparedness Committee.
“I feel that everyone can make a difference,” she said. “I feel that we are the pebble that goes into the water and makes the ripples go out.”
For her fellow seniors considering getting involved in community service, LeMay had a succinct message: “Just jump in and do it. Just do it.”
Don Corsetti, who garnered the most nominations of any recipient, emphasized after the event the importance of seniors taking up public service.
“I guess when you get a little older, it’s easy sometimes to take the easy road,” the Lake George teacher of more than three decades said. “It’s great to see these people so active.”
He said it’s exciting to be recognized, “especially as you get older.”
And the best reason for seniors to volunteer?
“It’s very self-satisfying,” he said. “And it keeps you young.”