Mayor Alvin Brown greeted Jacksonville’s seniors Wednesday morning to begin the annual two-day Senior Expo & Health Fair at the Osborn Center.
Now in its 16th year, the event is part trade show, part health fair, part outreach from government agencies serving the senior population and it’s all free of charge.
According to the 2010 Duval County profile released by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, nearly 17 percent of the county’s population is age 60 and above and that population is projected to increase by 60 percent by 2025.
Brown attended the expo to help recognize three seniors who exemplify community service and volunteerism.
Priscilla Davis was recognized for her volunteer contributions to elders and their caregivers in Jacksonville. She is the City’s liaison for “Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders,” a state insurance assistance program for senior Floridians.
Retired after a 30-year career with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, now Florida Blue, Davis has counseled hundreds of clients at the Southside branch of the U.S. Social Security Administration.
Also honored was Glenn E. Johnson, who at age 94 has been retired from public education for 30 years. He is marking his 52nd year service as secretary for the Kiwanis Club of Westside Jacksonville. Johnson has donated more than 20 gallons of blood and serves as senior deacon at Lakeshore Baptist Church.
The 2012 recipient of the James L. Fortuna Lifetime Achievement Award is Anne Knight.
The award is a memorial to Jim Fortuna, who, after retiring from the Prudential Insurance Co. of America in 1973, became known as “Mr. Senior” in Jacksonville for overseeing the City’s Commission on Aging for more than eight years. Fortuna died in 2002.
Knight’s work with seniors began in 1981 when her employer, The Charter Co., instituted a corporate volunteer program and adopted a senior living facility.
She served on the Commission on Aging and later, the Council on Elder Affairs. Knight was a member of Brown’s Senior Transition team when he took office last year and collects used wheelchairs and walkers which she distributes to seniors in need.
Another highlight of the event each year is the first distribution of the new Jacksonville Senior Services Directory. The 2012-13 edition has 168 pages of information from A Caring Hand Home Care Services to the First Coast YMCA.
Free copies are available at the expo and will be distributed at area senior centers and public libraries.
The Senior Expo continues from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. today. For more information, visit makeascenedowntown.com.
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