Hometown ‘hero’ volunteers honored

DeWayne Arter, 78, from Forest Hills, has dedicated the past 16 years of his life to his work without once calling in sick or taking a vacation.
Arter spends his days assisting the homebound elderly by bringing them meals and putting his clients’ health before his own. Arter is known throughout the Citymeals-on-Wheels program as a dedicated “hero” who has rescued many of his fellow Queens natives from falls that have led to injuries.
Arter not only supplies daily necessities to several residents throughout the borough, but he runs errands like buying newspapers, stamps and any other requests the homebound elderly may have.
Arter and two other Queens residents, out of 11 in all, were presented with the annual STAR Award from the Citymeals-on-Wheels program last month for their outstanding dedication to the program that delivers nearly 2.7 million meals annually to 18,000 seniors throughout New York City.
“Some of our seniors are alive and healthy today because of our STAR Award honorees,” said Marcia Stein, executive director of Citymeals-on-Wheels. “Whether calling emergency help for a client who has fallen in their home, or simply taking an extra ten minutes to sit and talk with a senior who is all alone in the world, our STAR Award winners exemplify the best in New York.”
Dawn Brule of Long Island City and Juanita Boone, 54, of Far Rockaway who were honored along with Arter were also given the STAR Award this year for their volunteer work with the program.
Brule has served as a volunteer for more than 20 years starting out as a caseworker and working her way through the ranks to become a director. Brule has played a major role in the implementation of new programs to provide additional assistance to the homebound elderly like The Friendly Visiting Programs, a Second Meal Program and a Frozen Meals Program.
Boone is a transportation coordinator for the program who serves as a driver when on-duty staff is sparse. She visits the homebound elderly regularly providing them with supplies, help and company to help them through their day, according to the program.
Citymeals-on-Wheels honored five other Queens residents as runners-up to the STAR Award as well. Alan Sentner, a driver from Bayside; Barbara Toscano, a director from Ridgewood; Carlos Marin, an assistant caseworker from Long Island City; Jason Bynum, a deliverer from Jamaica; and Moreen Seecharran, a caseworker from Long Island City, were mentioned at the seventh award ceremony. The honorees were nominated by their supervisors and their awards were distributed based upon cumulative service.
Citymeals-on-Wheels, founded in 1981, is a non-profit organization and public-private partnership with the New York City Department for the Aging. The organization raises private funds to prepare and deliver weekend, holiday and emergency meals to the homebound elderly, according to Citymeals-on-Wheels.

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