Two remarkable individuals received awards July 11 for their work with Parkvue Community, a retirement and assisted living community in Sandusky, Ohio. Parkvue is part of UCC-related United Church Homes, which is headquartered in Marion, Ohio.

Smith Volunteers with Spirit

Annee Smith receives her Spirit Award from Amy DiFilippo, Parkvue’s activities coordinator.

Annee Smith, of Sandusky, was recognized with the 2017 Spirit Award from Parkvue Community and United Church Homes for her eight years of dedicated volunteer service at Parkvue.
Annee, a 2009 graduate of Perkins High School in Sandusky, attended EHOVE Career Center and learned job skills in the marketing, sales and services program. While attending EHOVE, she took a trip to Parkvue with her class and trained in activities, dietary services, housekeeping and medical records.

After graduating from EHOVE, Annee decided to keep going to Parkvue because she wanted to be around the residents who call it home.

“The residents are fun to talk to and some I’ve known since I started volunteering,” Annee said. “I have friends who are staff, and I want to help them. I have a great boss named Amy DiFilippo. She’s amazing with the residents.”

Annee volunteers with the activities staff regularly, escorts residents around the building and visits Parkvue’s neighborhoods. Sometimes, she simply sits and talks with the residents.

“Parkvue helps the residents and makes sure they’re safe,” Annee said. “It makes them feel like they’re home. My grandma is there, and I know she’s getting help. I want her safe. I’m glad she has friends and goes to activities.”

“Parkvue is a good place. … I know I’m doing God’s work. It makes me happy,” she added.

Parkvue Community and United Church Homes appreciate Annee’s longtime dedication to and passion for the residents of Parkvue!

Behnken Receives Herbster Award

Harold Behnken, a resident and longtime supporter of Parkvue Community, received the 2017 Parkvue Community Ben M. Herbster Award.

Harold Behnken, a resident and longtime supporter of Parkvue Community, is the recipient of the 2017 Parkvue Community Ben M. Herbster Award, named for the first president of the United Church of Christ.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Harold served in the Navy for three-and-a-half years and spent his career as an engineer at General Motors. While in the Navy, he served in Okinawa, Japan, and was active in battle. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1945.

Harold has lived in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Huron and Sandusky, Ohio. He met his wife, Priscilla “Boots” Booth, while playing cards in Brooklyn. She was a nurse and the couple later settled in Huron. Many of Harold’s family members, including his wife, daughter and brother, have passed on.

Harold now lives at Parkvue, where he enjoys the pool and activities, including playing bridge.

Harold is a pillar member and donor at Parkvue. He also was a member of the United Church Homes Mission, Vision, Values Committee, which included residents, the UCH Board of Directors, a UCH executive and Parkvue staff.

Parkvue Administrator Ken Keller recommended Harold for the committee after getting advice from other Parkvue residents.

“His name came up on more than one occasion,” Ken said. “He’s a gentlemen’s gentleman. He’s a very caring, very interested, very genuine individual, who truly seems to be concerned about and interested in Parkvue Community and the residents. Harold is well thought of by his neighbors.”

The committee helped overhaul UCH’s vision, mission and values statements that reflect what the organization is about and where it’s going. Harold’s philanthropic commitment to United Church Homes began after he served on the committee.

Parkvue Community and United Church Homes appreciate Harold’s dedication to and passion for the residents of Parkvue!