Steuben County Council on Aging • 317 S. Wayne St., Suite 1 B • Angola, IN 46703
C.O.A. Office (260)-665-8191 STAR Transportation (260)-665-9856
The Steuben County Council on Aging is a community leader in advocacy and services, including transportation, for older adults and others to empower independence and enhance well-being.
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Welcome to the Steuben County Council on Aging Community Center!!!
The Steuben County Council on Aging is staffed with dedicated people who are committed to assisting older
adults and persons with disabilities so that they are able to remain independent in the home of their choice
with dignity, thus preventing premature institutionalization.
The SCCOA is an independent, not-for-profit agency funded by: Title IIB Older Americans Act, Medicaid,
Trustees/County Commissioners, City of Angola, Churches and Civic Groups,
Steuben County United Way, Foundations & Grants, Private Donations and Fundraising.
The SCCOA acknowledges and supports the rights of all individuals and is actively involved in
serving older adults & persons with disabilities, as well as low-income families without any discrimination.
We believe all persons have the right to know what is available to help them care for themselves.
The Council on Aging staff can help provide this information to you.
We provide a wide range of information from all over Steuben County and the region.
If we can be of help, let us know — we are here to serve you!
HONORING OUR VETERANS
United States Navy S1c Paul Marich
Navy Seaman first class (S1c) Paul Marich is currently residing at Lakeland Nursing & Rehab here in
Angola. I was able to spend about 45 minutes with this gentleman, finding out about him and what
his generous contribution to our freedom as we know it today. In 1944, During World War II Paul
Marich enlisted in the US Navy at the young age of 18 years old from his hometown of Cumberland
Kentucky where he lived with his parents, 3 brothers and 4 sisters. He felt it was his duty and honor
to serve, so, he said he “went to the place where you signed up and told them he wanted to go to
either the Navy or the Army, it didn't matter to me” so, after some discussion, he enlisted in the
US Navy. Mr. Marich was sent for his boot camp training at the United States Naval Construction
Battalion, (better known as Seabees) in Camp Peary, Virginia. Following his training, he was sent to
The United States Naval Amphibious Training Base (USNATB) in Fort Pierce, Florida. From there, he
boarded a ship, the USS Rankin (AKA103) enroute to the south west Pacific Islands. The Rankin was
an Attack Cargo Ship, was 459 feet long with a beam of 63 feet. Fully loaded, it weighed approximately 11,000 tons!! The USS Rankin and the other AKAs carried specialized boats, called landing craft, to take the cargo from the ship to the landing area. AKAs were also equipped with guns, primarily for defense from enemy air attack, and secondarily to assist in the shore bombardment that preceded the landing.
The mission of the USS Rankin and service members aboard was to offload the cargo quickly and accurately into the boats, then to get them ashore precisely when they were needed, often in the face of darkness, heavy seas, and kamikaze attack. The mission required bravery, skill, and teamwork, applied through unremitting hours of dangerous, backbreaking work. S1c Marichs’ assignment was a gunner of a 50 caliber machine gun aboard the ship. He would often be aboard the amphibious boats who carried soldiers and supplies to offload at the beaches. He said he remembers the sounds of the enemy aircraft flying over and dropping kamikaze bombs and the explosions of other ships and the enemy fire on land.
I asked him about the “accommodations” aboard the ship, he said he remembers the food as “not good”. He was able to stay in contact with his family during WWII by writing letters and was also able to visit the Hawiian Islands and the Phillipine Islands while on leave. After his tour of duty ended, he was returned to a Naval Base in San Francisco California and then returned to his family home in Cumberland Kentucky . He later married, made his way to Richmond Indiana and from there, to Steuben County. He said he is “nothing special” but we greatly appreciate your service and dedication. THANK YOU SEAMAN FIRST CLASS MARICH FOR YOUR SERVICE!
It’s Time to Help Our Seniors….
We live in one of the most caring and giving communities that I know of anywhere. When there was a need for assisting the less fortunate folks in our community – Project Help became a reality; when there was a need for a recovery house for men – 4-County Transitional Living was established; then a similar home for women struggling with addiction – Women in Transition; then a home for those who had no place to call home – Turning Point Homeless Shelter provides a “hand up” for those in our community who find themselves temporarily without a place to call home. Cahoots Coffee House provides a safe place for our youth to “hang out” and feel welcome. Very soon, our dogs and cats will have a beautiful new home when the Community Humane Shelter opens their new building. All of these projects came to fruition because our community saw a need and opened their hearts and their wallets to help.
I would like to share with you another need that you may not be aware of – our senior community! The Steuben County Council on Aging needs a new home. While we are grateful for the space that we now occupy in the lower level of the Steuben County Community Center, it is just not accessible for our clients.
Many think we are a county entity – we are not though we are located in the county building we share with numerous county departments. Parking is an issue in the usually crowded lot that is shared with county employees and their clients; the walk to the building is long and unprotected from the weather.
Once inside the building, the long hallway is a real challenge just to get to our current space – especially for those who struggle with walking or are using a walker, cane or wheelchair. We have no “welcome center” where our seniors can sit, visit, read – or just socialize with others their age. In other words, they need a place to “hang out” with others their age.
Our community room where all our luncheons and programs are held is yet another distance – more walking, more doors to encounter and no parking or drop-off locations that are easily accessible.
Most likely all of us know of someone who would enjoy a place to go to enjoy the company of others their own age; possibly play cards, games, crafts, informational programs, art projects, exercise – just something to do to stay busy, active – and needed.
Many of our clients are alone because they have lost a spouse or companion; maybe they have no children – or their children live away or work and have limited time to spend with them. Most do not want to be a burden on their families, friends or their neighbors – they want to be independent and feel useful and needed. We believe a new location for our Council on Aging services would provide a place for our senior community to go and continue to enjoy their lives and feel welcome and needed.
Hand in hand with our Council on Aging Senior Center is our STAR van fleet. Many in our senior community depend on these vehicles to pick them up and assist them with their daily needs. Our fleet is parked on the south end of the community building during the spring/summer/fall months and with our fleet of 13 vehicles, we have outgrown our parking lot. During the winter months, we must rent inside space for the fleet to protect them from the winter weather and enable the drivers to have them ready for early morning dispatches. What an asset they are to our senior community as well as to any resident who needs transportation services!
What do we need from the community? A new location!!! Currently, we occupy 4,600 sq. ft. in the community center. With our projected needs, we feel we need at least 5,000 sq. ft. with handicap accessible parking and easy access. We need space for a comfy gathering center, luncheons, meetings and other events that we plan, as well as staff offices. Also, on our “wish list” is inside storage for our van fleet.
How can you help? First of all, we challenge you to come visit us where we are currently – park your car, walk in and down the long hallway to get to our offices – tell us what YOU think. Envision yourself with walking or breathing difficulties, on a walker, wheelchair or cane. Do you have a vacant lot or a vacant building that would work for us? It would be a great tax write-off. Grants are available to renovate a building – but we must own the land or building in order to qualify for them.
A relocation committee has been formed and we have begun meeting regularly. A feasibility study is in the works with future plans for a capital campaign – “Donate to Relocate”. Our board is ready and willing to roll up our sleeves and go to work to make our vision a reality for our seniors. We welcome ideas, suggestions, donations - any input from the community is invited. Do you have a vacant lot or an empty building that would work for our needs? We want to hear from you!! Stop by our offices; contact our board members; join our committee – no offer of assistance will be turned down.
Our seniors have been there for our community over the years – raising their families, working, volunteering, donating - now it’s our turn to provide them with a senior center that will help to enrich their lives on a daily basis.
For more information or a tour of the current space, please call Kris Treadwell, Executive Director at 260-665-8191. It’s our turn!!!!
Steuben County Council on Aging