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Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsmen honored by President Obama for service

  Posted on July 21, 2016

25 volunteers receive the President's Volunteer Service Award

COLUMBUS - On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, 2016, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Ombudsman representatives from around the state gathered in Columbus to recognize and honor 25 volunteer Ombudsman Associates and Specialists who received the President's Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes, celebrates and holds up as role models Americans who make a positive impact as engaged and deeply committed volunteers.

Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., Director of the Department of Aging, and State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Beverley Laubert, celebrated the volunteers' dedicated service and achievements, presenting each with a pin, a letter from the President of the United States and a customized certificate.

"Take notice and speak up. If we start with caring, we'll notice more and have greater confidence in speaking up," encouraged Laubert. "All Ohioans have the right to feel at home, regardless of the setting where they reside, so they can continue to grow, thrive and contribute."

Volunteer ombudsmen gave more than 13,692 hours statewide in 2015. Currently, Ohio has 245 volunteer ombudsmen advocating for Ohioans receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care. They advocate for quality through their work to resolve complaints about services, make recommendations for system changes, help people select a provider and provide information about benefits and consumer rights.

"Our volunteer ombudsmen are excellent examples of living 'Well Beyond 60' and helping our elders to do the same," said Burman. "Their service supports Ohio's continuing efforts to promote person-centered care in nursing homes, residential care facilities and home and community-based settings."

One volunteer received the gold award for donating 500 or more hours:

Genny Reed, Richland and Huron - In 2015 Genny volunteered a total of 1,294 hours, which included handling 30 complaint cases, making 266 advocacy visits in six nursing homes and two assisted living homes, and attending 34 resident council meetings. Since 2008, she has contributed more than 5,030 hours helping residents. Genny is one of few volunteers who invested time to become certified at the same level as a paid ombudsman. This is her second time earning the gold award.

Two volunteers received the silver award for contributing 250-499 hours:

John Bombrys, Toledo - An eight-year ombudsman, John currently visits six facilities each week. Residents appreciate the positive energy and genuine concern he has for them and his willingness to advocate on their behalf whenever needed. John received a silver award for his 253.2 hours.

Richard Hoppe, Knox- Richard assists with visits to surrounding nursing homes to ensure residents are visited quarterly and he assists with complaint resolution. Richard is also certified at the specialist level as paid staff are certified. He is a retired firefighter and college professor. Richard received a silver award for donating 256.5 hours in 2015.

Twenty-two volunteer ombudsmen received the bronze award for giving 100-240 hours each.

Steve Nemeth – Bronze, Richland County - provided 171.9 hours in 2015 

Bill Cones – Bronze, Marion County - provided 161.4 hours in 2015

Diane Cunningham – Bronze, Richland County - provided 142.7 hours in 2015

Learn more about the award and its criteria at To learn more about becoming a volunteer ombudsman, visit


About the Long-Term Care Ombudsman - As mandated by the federal Older Americans Act and Ohio law, the mission of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is to seek resolution of problems and advocate for the rights of home care consumers and residents of long-term care facilities with the goal of enhancing quality. Call toll-free, 1-800-282-1206, to learn more or to volunteer.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit