Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award Winners Chosen

Sep 11, 2012, 12:06 ET from Flushing House

FLUSHING, New York, Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Adult Ministries, the parent company of Flushing House, will honor three outstanding persons with The Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award, during their annual fundraising gala on Thursday, November 8, 2012, at historic Flushing Town Hall.  The gala will also feature live in-person performances by America's beloved tenor Daniel Rodriguez, New York City's own "singing policeman" whose emotional acappella renditions of "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner," did much to lift the nation's spirits in the wake of September 11, 2001.



The awards are named after the late Rose Kryzak, a prodigious public advocate who fought for the rights of older adults.  A resident of the UAM-sponsored Flushing House for her last 13 years, she passed on June 24, 1999 at 99 years of age.  To keep her legacy alive and further the many causes she cared for, UAM established the Kryzak Awards in 2000 and New York's former First Lady Matilda Cuomo officiated at the program's inauguration. 

Rose Kryzak was best known for spearheading passage of New York State's landmark 1987 Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage legislation (EPIC).  But earlier in her life she fought for passage of Social Security, for the poor and elderly during Federal budget cuts of the 1980's, for increases in New York's share of Supplemental Security Income, and for mandatory Medicare assignments and passage of universal health care. 

At each annual Gala, Rose Kryzak's family attends to help honor the award winners for their continuing good works on behalf of older adults.  The award winners must have established, operated or expanded programs that benefit the older adult population, have a track record of advocacy, and secured funding for senior programs.

This year's honorees are Estela Divino, Mary Sheehan-Lohne, and Carol O'Dette. "They have all soldiered on in the tradition of Rose Kryzak, making major contributions of service and caring for older adults," said Robert F. Salant, Flushing House director of community relations.  "The legacy of Rose Kryzak shall not be forgotten, and that's why each year since her passing, we bestow these awards in her name," Salant said.

Estela B. Divino, LCSW, has served as director of social services at Regal Heights Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Jackson Heights, from 2000 to present.  She oversees the social work department of a 280-bed nursing facility, providing long-term care to older adults, short-term rehabilitation for post-surgical residents, hospice and palliative care, and special services for dementia and Alzheimer's, plus adult day health care for Asian and Latino populations.

Her advocacy for seniors includes appealing denials of benefits, applying for care and housing alternatives, helping with enrollment in prescription drug programs, etc.  She is on the Health and Social Services Committee, Queens Community Board No. 3, and is on the board of the Queens Interagency Council on Aging.  She was previously director of social services, and assistant director, at two other Queens-based nursing homes.

Mary Sheehan-Lohne, LCSW, has been director of social services at the Cliffside Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Flushing, from 2000 to today.  She is responsible for social work and discharge planning at a 218-bed rehabilitation/nursing facility and a 64-person dialysis unit.  She handles caseloads of the short-term rehabilitation unit, oversight of psychology services at the nursing and dialysis units, and supervision of master level social work students.

As an advocate for senior issues, she is the staff liaison for the NYC Ombudsman program at Cliffside and previously at Gouverneur Nursing Facility.  At Gouverneur, she assisted residents and families with the change in immigration regulations in 1996.  In the 1980's at Kingsbridge Heights Manor, she wrote letters, had petitions signed, coordinated demonstrations at the DOH, and lobbied legislators in Albany. 

Carol O'Dette, LCSW-R, has been a social worker in health care since 1979.  She has been director of social work services at Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home, since 2007.  She heads up their social work department, providing case management, discharge planning services, advising residents and families on alternate community living options,  related benefits and grants, Advance Directives, Medicaid eligibility, etc.

In her first post at Fairview Nursing Home, she started the LTC Social Work Directors Coalition, and took part in the first Grey Panthers group in Flushing.  Later, she was director of social services for Brookdale Hospital's nursing homes, where she set the standards of practice for their HIV/AIDS population, spearheaded their first Hospice, and started their first medical center-wide Ethics Committee.  She also worked at two other metro area health care systems. 

The fundraising gala will be held on November 8, 2012, at historic Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, New York, starting at 6:00 p.m. and running until 11:00 p.m.  All proceeds support a special endowment fund, which allows Flushing House to remain affordable for many of the older adults who live there.  Those who attend will help support the Flushing House mission, and also be entertained by their special guest - tenor Daniel Rodriguez - who thrills audiences the world over with his powerful, operatic voice! 

Interested parties should RSVP by October 29, 2012, by sending in their name and address, along with a $75 check payable to United Adult Ministries, to Robert F. Salant, director of community relations, Flushing House, 38-20 Bowne Street, Flushing, NY 11354.  For more information, please call 347-532-3025 or email

Built in 1974, Flushing House is one of the first nonprofit retirement communities to offer an "Independent Living" lifestyle with supportive services available right on the premises.  Please go to for more information.

SOURCE Flushing House