Essex Council on Aging “Veterans’ Gallery” Received Modernizing Senior Centers Innovation Award


The Essex Council won an award from the National Council on Aging’s National Institute of Senior Centers for its “Veteran’s Gallery,” an exhibition program held during November 2022 honoring the many veterans with connections to the Town of Essex.

Veteran photographs, ranging from the Civil War to the present, were displayed all around the first floor of the Essex Senior Center.  The exhibit was open to the public to view throughout the month.  The Grand Opening of the Veterans Gallery included a veteran’s breakfast, patriotic sing-along, and presentation by local historian Bethany Groff Dorau, Executive Director at the Museum of Old Newbury and author of “A Newburyport Marine in World War I.” 

Susan Parady, a member of the Essex Council on Aging Board and dedicated volunteer, spearheaded the project with her vision and talent, bringing the Veterans’ Gallery to life at the Essex COA.

“I am proud and delighted to learn that our Veterans’ Gallery has received this special recognition. The project was a labor of love and required significant resources, with many people contributing to its success. I can honestly say the result far exceeded our expectations as it truly is one of the best things we have ever offered at the Essex Council on Aging”, said Kristin Crockett, Director of the Essex Council on Aging.

NCOA’s Awards is a peer-reviewed competition that gives senior centers an opportunity to share their innovative programs and the impact they have on the people they serve and their communities.  NCOA recognizes outstanding programs for their impact on health, nutrition, and access to social services; for attracting new participants; creating virtual and in-person programming; and multigenerational engagement.  All programs were conducted between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022.

“This year’s awardees are proof that senior centers continue to be hubs of innovation for creative programs that reach a diverse population of older adults, improving lives and communities,” said Dianne Stone, NCOA’s Associate Director of Network Development and Engagement.

Karen Tyler, Veteran Service Officer for local veterans on Cape Ann congratulated the Essex COA agreed and said the recognition is important.

“The exhibit they created was second to none in honoring our Veterans and proud families of Veterans,” she said.  “The conversations they started by this initiative got the public interacting with Veterans and taught the children of the town more about their Veteran neighbors.”

council on aging’s national institute of senior centers, susan parady, director of network development and engagement, aging’s national institute of senior centers, essex council on aging, essex senior center, veteran service, karen tyler, senior centers innovation award, executive director, kristin crockett, museum of old newbury, bethany groff dorau