Going back to the 1960s, Rose Marie Hall has had approximately five different careers and retired twice – most recently in 2014.
She’s also raised five children and earned a master’s degree.
And, to this day, she continues to serve the community through volunteer work.
Wednesday, the 75-year-old South Buffalo native known as “Ro” was honored as Erie County’s “Senior of the Year.”
“I don’t believe in false modesty,” Hall said during a noontime ceremony in the Rath County Office Building. “I appreciate this honor, but there are so many people that do so much.”
But county officials said what Hall has done and continues to do sets her apart.
While the county recognizes seniors on a monthly basis, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said the yearly honoree is someone “who’s gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
Randy Hoak, commissioner of senior services, echoed the sentiment. “I’ve been impressed with Ro’s determination since day one,” Hoak said, adding that he immediately recognized there was something intangible that sets her apart. That intangible is her ability to inspire those around her, he said.
The earliest of Hall’s myriad careers was teaching in Catholic elementary schools in Buffalo. She also worked for Catholic Charities, was a federal Department of Housing and Urban Development housing manager in Buffalo and Blasdell, director of The McLaughlin Center for Senior Wellness/Kaleida and volunteer coordinator for Erie County’s Senior Companion Program. Hall also served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Aging and was a board member and committee co-chairperson of the Network in Aging of Western New York. She’s the former chairwoman of the Erie County Senior Services Advisory Board and current chairwoman of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Advisory Council, a volunteer receptionist – and former driver – for Meals on Wheels of Western New York, and an active parishioner at St. Teresa’s Church.
Hall said she started volunteering while a freshman at Mount St. Joseph Academy; she fed patients at a polio clinic in Buffalo.
Through the years, Hall also had made her opinions known, via letters to the editor of The Buffalo News. Last year, for example, she wrote about seniors getting caught in the gambling web and, in another letter, urged taxpayers and voters to get involved to bring about change in the region.
“I believe in letting your voice be heard,” she said, after those activities were noted by a reporter.
Accepting her Senior of the Year proclamation Wednesday, Hall related that someone had asked her why she volunteers.
“The best question is why not?” she responded. “If you have got time, if you have got talent ... a little bit of money, why not give back?”