DEARBORN, Mich. – Dearborn has a large senior citizen population, many of whom receive assistance from local volunteers who regularly donate their time to help their fellow residents.
The Recreation Department’s Senior Services Division, in partnership with the Senior Citizens Commission, offers many programs that benefit senior residents.
Among those are physical fitness classes, seminars on medical issues, Meals on Wheels prep and delivery, computer instruction, bus ticket distribution and low-cost transportation services. Help with tax forms preparation is another example of the services offered.
The annual Senior Service Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast was held on March 16 to thank all the volunteers who assist with these programs and to honor Cecelia Wylie Pilon and Jeffrey Ponstein as “Senior Volunteers of the Year” for 2011.
The winners were announced and congratulated by Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr.
Pilon, who was born in Detroit but raised in Dearborn, graduated from Fordson High School in 1959. She began working at Morris Associates in 1971, and retired from the company after 36 years of service.
After marrying and raising her daughter, Rene, and son, Rick, in Lincoln Park, Pilon returned to Dearborn in 1998 to care for her father in her childhood home.
Pilon is very active with the monthly Surplus Food Distribution program, assisting with the Friday packaging and the Monday distribution of the food and filling in where she is needed. She also bakes cookies for the Dearborn High Key Club volunteers, and helps with the Liquid Nutrition program where she is needed.
Compassionate and respectful, she delivers Meals on Wheels to the homebound senior citizens of Dearborn once a week. She helps with the News and Views newsletter and theater mailings, and ushers for the Michael A. Guido Theater.
She formerly assisted at the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Livonia and the Food Distribution Program at a church in Pontiac. In her free time, Pilon likes to visit friends, travel around the United States, swim, participate in the Walking Club, and garden. Her grandson, Drew, is her pride and joy.
Born in Dearborn, 54-year resident Jeffrey Ponstein attended Dearborn Christian School before graduating from Edsel Ford High School in 1972. He received an associate’s degree from Henry Ford Community College in law enforcement, and worked in a family-run business for more than 27 years before retiring. He has four sisters and many nieces and nephews.
Ponstein volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program, driving at least two to three days a week, and is always available to help when necessary. His kindness and compassion to seniors is one reason why the program is so successful.
He volunteers at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Gleaner’s Food Bank in Detroit as well. Ponstein is a big Nascar and National Football League fan.