Office for the Aging


Columbia County Honorees

Arlene Brown lives with her devoted, energetic dog in the same house where she was born 92 years ago. After a 25-year career with NY Telephone, which required a daily commute from Hudson to Albany via trolley/train, Arleen is active in an impressive range of community endeavors.

Arlene Brown Image

From mentoring middle school students, to trail maintenance and office assistance with the Columbia County Land Conservancy, to the circulation desk at the Hudson Area Library (where she is the oldest volunteer), Arleen is known for her irrepressible good nature, enthusiasm, and contagious can-do attitude. She also volunteers at the nearby Greenport Conservation Area as a Public Conservation Area monitor, where she picks up trash, prepares birdhouses, and keeps an eye out for issues that need to be addressed by the Columbia Land Conservancy. She has volunteered for more than 30 years.

She says she "appreciates the opportunity to participate in making meaningful contributions to the community." Sharing her deep knowledge of the history of Hudson is her passion. Her biggest reward is feeling that she continues to be a valued member of the community by doing what she enjoys.

A lifelong Columbia County resident, Joyce McDonald remains actively engaged in helping others at the fine age of 91. Having experienced some challenging periods in her life, she is undeterred in her zest for life and helping others.

Joyce McDonald Image

Joyce regularly calls homebound seniors to make sure they are okay and to chat. She visits nursing home residents, provides transportation to appointments, volunteers for hospice, and staffs the Summer Thrift Shop one day a week. Ever cheerful and apparently lacking any cross words in her vocabulary, Joyce has a way of knowing who needs cheering up with a thoughtful card or visit.

In nominating Joyce, one person said she's "known Joyce all her life and is proud to be her friend as were her parents and grandparents before her." The best guess is that means over a half-century of volunteering.

The simple satisfaction of being helpful to others is what attracted Joyce to becoming a volunteer.

"The act of service is its own reward," she said. She likes to make a difference in the lives of others and the community.