2023 JCA Award Winners

awards presented to three winners

JCA has presented three awards for 2023. Each award winner has made a valuable and valued contribution to JCA and the community we serve.

Jack Berezny, JCA Controller received the Ruth Breslow-Young Staff Award of Excellence Award in recognition of his extraordinary service to the JCA’s mission. In his nearly 14 years of service as JCA’s Controller, Jack Berezny has quietly, calmly and deftly managed a wide assortment of ever changing and challenging financial tasks each and every day. Staff who nominated Jack said of him, “In my humble opinion, Jack is the epitome of harmony in the JCA culture.”

Dr. Odile Brunetto was presented with the David Gamse Humanitarian Award as a tribute to an outstanding individual whose work embodies the mission and values of JCA. Dr. Brunetto served as an outstanding partner to nonprofits serving older adults and people with disabilities as Chief of Aging and Disability Services. Her passion, advocacy and wisdom were guiding lights for others to follow. She began her career with Montgomery County Government in 1988 as the first coordinator for services for persons who are homeless, working with guests in homeless shelters, soup kitchens and supporting dedicated volunteers and non profit partners. Over the years, she has served the community in multiple positions. Two notable projects working along with amazing colleagues include the local implementation of the ADA that was passed in 1990 and the implementation of the WHO/AARP Age Friendly Initiative.

The Jacqueline Unger Community Service Award was given to Sheldon Lehner in recognition of his extraordinary volunteer support of the Gorlitz Kensington Clubs. Sheldon began volunteering at Kensington Clubs in 2021 with Terrific Tunes with Sheldon on Zoom and he was an instant hit with the KC members. He would have 10 or more “fans” (as well as their care partners) at every group. He connected with them, laughed with them, and had everyone singing and talking on every Zoom. He completely lifted everyone’s spirits during a time that was very lonely and isolating.

When KC returned in person, Sheldon asked if he could come to KC@Parklawn and bring his PowerPoints and recordings with him. Again, the members (and staff) loved his presentations which were stimulating and thought provoking for his audience with early-stage memory loss. Sheldon has since donated a karaoke machine, many books, records, and a full Bingo set to KC.

When he goes on vacation, he takes movies and photos during his trip and turns them into a presentation for his “friends” at the Kensington Clubs. He has learned to adapt his presentations for people living with dementia, whom he has become familiar with, thus joining the KC staff in providing person-centered care. His motto is, “Do More of What Makes You Happy.”