DETROIT, Aug. 13 Two Upper Peninsula residents - a retiredstate Department of Human Services employee and a community healthrepresentative for a Michigan American Indian band - will be honored Sept. 14with the Claude Pepper Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michiganand Blue Care Network.
The late Florida Sen. Claude Pepper was a lifelong activist for thenation's elderly, and the award bearing his name recognizes people'scontributions toward improving the lives of Michigan's senior citizens. Theawards will be presented at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan SeniorAdvisory Council's 17th annual conference in Mount Pleasant.
The honorees, who each will receive a $1,000 check to be given to theirrespective nonprofit organizations, are:
Mary Spalding-Antilla, 57, of Bruce Crossing, in the working advocatecategory. Spalding-Antilla is the community health representative for IndianHealth Services for the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior ChippewaIndians in Watersmeet.
Waino Liuha, 82, of Negaunee, in the volunteer advocate category. Liuha isa retired Michigan Department of Human Services employee and long-timeMarquette area volunteer.
The awards will be presented by Diana Jones, Blue Cross Blue Shield ofMichigan vice president of community affairs, and Kevin Klobucar, Blue CareNetwork vice president of products and marketing and regional executive.Spalding-Antilla works in the Lac Vieux Desert Clinic as an advocate forelderly tribe members with special needs. She regularly transports them tomedical appointments, visits their homes to ensure their needs are met, andcounsels their families on following seniors' last wishes. Spalding-Antillaalso assists seniors in choosing Medicaid prescription plans and is on call 24hours a day to help families when needed. She has successfully applied forseveral grants to purchase transportation for tribal elderly and to obtainfunds for nutrition programs and emergency preparedness.
Liuha, who began his career as an iron miner, earned bachelor's andmaster's degrees from Northern Michigan University and retired in 1992 fromthe Michigan Department of Human Services. A volunteer in the local communitysince the 1950s, Liuha drives up to 8,000 miles a year assisting areaorganizations, including the Public Enrichment Foundation which gives freebooks to needy children and adults. He also volunteers with United Way ofMarquette County, Negaunee Community Foundation and the Ishpeming Kiwanis andLions clubs, and enrolls disabled veterans and seniors in assistance programs.Through the Medical Care Access Coalition, Liuha also delivers medications toMarquette County doctors for home-bound patients.
Forty-two other people will receive honorable mention certificates Sept.14 for helping improve the lives of the elderly. They are:
This year's conference, at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in MountPleasant, is themed "Seniors, Seize the Day: Living a Healthy and Happy Life."Presentations include sessions on elder law, Alzheimer's disease and changesin Medicare. Cost is $20 per person for seniors 55 and older and caregivers,and $50 for service providers, and includes continental breakfast, lunch,discussion sessions and conference materials. The conference also will featurefree flu shots for attendees with Medicare Part B coverage. The shots are $25for all others. To register, call 1-800-733-BLUE (2583) by Aug. 24.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides andadministers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing inMichigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who resideoutside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including:Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred, Community Blue and HealthyBlue Incentives PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living; FlexibleBlue p