Valley Legacy Awards Honor Lifetimes of Work

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The winners of the 2019 Valley Legacy Awards represent a broad swath of Mahoning Valley seniors who’ve dedicated their lives to causes ranging from Knights of Columbus and education to veterans affairs and Alzheimer’s disease.

Presented by Shepherd of the Valley, the five Legacy Awards winners were announced Wednesday.

Winning the Outstanding Senior in Community Achievement award was Keith Bowser, who worked for Trumbull Mobile Meals for 34 years and served in Knights of Columbus for 37. Each year, he spends 150-plus hours working for the Italian American Festival. He’s also a two-time president of the Champion Kiwanis Club, a Champion Township trustee, an active member at St. William’s Parish and a volunteer for Fairhaven Workshop.

Also receiving the award was Purple Heart recipient Leo Connelly Jr., who was inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame and was instrumental in the dedication of the Women Veterans Memorial Bridge and helped launch Disabled American Veterans Post 2 in Austintown. He’s also raised more than $18,000 for Toys for Tots and developed the Purple Heart Room at Austintown Fitch High School, which allows students to call their parents in the military. 

Trudie Rose-McCoy was also presented with the award for her work in starting Opal’s Spirit of Giving program, a Christmas gift drive for seniors with Alzheimer’s. The program was started in honor of her mother. Since 2013, Opal’s Spirit of Giving has donated hundreds of gifts to seniors across the Mahoning Valley.

Joyce Brooks, who won the Outstanding Senior for Professional Excellence award, has spent most of her life as an educator in a range of capacities. She’s been named a Jennings Scholar and holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

Finally, Shirley Millerleile was named Outstanding Senior Advocate for her work across a wide spectrum of senior issues, from transportation to food to levies. After her husband was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder, she worked with the area’s legislators to advocate for community support and programming.

Pictured: Valley Legacy Award winners Keith Bowser, Joyce Brooks, Shirley Millerleille, Leo Connelly, Moses Murphy and Trudie Rose-McCoy.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.