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Congratulations to our 2019 Tribute to Traditions Honorees:

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Exemplary Senior: Lucy Wheeler

Freelance writer and photographer, Lucy Wheeler, was born to a farming family nine decades ago.  She earned her AA Degree and spent 30 years as a medical technologist, went back to school for a business degree and spent the next 10 years as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and finally “retired” into a 23-year career running her own real estate business at 68 years old.  She did all that with the mantra of “I’ll show you!” smiling all the way.  At age 80, with five grown children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, she enrolled in photography courses at Palomar Community college to launch her next chapter as a photojournalist.  Her work has appeared in, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, and Edible San Diego.

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Foundation Volunteers of the Year: Cathy and Mike Ellis

Mike and Cathy Ellis own and operate a senior placement service. Senior Care Options consults with families who are in need of specific types of Assisted Living properties or In-Home care.  Their business stands out in our local senior industry as a caring and very well informed resource, based in large part on Cathy’s unmatched career experience.  Cathy spent over 30 years in Assisted Living.  In fact, she was an Executive Director at 10 large properties during her career and developed a widely known reputation in 3 counties for her outstanding results.   She loves to help families while drawing on her extensive knowledge.  Senior Care Options provides that opportunity.   Mike came out of a long IT industry career, but gradually blended into Assisted Living industry marketing through Cathy over the years.  He wears several different promotional and technical hats for Senior Care Options.   He also works with families himself.    Cathy and Mike further differentiate themselves by maintaining active State of California Residential Care Facility for the Elderly -RCFE Administrator licenses. 

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Senior Community Advocate: Dr. Susan D. Writer, Ph.D.

Dr. Writer is a County of San Diego acknowledged “Public Health Champion”, in particular, for her work in older adult health and wellbeing.  She has her doctorate in clinical psychology and conducts Community Outreach and Education for Aurora Behavioral Health Care, an acute in-patient psychiatric hospital in San Diego that treats children, adolescents, adults and seniors struggling with acute mental illness and substance abuse.   For five years, she led the all-volunteer North County Action Network (NorCAN) which advocates for older adults and adults with disabilities and their families.  Under her tenure, NorCAN accomplished key educational events and developed older adult programs.  Dr. Writer has been a lead volunteer planner and keynote speaker at the North County Aging Summit and speaks at senior centers across San Diego County.  Additionally, Dr. Writer has been a volunteer with the annual Because I Care Community Fair and Aging with Grace.  She also sits on multiple community boards and coalitions, and she sees patients in a private practice in Hillcrest.  

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