St. Regis Mohawk Tribe - Steuben County Honorees
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Honoree
Leona Cook is an incredible woman born in Akwesasne. She married, had six children and has many grandchildren.
In her fifties, Leona helped with a significant fundraising event for the Fire Department. The goal was to do aerobics for two hours, and not only did she complete the challenge but she raised the most funds! This achievement got her on the Fire Department Float for the yearly parade as the Akwesasne Aerobic Queen. Her ability to raise money for charity is an unbelievable gift. Her friends laugh because she just has to ask and without hesitation, she gets a donation! Leona is always the first to volunteer to take a couple of books of tickets to sell for a fundraiser. She has helped many who have crossed her path.
Leona has been volunteering all of her life within the community. When change is needed, she will say "Rome wasn't built in a day," meaning that change takes time.
Leona's words and attitude teach everyone to be patient, no one is perfect, everyone stumbles, and sometimes fall, but you always have to get back up!
Steuben County Honorees
John Caputo was born in Connecticut, but has resided in New York since 1954. He is a retired pharmacist who enjoys boating on Keuka Lake. He is married to Jan.
John's civic engagement began with the Kiwanis and Elks clubs, the local school district PTA where he served as president and the Steuben County SPCA's Board of Directors. Notably he was a hospice volunteer for over 14 years and a volunteer ambulance driver for six years. He has been very involved with the Office for the Aging now for over 15 years, having served as a Project Care volunteer since 1998, and as a member of the Advisory Council for 13 years. Additionally he has been an Ombudsman for 10 years, a member of our Triad organization for five years, a member of the Board of Directors of Steuben Senior Services Fund, Inc. for seven years and an RSVP volunteer for 17 years. He and his wife Jan were recipients of the Office for the Aging's Community Service Award for outstanding service to our department in 2010. In addition, John is active in his church, where he sings in the choir. He is also an active member of the Gideons.
He has volunteered since the 1960s. He expected volunteering to be a way to live out deeply held Christian beliefs about the importance of helping others, to be challenged, and to learn something new.
John's reward from volunteering is that he has been able to have an impact, to advocate for the rights of the elderly, and to be able to go to sleep at night knowing what he did made someone else's life better.
Lura Huckabone is a native New Yorker and an Eastman School of Music graduate. She retired from a long career in mental health and more recently as Coordinator of Project Care at the Steuben County Office for the Aging.
Throughout her life, Lura's volunteer contributions have centered on music and church where she has played the piano, taught Sunday school and vacation bible school, and directed choirs. She also directed a community choir for the 1976 bicentennial, played with a symphony orchestra and accompanied students for their recitals at Roberts Wesleyan College. As a senior volunteer she has taught music at a Christian school, worked on missions committees, and completed 50 hours of Stephen's Ministry training focused on reaching out to homebound individuals and providing companionship. After her retirement as Coordinator of Project Care at the Office for the Aging, Lura continued to lead the program as a volunteer for over six months. Since then she continues to volunteer for Project Care as a transporter and friendly visitor, as well as helping with Project Care's grocery shopping program.
She has volunteered since she was a teenager. Lura initially began to volunteer to get other teenagers to join the King's Daughter's because the organization meant so much to her.
The greatest reward she has received from volunteering is sharing the blessings of music with others, especially God, and feeling that she has been able to facilitate growth and meet needs.