SULLIVAN COUNTY – On Older New Yorkers’ Day 2023, two Sullivan County residents were recognized by the New York State Office of the Aging for their volunteer efforts, and civic …
SULLIVAN COUNTY – On Older New Yorkers’ Day 2023, two Sullivan County residents were recognized by the New York State Office of the Aging for their volunteer efforts, and civic contributions.
Sullivan County residents Jack Luster and Karin Pantel were joined in being honored alongside 91 other awardees across 55 counties.
Radiating with genuine warmth and positivity, Jack Luster soothes those around him with his music and beaming smile.
Born in Miami, Florida, Luster moved to Monticello at a young age. His parents founded and ran the West End Diner. From age 20 through 32, he resided in New York City. Luster then returned to Monticello after his father became very sick.
Luster volunteers with the Mended Hearts Association, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Sullivan County, food distribution for the less fortunate, the Ronald McDonald House Charity. Jack has also volunteered in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for Catholic charities.
“A friend once said [to me], ‘Whatever comes your way, you help,’” said Luster, “I just help who I can help, that’s it.”
He also volunteers for People for Equal Justice based out of Liberty. Since 1978, Luster has also worked with children ages 5 to 11. Naturally, being an outgoing individual, Luster is generally involved with people.
In addition to crafting balloon animals at Marie’s Park in Woodbourne, New York, and playing the flute at the neighborhood synagogue, he also donates his saxophone talents to food pantries and homeless shelters.
“It’s truly an honor, what else can I say?” a humbled Luster said, “There’s no sense of ego, these [volunteer efforts] are things I do in my normal life. The organization deserves the credit for recognizing people like us.”
A hard worker and longtime educator, Karin’s active involvement in multiple organizations is a testament to her longstanding dedication to volunteer work. With a strong passion for educating and being an advocate, it comes as no surprise that Pantel has made a meaningful mark on her community.
Being an educator and retired nurse, Pantel uses her extensive knowledge to teach individuals about Alzheimer’s Disease. She has also joined the New York State Rural Health Association (NYSARH). In 2022, she was elected to its board.
Pantel’s dedicated efforts led her to the 2022 AIM Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, she engaged with Congressional members and staff to advance legislation.
Her devotion to improve rural areas’ access to and utilization of health care resources is demonstrated by her participation in NYSARH.
Pantel has an acute understanding of the specific challenges which rural towns confront, particularly with regards to health care, thanks to her upbringing in Sullivan County. She has dedicated her life to tackling these challenges and raising awareness by imparting information and educating the public.
Karin remains an active member in her nursing organization and is a member of Professional Women of Sullivan County.
“Believe me, Sullivan County does an excellent job caring for our seniors,” said Pantel.
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