What are we going to do now? My own thoughts sent me back in time over forty years to 1973.
I could hear Oma’s (my mother-in-law’s) words when we were notified that Opa (my father-in-law) had passed away. As tears oozed out of her eyes and crept down her cheeks, she said “Was machen wir jetzt?’ (What are we going to do now?)
They had been married for more than thirty years and Oma had cared for Opa for most of that time because of a car accident. She had been so dedicated to him that she couldn’t readily contemplate a life without him anymore.
Yes indeed, what are we going to do now? Lucy was our leader in so many ways in several organizations.
At the State level she was the Immediate Past President of the Nevada Silver Haired Legislative Forum, President of the Aging Services Directors Organization (ASDO), and President of the Nevada Delegation of the National Silver Haired Congress (NSHC).
On the National level Lucy was a Silver Senator and the First Vice Chair of the National Silver Haired Congress, and, as such, she had taken the lead in organizing the Annual Session of the National Silver Haired Congress which is to be held here in Las Vegas in September.
The bearer of the sad news and I soon realized that we were certainly being selfish as we stopped to think about the Peres family. Still, Lucy’s unexpected departure did not seem fair to us either.
Lucy was my mentor for almost a decade. I served as her Vice President when she was President of the Nevada Silver Haired Legislative Forum from 2006 - 2010. When she stepped downed she supported me for President of the Forum from 2010 until present.
She also supported my appointment as a Silver Representative and then later as a Silver Senator in the Nevada Delegation of the National Silver Haired Congress.
One day I asked myself “how did all of this happen?” I’m still not sure now. Lucy could guide you into making a decision and then get you to believe it was your idea all along. Such was her leadership ability.
Another example of Lucy’s leadership style was her saying that it doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as we get the job done. A local columnist gave almost the entire credit for the passage of the Silver Alert Bill in Nevada to a man who attended one meeting. Frankly, it upset me that he was given way too much credit when it was Lucy who led the charge. But, it did not seem to bother Lucy, we got it passed.
Lucy brought back from the National Silver Haired Congress the idea of having a Silver Alert law at the State level and fought hard for its passage. She continued fighting for it even as the Immediate Past President of the Forum until it was signed into law by the Governor on June 9, 2011. (See photo)
As President of the Aging Services Directors Organization she was the driving force behind the annual ASDO Caregiver Conferences which provide current information and Continuing Education Units for Caregivers, as well as generates funds which are returned to the community in the form of grants to ASDO nonprofit organizations.
And, my favorite is the Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year. Lucy was presented a new idea and asked how we could implement a statewide recognition program without State support. As President of the Nevada Delegation of the NSHC and the ASDO, she convinced the members of both organizations to support the new award. So far, it has been a great success. The award luncheon for the third annual Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year was held on May 27, 2015. In addition to the award, this year’s Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year was recognized by Governor Sandoval, Lieutenant Governor Hutchison, Senator Reid, Senator Heller, Congresswoman Titus, Congressman Heck, and Congressman Hardy.
At approximately 10:00 A.M. on that Wednesday (May 27, 2015) Lucy called me to ask if we were ready for the awards luncheon and said that she was so sorry she would not be able to make it because she was very tired. She also took the opportunity to give me a quick update on her progress in planning for the Annual NSHC Session in September.
This was Lucy, still working on major projects and thinking of others well within her last forty-eight hours.
So, what are we going to do now? Yes, a selfish thought. But, I’m sure to be in good company when I think that, because Lucy was so important to so many people.
What will we do now? We will go on. We will continue our work on behalf of senior citizens, for that is what Lucy would do.
A very special lady has departed our world. She will be sorely missed and long remembered.
(Photo by Julie Duewel, June 9, 2011)
Seated is Governor Brian Sandoval. Standing left to right are: Assemblyman Elliot Anderson; Ms. June Burton, Forum Member; Dr. Herb Randall, Forum President; Ms. Lucy Peres, Forum Immediate Past President; Ms. Ruth Hart, Forum Member; Mr. Ray Jones, Forum Member; and Senator David Parks.