Vicky Williams of Commerce was recently honored for 20 years as a Senior Companion. She’s been a Senior Companion longer than any other in Ottawa County.

"I had retired and a friend called and told me to go for an interview with Senior Companions," Williams said. "It’s been an exciting adventure ever since."

Williams loves people and, during her 20 years as a Senior Companion, has meet many who have become dear friends.

" Each person I have been a companion to has had different needs," Williams said. "When I start helping someone new I take the time to get to know them and find out what their needs are."

Senior Companion volunteers are at least 60 years of age. They must take an annual physical to show they are in good health.

Senior Companions do not do personal care or heavy housework.

As Williams said, "We’re not nurses and we’re not maids."

"Vicky goes above and beyond the call of duty," said Ramie Torris, director. "During the flood she’d fix dinner for herself and then take it to the seniors she helps."

Currently, the Ottawa County Senior Companions has 25 volunteers and 75 people they help.

"We have a waiting list for people looking for a companion," Torris said. "We also have a real need for male companions.

She complemented Williams for her ability to deal with male clients.

"She deals with them so well," Torris said. "She sews a button for them and does other things most women just don’t think of.

"One of her clients, who is blind in one eye with one leg, she takes down to the river to watch the people fishing.

"Another one, she feeds his cat. Other clients she takes to Sonic."

"Those who don’t get out of the house much love to stop at Sonic," Williams said with a smile.

Williams, 85, lived in Picher at the same address with the same phone number for more than 40 years before moving as part of the Tar Creek buyout.

During her 20 years with the program, Williams has had 53 different clients.

 She volunteers four hours a day, five days a week and receives a stipend for her services.

"If I were trying to interest someone in becoming a Senior Companion, I’d tell her that she’s needed," Williams said.

"I think Vicky is the best example of this year’s Senior Companions motto, ‘Helping Hands, Giving Hearts," Tirrex said.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Senior Companion or who could use the services of a companion should call Tirres at 540-2481, ext. 210.

By Mary Ellis 542-5533