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Mayors and meals

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Front Royal Mayor Tim Darr delivers a hot meal to Front Royal resident Easter Wood, 94. Darr joined area mayors accompanying agency volunteers on Meals on Wheels routes to emphasize importance of program. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Front Royal Mayor Tim Darr delivers a hot meal to Front Royal resident Easter Wood, 94. Darr joined area mayors and accompanied agency volunteers on Meals on Wheels routes to emphasize the importance of the program. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Front Royal mayor Tim Darr delivers a hot meal to Front Royal resident Janet Hockman, 75. Rich Cooley/Daily

Local elected officials deliver food to homebound elderly

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Tim Darr was one of seven mayors who boarded mini-buses Wednesday to deliver food to the homebound elderly as part of a national effort to draw attention to hunger among seniors.

In doing so they also sought to encourage more support in their communities for nonprofit agencies seeking to recruit volunteers and raise money to help provide food for needy seniors.
Darr was clearly enjoying himself as the mini-bus rolled through the streets of apartment complexes, subdivisions and trailer parks delivering hot meals to about a dozen clients of the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging. The SAAA runs the Meals on Wheels program in Warren, Page, Shenandoah, Clarke and Frederick counties and Winchester.
This was Darr's second year participating in the March for Meals campaign, an experience he said he regards as one of the more gratifying parts of his job.
Darr praised the SAAA and Meals on Wheels volunteers for helping sustain the spirits as well as the bodies of its clients along the route.

"We have a lot of elderly people who don't have anyone," he said. "It's not just the meals they deliver. They develop personal relationships with everyone."

Darr's mayoral counterparts elsewhere in the Northern Shenandoah Valley joined him on routes in their communities. The participants included: William Kirby of Berryville, Timothy Taylor of Strasburg, Barry Presgraves of Luray, Joseph Williams of Mount Jackson, Larry Smith of New Market and Phil Fauber of Toms Brook.

Janet Hochman, 74, a resident of the Shenandoah Commons apartment complex, described the Meals on Wheels program as making an enormous difference for someone like herself with several disabilities that severely limit her mobility.

Hochman suffers from a bad back, COPD and heart problems. She greeted Darr from a lounger where she sat covered in a blanket watching television. An oxygen tank, walker and cane stood nearby.

Despite her afflictions, she appears much younger than 74, something she cheerfully attributed to "being the party person in my family. That kept me young."

She gratefully accepted the plastic tray filled with chicken and rice casserole, seasoned greens, carrots and fruits that Darr handed to her.

"The meals are delicious," Hochman said. "They've helped me gain weight."

Ready-to-eat food makes life easier "because I don't stand more than a few minutes at a time. If I go to the kitchen to get a glass of water, it's all I can do to get back here," she said.

The SAAA conducted this year's March for Meals campaign in the shadow of a lingering financial crisis that has dogged the agency since last September when the board of directors dismissed its top three executives. Lawsuits, investigations into possible criminal wrongdoing, and pay cuts for managers and staff in the central office have followed amid uncertainty over the agency's future.

By the end of his two-hour travels delivering meals, Darr had no doubt about SAAA's ability to survive and the worth of its mission.

"They'll take their blows, and they'll come back strong when people realize what a good thing they do," he said.


Looks as if Martha, Tess and Fred can't say anything positive--they just have nothing to say at all. This reveals their personal hateful acts towards the SAAA and looks looks like they really do not care about the Seniors after all. I think this says a lot about just who they really are. They choose to attack all of the hard working and caring people at SAAA instead of realizing that a few bad people performed bad acts against the seniors. I would not expect them to acknowledge the truth--because that would confirm their personal attacks are nothing more than acts of hateful people. Bad people and hateful people are trying to destroy the SAAA. This fact is indisputable....

I wonder how presumptive "Observer" comes to think Martha, Tess, and Fred should behave as "Observer" demands? Does "Observer" believe Martha, Tess, and Fred are way too busy hatefully clubbing baby seals? Or perhaps the hateful 3 Musketeers are too busy refereeing saintly Republican party factional fights? Why should this trio of malcontents bother about election year politicians having their picture taken feeding senior citizens? When was the last time these old white guys did something charitable without a need for some good PR print in the newspaper? This photo opportunity is election year pandering at its finest.

Jeez, I think I just branded myself to be included in the baby seal clubbing crowd in "Observer's" next post. I'm ready to play with the big kids.

Just a little review of the 3 malcontents past performance regarding SAAA would answer all of your questions. Nothing about their comments has anything to do with politics. And, nothing about the Mayor's for Meals is new. They do this every year. The real issue with the malcontents is their hatred for the Agency and all of its members... Those are the facts. So if you like to call it baby seal clubbing...have a ball. But what it really is ---is senior citizen clubbing. Is that the group you wish to support? Have a ball. Join the Helen Cockrell fan club.....

Please do not feed the trolls.

OK, lay it all out for us casual observers of the "Observer" and tell us exactly why you got your panties bunched up around the jugular and are picking a fight with Martha, Tess, and Fred. You make them sound like pretty mean folks. Spare no details, recite every nuance and insinuation, all the arrest records, Supreme Court decisions, and muckraking scuttlebutt. Facts would be nice, but not required before reaching a conclusion... just leave out opinions, 'cause everybody has one.

PS - Leave me out of your witch hunt, too - I got no dog in this fight. I'm merely stirring the pot trying to get a ruckus started.

Observer,you must have way too much time on your hands.SAAA employee perhaps?Do not presume to accuse me of hate,when you do not know my heart,or me.I do not hate anyone! I hate circumstance that has caused pain for our seniors.I believe these things could be fixed,if common sense was used.Malcontent? If that translates to not being content with what is happening,than...yep,that be me!!!!I am not content with administration being over paid,and positions that are not needed at outrageous salaries.I am not content with unqualified people running a very important agency.Congratulations to the mayors that delivered meals.Bigger congrats to the vols. that do this on a daily basis.Observer,have you delivered meals,paid for a seniors meds.,fuel,shoes,food?I have!!!!!So do not ever accuse me of hating seniors.I have never,ever alluded to such a thing.You apparently cannot see the forest for the trees.It is a sad thing that opinions cannot be expressed by three concerned citizens without being accused of hate.I will advocate for the seniors and those that do not like it TOUGH!!!!I believe that the administrative employees care,but they care more for the size of their pay check than they do for their responsibilities....the seniors.Helen taught them well !!!!!love your humor Buck!!!! I am the dog in this fight!

Once again, what I started with is true. You have nothing nice to say. You would have never even commented on this article if you were not taunted. I did what I wanted and so did you. Your ranting does not change anything. Your heart is wide open for the world to see. My opinion is mine and you can have yours. No scin off of my back. I do love feeding you the same contempt you show the SAAA. Please say Hyde to Helen when you visit...

I usually just like to read opinions and comments. I have remained interested in what the Agency on Aging is going through. I have watched all the banter. And, if I were forced to choose who is the most aggressive it would likely be Martha. I agree that there needs to be changes in the oversight. I also have great faith in the current management. It is obvious that positive changes are being made and must continue into the future. Observer, you may want to turn down the volume. Martha, it is highly unlikely that any of the Administative employees are over paid or under qualified for their position. I believe if you ask in the proper way, you might be able to gain access to salary information. Maybe that would help you overcome the aggressive language towards their managers. Your heart may well be in the right place. But broad brushing all of the existing staff with being part of a conspiricy, and under qualified is not an accurate picture. Helen and the other two top staff, assisted or at minimum enabled by the previous Board of Director Chairperson is where the battle begins and ends. If proof of bad faith by any other staff member is in your hands, you need to turn it over to the State Police. I am hopeful that everyone might rethink their position on the debate, and show some wisdom... Thanks

SKIN!!!! Taunted?That sounds like a school yard bullies language.If that defines your life,than I am truly sorry for you."life is short" you do make sense in a lot of respects.However I am closer to this situation than you could ever realize.I have seen some of the pay checks,so I know they are in extreme.I also know that the credentials of the interim director are simply work shop,and health dept.certificates,held by most of the center directors.I do not believe Ms. Palmer is stupid or dumb,just not qualifiedMs.Lauder should have been promoted to director when Helen was hired.This situation would not have occured.Fred put it very simply,people knew what was going on,and were afraid to tell.Someone told him this.Why were they afraid?Afraid of losing a big pay check? You decide!!!!All of the employees at the agency are not necessary.Some are just there.......find the dead wood,curtail hours or positions not needed.Use these savings to return service to our seniors.If I seem agressive,perhaps I am,BUT sometime the squeaky wheel gets the grease!!I am not in favor of paying agency employees to play video games.All of them do not conduct business in this manner,the ones that do should be gone.The best way this agency can be returned to"before Helen" is disclosure....let the public see salaries,let them decide if they are inflated,let them know exactly where and how money is being spent.I believe this could restore trust and finances to them.I wish this wonderful agency nothing but the best...however...I still think changes should be made to make this a more efficient program.People in charge need to know,in order to do.Observer,if you think I am a friend of Helen,than you do not comprehend very well.Maybe its a bully gene?

Life is short,
your name is correct, a seniors life is very short, so why cheat them out of the rest of their life? Yet that is what happened while a board containing a Bank chair and a Sheriff and no one seen this coming, only the person who found the checks. Can we all wonder who found the checks? The current person in-charge maybe, the one who used to be Helen's right hand? There are other problems at the agency, I was advised today that two of the three case managers were laid off. Please tell me how this was allowed to happen? The case managers are the ones who actually have college degrees (required by the state) that go out and see the seniors and eval them for services and needs. The two that were laid off on Tuesday were told that there was no money for the seniors thus their positions were no longer needed. The two were advised that the lay off was permanet. So with that said, the agency clearly stated that they can not provide services and have no idea when they can and/or will. Probally after they pay there big salaries. Life is short, if you do not think the many they make is to much, advised your bosses to come clean and let the public know what they all are making, I know you all will be suprised. If there is no money, then why is the agency there? I was also advised that the two case managers asked to many questions, which leads one to think that is the real reason that they were laid off. Ask someone why the senior center had to beg for donations to paint the building while a new $7,000 conference table was purchased, along with all of the food and drinks for the board at every meeting.......who needs the money more, I would have to say the seniors.

Fred,you KNOW things about SAAA that closed minded people just will not believe.Observer said we are haters,and that just is not true.What we hate are the actions of those in charge.Or should I say inaction.I know absolutely that money is spent foolishly,and not on the seniors needs.This agency, since "Helen" has not allowed questions concerning money to be asked.At least three employees were dismissed because of this.Two others resigned,before they were fired.Board members were aware of some of these actions.They chose to ignore,rather than be involved.I will continue to insist the leader at present is not qualified for this position.How did the thousand from forty go??oops...Concerning the case managers,will they still need Mr.Crawford to be their leader if they cannot provide his services? Could this job be incorporated with another titled employee? Just asking!!So many things could be done,with a little common sense.As I said earlier,I have seen some checks,apparently you have also.You know they are extreme and the public should know also.IF.they are not so inflated why are they so secret.Keep up the good words Fred,I know what you say is RIGHT ON !!!!

If Fred and Martha have so many facts that they can prove. Why are they not attending the board meetings to present these facts? I would like to know what is happening as well. But these empty words are not of any value. Please take the responsible and high road. Do the right thing or let it go. I do not think any impact is being made on this blogosphere exchange.

One last thought, then I am out of this. One should never be judged on the absence of formal education. This is a totally empty argument. This is a fact. Take a look at just one of many websites for proof. http://www.education-reform.net/dropouts.htm

The poster "Observer" has changed their screen name to "Life is short".
"Observer" (aka "Life is short") mischaracterized my one post concerning SAAA.
I repeat my original message here:

" The polite politically correct term used in the article is "financial irregularities". Investigations have allegedly uncovered diversions of SAAA funds for personal use. The alleged beneficiary identified to date is Helen Cockrell. The investigation by the Virginia State Police is continuing. Federal investigative agencies may develop an interest to claim some authority in the alleged financial irregularities because SAAA has received Federal funds.

Based on information and belief, Helen Cockrell also is serving or has served on the Boards of many other community service agencies that are recipients of state, local, and/or Federal funding. It is my understanding some SAAA federal funds, with approval by HUD, have been transferred from SAAA to other local agencies where Cockrell is also a Board member. If these allegations are true, the current investigation is the tip of the iceberg. Is it possible Cockrell may not have acted alone in the creation of "financial irregularities".

You are correct,education is not always necessary.But a serious conversation with the present ceo,would lead you to believe it would help.Prove what I have alleged? Just cannot happen.The agency would deny it vehemently.They would show you documents to prove us wrong.They have been very good at covering themselves.Just come forward and HONESTLY tell the public: salaries,directors duties and time spent on their jobs,sick leave taken and accounted for,or not.monies spent on things not necessary ie:conference table.how donations are actually used,what employee or employees took delinquent bill phone calls,and apparently did not report this to someone other than Helen,when the calls continued.Maybe someone did ,and was released when (he she they)persisted.There are so many questions that could be answered and if answered honestly,would stop all the speculation.I and apparently Fred know without any doubt that salaries are totally without merit.I saw, and no did not take a picture for future proof. Maybe, just maybe,this could solve some of the short fall problems.Cut salaries,not five ot ten percent,get them in line with other organizations.Worth a try?I believe it is.The public will alway wonder what is being hidden,unless the above questions are answered in a thorough, honest manner.The question will continue to be what are you hiding and why.What is so secretive about all of this?Most public servants are required to make salaries available.Why not SAAA? Tell the truth because some already know.Observer or life is short,are you now writing incognito?Or do you have a ghost writer?Just asking!!!!!!!!!!!

p.s Maybe these blogs will not make a big impact.However,it got you to respond and perhaps think more about the situation and what is being said.I cannot GO to the board,but I have made contact in the past,to no avail.

Yes, you may be right about all of this. I do not know more then I read in the papers. But, are you now accusing me of being someone else just because I asked a question? I hope your other information has more integrity than that. From now on I will read only. Sorry to have bothered the group.


I made a comment to "Observer" near the beginning of this comment section, and now "Observer" has been replaced by "Life is short". Which suggests a connection with poster "Fact or Fiction".

Which reminded me of something else.

Recently, after a long absence, and with great personal fanfare, ("Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Queen of the Tin Foil Hats is back!") a prolific blogger reappeared on the reader comments sections of NV Daily. Historically. this person was notorious for the denial, and later admission, of using multiple screen names attempting to establish a faux support for the more outlandish of her comments and political positions. That commentator's credibility was gravely wounded, not only by the admission, but by reputation established of habitually distorting the facts used to support the positions taken.

Another commentator mentioned this person was now a candidate for the Strasburg Town Council. If true, it dovetails with the candidacy of another person for the Front Royal Town Council. Both of these individuals were the leaders and speakers at the Tea Party rally held at the Warren County Government Center.

Ratigan has repeatedly enjoyed the taste of shoe leather. Now it is Bishop's turn. Vote for these individuals at your own risk.... you get what you vote for.

PS - Again, I ask everybody to leave me out of your witch hunt, too - I got no dog in this fight. I'm merely stirring the pot trying to get a ruckus started.

fact or fiction,my comment about observer/life is short was NOT aimed at you!!!Read the blog by Tess and I think you will understand my comment.I am sorry if I offended you,and I apologize..My information is nothing but the truth,all of this is much too important to lie about.Please continue with the group...I welcome questions.Again I am sorry for the misunderstanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Information has been forwarded to the correct people, and if things work as they usually do, Helen will receive a plea deal and one could only hope part of the deal is she tells all. So there should be a lot of openings coming soon to SAAA.............

Fred,thanks for the info....sounds like a good start and possible solution to this very bad situation.....Let us pray so!!!!!!Hope the new folks are carefully screened for honesty,integrity and common sense,Somethig sorely lacking heretofore.Qualified,would also be nice.But most of all lets hope these changes do take place...

I had an excellent team in place to provide community based supports to our frail community prior to this crisis.We continue to struggle to assist every referal that comes into our system. An unbiased evaluation of how efficent and caring we are can be gained by talking to APS workers, discharge planners, hospital and home health social workers that interface with us daily.Ive put my heart and soul into helping our Senior citizens for 20 years, they deserve nothing less. I carry the burden of those on the waiting list every minute , I know them, I see there faces when I put my head on the pillow.The board and administrative staff have made changes that are necessary to get back on track and with the increasing support of the community it is happening .

Bill,I know who you are and what you do.I applaud the many things you have done to help the seniors.I also know you were not always encouraged by leadership,expensive tables and personal personna were more important.I still think that disclosures should be made,and a change of leadersip should be implemented.Can it hurt?Maybe,fresh ideas could only help a very bad situation.I was asked if I knew why the salaries of some at the agency were so inflated,and could it have been to assure that no one would report any wrong doing if it was suspected?Well,I do not know, it certainly raises a question,that had not occured to me.But the statement from Fred that they were afraid to come forward,makes you wonder.Keep up your services to the seniors,I wish you all the success possible for the seniors.They deserve it,as do you.Good luck,you have always been the one "with heart".

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