Posted October 13, 2012 | comments 6 Comments

Letter to the Editor: What about the elderly? Support the SAAA


Ever since I was a little girl, I remember going to fundraisers for the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging. I remember seeing my dad Bill Crawford, along with his co-workers, working tirelessly doing whatever was necessary to make an event come together.

Unfortunately, I also remember looking up to the former CEO of the organization. Since the former CEO's dismissal from the company, I have seen those same faces working tirelessly. Except now, it is with the added stress of having to cut services from the elderly.

For years, I have volunteered and witnessed how much the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging has changed lives and improved the quality of life for many senior citizens in the area. I have helped deliver hot meals to women in their 90s who won't see anyone but me all day. I have played bingo with patients of an adult day care center for people with dementia. These activities have gone on fantastically, all by the hard work of the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging. Let there be no doubt that this organization changes lives.

Unfortunately, I have seen many people write this organization off as a scam in the last few months, and I am sickened by the number of programs that I have seen cut because of the lack of funds. The workers of the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging have taken a pay cut, have worked through all of the media that comes with a scandal such as this, and are putting all that they have into putting this organization back together.

Care for the elderly is a vital part of society that the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging is covering for us. If we allow this organization to go under, many elderly citizens in our community will find themselves without a way to meet their needs. We cannot afford, as a community, to lose this agency.

Emily Crawford, Front Royal

6 Comments | Leave a comment

    Before Aug,2001,I would have agreed with you 100%.Since the Cockrell fiasco...not possible.This agency has allowed people not competent to run this once proud agency.Also allowed Helen,so far to get off,allowing her to use as an excuse...bankruptcy...What a joke..Ask her about her company HMC.ask about her website...The seniors are suffering,and no one seems to be able to do anything about the reason it happened.What did she have to be accused of to be punished...Bet her life style has changed only slightly...People are not going to make donations when the same people,that had to know what was going on,are still collecting a mammoth pay check....they said they knew,but no one would believe.....did you try to tell anyone??NO...just let it continue....One word to someone may have prevented all this hurt...But you could not stand up and be counted when so much is at stake....Maybe the seniors can forgive you...I cannot and will not,and apparently the public feels the same...I will help seniors,but not through SAAA.I will see my money,pay a bill,buy groceries or meds...Clean house in Front Royal,and I will work as hard as I can to make this agency successful once again.

    Martha, I completely agree with you that SAAA is now being run by people who are completely unqualified to run anything, much less a business. Additionally, the Board continues to speak out seemingly without proof, placing both themselves and the staff in precarious situations, as is evident by the lawsuits they've dealt with and are still dealing with. They (Board and staff) seem to spend more time placing blame than trying to build and fix) the organization. Of note, no one knows where Mr Shaffer is, he seems to have disappeared, which to anyone who really thinks about it, is suspicious since he's the one who actually handled the financial transactions, all the cash, and robo-signed the checks, as I understand it.

    It's been over a year, if SAAA had executives who knew what they were doing, the public might have more confidence in them and donations would increase. I doubt that it has much to do with what Ms Cockrell is doing or if she has a website, it's more about how SAAA is conducting business and what plans the Board and staff have for the future.

    backatya....everything you said is spot on...Helen now has a business advising seniors.If this was not so horrifying,it would be amusing.She is on LINKEDIN and also on facebook.Jim was scared to death of Helen,which was what she encouraged in all staff.Does not excuse his complicity.When this agency decides to fix things at the office,things should improve,until then not likely...the present staff does not have a clue how to run a business..seems the more things change,the more they stay the same....that does not indicate progress and the seniors are paying the price!!!!!SO VERY SAD!!!!!

    Martha, I took a look at Ms Cockrell's LinkedIn page, couldn't look at FB, it was private. I didn't see anywhere that she's "advising seniors". Looks to me like she's advising other businesses on using technology in aging services. I also looked at her blog where she's talking about different subjects on aging, caregiving, etc, but again I don't see where she's actually advising anyone. And, just because she has all this stuff online doesn't mean anyone's hiring her.

    I don't know her, but I do know I won't rush to judgement just because the press has or because people who now have her job or an incompetent board who now needs someone to blame say something is so.

    I've been sitting back watching during all of this and can only describe it as slimy and nigh to a witch hunt with disappearing paperwork and he said/she said.

    I do wonder who you are though, that you are so passionate about this. A disgruntled former employee, perhaps?

    So many offenses go unprosecuted. Dropped for lack of prosecutors? An office overwhelmed by case load?
    The problem could very well not be for lack of evidence but a lack of motivation on the part of the Commonwealth's Attorney.
    Filing for bankruptcy won't hurt Mrs. Cockrell, with a large Department of the Air Force pension providing a comfortable living but her civil responsibility to the issue of embezzlement or misappropriation of funds could take a bite out of her personal income.
    Just personal observations, not intended as judgement.

      NO, backat ya....I am NOT a disgruntled,former,present or future employee.Why should that be the case in order to be concerned about this problem?I am a person that could have helped this agency with its finances....donation wise....If your opinion that you must be a former disgruntled employee to care about the seniors is shared by the public,than you are part of the problem,and not a solution.Helen messed this agency ROYALLY,and nothing is being done about it!!And yes she is running a business...and the agency knows all about it.....So much for intelligent people there and on the board!Kinda like all this did not happen,and no one gives a damn!Where is justice for our seniors?

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