Nathaniel Virkler named Lewis County Senior Citizen of the Year

Nathaniel Virkler, pictured with his wife, Shelia, was presented with the Randy Streeter Senior Citizen of the Year Award. Submitted photo

LOWVILLE — Lewis County Office for the Aging has announced Nathaniel Virkler is the 2020 recipient of the Annual Randy Streeter Senior Citizen of the Year Award.

Each year, Lewis County Office for the Aging accepts nominations from community members seeking volunteers ages 60 or older who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to seniors of Lewis County, their community and have shown a sincere and faithful dedication to senior citizens through their personal actions. According to the Lewis County Office of the Aging, the Randy Streeter Award is named after the founding director of the Office who “served as a strong and vocal advocate for all seniors with sincere and faithful dedication.” Mr. Streeter served as the director from 1974 to 1991. The Randy Streeter Senior Citizen of the Year Award acknowledges this nominee’s service that has affected so many people in the community.

Mr. Virkler, nominated by his friends at The First Presbyterian Church in Lowville, is responsible for the beautiful grounds at First Presbyterian Church and the Andover House in Lowville. He volunteers his time trimming trees and bushes and mowing the grass. He also weeds, cultivates, mulches, waters and tends to the needs of both properties. He uses his own equipment, provides all the materials and donates his time to serve the church and the entire community.

Recently, our area had “A Community Garden.” It was maintained and nurtured, Spring to Fall, primarily by Mr. Virkler and a fellow gardener. Vegetables of all kinds were raised, harvested, prepared for delivery and donated to a number of places in Lowville including Stone Soup dinners, Lowville Food Pantry, Brookside, Karcher Country Estates and other organizations that needed them. Carthage enjoyed the benefits of the garden as well.

Mr. Virkler has also spent countless hours transporting people as needed to personal and professional appointments, being “on call” for rides when necessary. He has been known to take the sick and elderly on his boat for a fishing expedition or simply for a ride to get some fresh air. He is the first to respond to any needs of which he is aware. He takes meals to those who aren’t able to get out; usually on a weekly basis. He is a counselor and guide to anyone who just needs someone to listen. Mr. Virkler also regularly visits hospital patients, shut-ins, and the sick, usually bringing them a small gift and a smile.

Mr. Virkler’s close friends describe him as a selfless, empathic, generous, kind, nurturing and a humble man. “His individual counseling and care create a reason to put one foot in front of another for some, a sense of worth and well-being for others.”

Due to restriction on gatherings, Mr. Virkler was presented the award during a Zoom meeting through the Presbyterian Church. The local Senior Citizen of the Year will be considered with other honorees from other districts for a state award.

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