Two community volunteers from Otsego County were recently honored by the state Office for the Aging for their service to older adults and others in the community.

Neil Riddell of Otego and Sheila Serbay of Cooperstown were nominated by Otsego County Office for the Aging for recognition at NYSOFA’s annual Older New Yorkers’ Day celebration, a media release said.

Riddell, has volunteered for more than 30 years with Helios Care, formerly Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, as well as the Bloomville Methodist Church, Delhi College and Otego Food Pantry, the release said. Throughout his time with Helios Care, he has moved countless pieces of equipment for patients and their families including hospital beds, lift chairs, furniture and more, the release said. He is also the person who doesn’t mind traveling across three counties in order to get a patient whatever they need, such as medication, delivering flowers, providing companionship or offering much needed respite for an exhausted family member. Riddell also volunteers through the Helios Care’s We Honor Veterans program, the release said. Since 2008, Helios Care’s veteran volunteers have delivered and presented certificates to veteran patients and Riddell has presented more than 500 veteran certificates, giving him the opportunity to provide valuable vet to vet companionship, the release said.

Serbay has always been involved with helping people, whether it was official or something she does on her own time, the release said.

While teaching her Psychology of Adulthood & Aging class at SUNY Oneonta, she started a class project to help needy older adults in the community.

That small project eventually grew into an annual event involving local businesses, college students and the community to collect donations and raise money to provide gift bags filled with blankets, hygiene products, gift cards, food and other gifts.

However, the past two years have been very different and presented a whole new challenge for her, as the students who normally support this endeavor were not available on campus to assist, the release said. Instead, she reached out to many longtime supporters and was able to continue this impactful program during a time when seniors needed it the most.

In addition, she was one of the many unsung heroes from the community who responded to the needs of vulnerable adults during the pandemic.

She convened a few friends who sewed, and purchased material and elastic to make homemade masks which they distributed throughout the community to individuals and organizations serving those in need.

When vaccinations were finally available, she spent many hours online, scheduling appointments for those who did not have access to do so, the release said.

Tamie Reed, director of the Otsego County Office for the Aging, said in the release, “We are so honored to recognize Neil and Sheila for the incredible support they provide to some of our most vulnerable residents. These are two individuals who unselfishly give of their time, resources and skills in order to make someone else’s life a little better and we are proud to have such genuine volunteers representing Otsego County in this statewide recognition.”

The virtual celebration will premiere at 1 p.m. Nov. 4 on Facebook and You Tube, with a video presentation featuring the 94 honorees from around the state, along with remarks from state officials.

For more information, visit,

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221.

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