Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Luis Nieves and his wife, Wasilla High School teacher Wrynn Nieves, receive a proclamation from the Mat-Su Council on Aging during its meeting April 30. The couple was honored for their outstanding service to 16 seniors after their assisted living home caught fire Feb. 9. The Nieves’ provided shelter to residents at their house while firefighters fought the fire and alternate housing could be arranged for the seniors. Pictured are Larry Dearman, Rural Services, Jim McCall, Chair and Senior Housing, Ingrid Ling, Senior Center Administration, Rachel Greenberg, Vice Chair and Home and Community Based Services, Wrynn Nieves and Sgt. Luis Nieves, Christine Inglet, Aging and Disability Resource Center, Karl Garber, Dementia Care, and, Richard Porter, Knik Tribal Council. GREG GUSSE/For the Frontiersman
WASILLA — The Mat-Su Council on Aging went out of its way to do a very good thing at its meeting April 30.
The newly formed council honored Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Luis Nieves and his wife Wasilla High School teacher Wrynn Nieves for their extreme kindness and community service when they took 16 elderly and disabled people into their home when the assisted living home where they lived burned Feb. 9.
In this day and age, people often seem self-absorbed, but the Nieves and the Mat-Su Council on Aging actions demonstrate that in the Mat-Su Borough, individuals and organizations care.
The Mat-Su Council on Aging is made up of 11 members who already have full-time jobs in the field of aging and senior service. Each seat represents a specific need in elderly services. Nine seats are currently filled.
Members are Jim McCall, Chair, Senior Housing seat, Rachel Greenberg, Vice Chair, Home and Community Based Services seat, Ingrid Ling, Secretary, Senior Center Administration seat, Karl Garber, Dementia Care seat, Sharon Scott, Senior Transportation seat, Christine Inglet, Aging and Disability Resource Center seat, Kevin Munson, Senior Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse seat, Larry Dearman, Rural Services seat and Richard Porter, Knik Tribal Council.
The council’s mission is to “promote quality of life for seniors in the borough by fostering a network of community partnerships.” Specifically, they are the developers of “The Mat-Su Regional Plan for Delivery of Senior Services” and responsible for maintaining and updating this document.
Unlike other agencies and councils in the state, the Mat-Su Council on Aging was created by the Mat-Su Health Foundation with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Denali Commission, Rasmuson Foundation and the United Way of Mat-Su. Currently, it is funded through the Mat-Su Health Foundation.
May is Older Americans Month. Alaska has the highest percentage of older Americans, higher, than Nevada or Florida and the Mat-Su the highest percentage of older Alaskans. Currently, 1 in 6 borough residents is an older person, and that percentage continues to increase.
The vision the Mat-Su Council on Aging shares with the community that “All Mat-Su Seniors are happy, healthy, have access to an array of needed supports and services and are living as independently as possible.”