SPECIAL FEATURE: Marilyn Pinsky
Marilyn Pinsky: Honoring Others While They Honor Her
BY JENNA SCHIFFERLE | PHOTO BY CATHRYN LAHM
There’s nothing more powerful than people helping other people and working one on one, says Marilyn Pinsky. Every year, the Eldercare Foundation gives out a series of awards at the “Gift of Age Cabaret.” This year, Marilyn received the Eldercare Accomplished Professional Award for her advocacy on aging issues.
Marilyn’s interest has always been focused on the political and governmental aspects of things. When she was in the midst of her educational studies at Maxwell University, she aimed to break into government. Partnered with her desire to make a positive change in the world, she took her civil service exams hoping to do just that. From there, she held two civil service positions, including working in the probation department as an administrative assistant to the commissioner and deputy director at the Onondaga Youth Bureau.
When the Youth Bureau merged with the Department of Aging, Marilyn took over as commissioner. In this position, she was able to hire a passionate and able team. It was with that team that she felt she made the most difference. With the two departments together, the team was able to discover different links between the youth and the elderly. “We were able to see that family issues, aging issues were really intergenerational issues.” Thus, children and grandparents affect one another more than people realize. By working around all these issues, Marilyn truly discovered that she loved working in that area and loved the network of people.
Currently, Marilyn is working as the New York state president of AARP, where she works on legislation on a wide array of tasks such as issues with older workers, health exchanges and insurance.
Marilyn attributes much of her accomplishments to the support of her husband. She still feels his support to this day, though he passed away a year ago. And by accepting the Eldercare Award, she was offered another chance to honor Phillip. “I am very lucky to have had a partner that had my back and rescued me from untold disasters.”
At the “Cabaret” on Sept. 28, Marilyn walked up on stage to accept her award in front of a room full of warm and upbeat people. She was proud to find herself with Dr. Sharon Brangman, Judge Minna Buck and Cynthia Stevenson as a new recipient of the award. She wanted more than anything to share it with those other people in her field who worked hand-in-hand with the elderly and with her husband who guided her forward in her career and her life. Phillip was always a source of inspiration for those around him, and Home Aides took care of him during his illness. She showed her appreciation for Sandy Martin, the president of the Eldercare Foundation, and expressed how much the program meant to her now, more than ever.
“Though I’d always had great respect for what this organization does, it wasn’t until we were in the position to need to make that call to Sandy, that I realized how important it is that Home Aides exists in our community.”
Despite being in the spotlight, Marilyn turned the spotlight back to the organization and the people who perform incredible deeds every day.