Volunteer ApplicationOnline Orientation

Join Our Team

Volunteer Feature

2017 Arnie Abrams Award Winner

Volunteer of the Year

At the end of the October 2017 SHINE Leadership Meeting, the Department of Elder Affairs was able to celebrate the contributions of more than 515 statewide volunteers.  The Florida Department of Elder Affairs' SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program announced Sue LaMastro, Manatee County volunteer, as the award winner for the Arnie Abrams Volunteer of the Year award.

Sue serves as a SHINE volunteer counselor for the Senior Connection Center, Inc. In addition to working one-on-one with her clients, Sue also serves as a local mentor for fellow Manatee County SHINE volunteers. As an illustration of Sue's impact on the members of her community, the local ADRC had an elderly client call who needed assistance with affording her medication. This client was living alone off then lass $1.300 a month and was prescribed a prescription that was going to cost $1,200 a month, even with the Low-Income Subsidy assistance she receives. Sue guided her through the counseling session to obtain the information she needed to help her. She spent hours conducting research on her behalf and was able to identify a pharmaceutical assistance program that brought her monthly drug cost down from $1,200 a month to $5! The type of assistance that Sue provided saved this client $14,000 a year!

As a daughter of immigrants, Sue has to learn English as a second language. This provides her with a real understanding and empathy for the fear and frustration that some of our clients experience while trying to understand complex Medicare information, which is usually provided in English. Through Sue's efforts the Senior Connection Center, Inc. has been able to increase services to historically underserved Spanish speaking populations in their community. Sue has been described as a fireball who is renowned for being diligent, tenacious, honest, patient, and fair. She has a huge herat and expresses her compassion for others by being their advisory and their advocate. She somehow manages all of this and more, while upholding a warm sense of humor that helps all who know her, sustain strength and positivity in their hours of need.

To quote her nominator, “Her service to mankind, particularly those in need, is beyond phenomenal and in our option, qualifies as super heroism."
This award is named for long-time SHINE volunteer, Arnie Abrams, and recognizes volunteers of the SHINE Program for their dedication to serving clients and serving the program. Nominations can be submitted from anyone associated with the SHINE Program. 

The qualities of Arnie Abrams, considered for the award named in his honor, include:
  • Tenure - including time spent as a SHINE counselor, experience in serving Florida's beneficiaries, number of hours worked, and the number of clients served;
  • Effort - a dedication to both clients and the SHINE Program. a reliability to follow through on challenges and persistence in resolving client problems;  and
  • Counseling History - A demonstrated compassion for the clients and communities we serve.

Sue LaMastro, we thank you for your motivation, devotion, reliability and kindness. We could not do this without you being a part of the SHINE team. Thank you for your 13 years, and counting, of service.


Elder Interior