Matt McEntire of Fort Worth was named Tarrant County’s Outstanding Older American and Susan Musfeldt of Arlington honored as the Outstanding Advocate for Older Americans at the May 3 celebration of “Older Americans Month.”
The honors were announced at a reception sponsored by United Way’s Area Agency on Aging and Brookdale Ridgmar Senior Living Solutions.
McEntire owns and operates Shamrock Corner Holdings, but is best known for his Blarney Stone Pub, which operated out of several locations in downtown Fort Worth over the last 30 years. He currently owns property on West Seventh, including the buildings that house the Abbey Pub, Poag Mahones Irish Pub, the Mad Hatter Neighborhood Bar and Wired Willy’s Tap House.
May is designated Older Americans Month each year by proclamation of the President of the United States. In Tarrant County, the Area Agency on Aging invites human service agencies, organizations and business leaders to nominate one individual who is at least 60 years old and continues to lead a dignified, independent and productive life and contribute to the community, and one individual of any age who exemplifies dedication to improving the quality of life for older adults in Tarrant County.
“When President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May “Older Americans Month” in 1963, there were 17 million people 65 and older in this country,” said Dr. Janice Knebl, chief of geriatric medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. “Today, there are 45 million 65 and up.”
“We can make Fort Worth and Tarrant County a fabulous place to grow old,” Knebl said in highlighting ways UNTHSC is collaborating with partners from John Peter Smith Hospital, Texas Christian University and other community groups to better prepare nurses, social workers, doctors, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, Ph.D. researchers and other professional healthcare workers to meet the needs of older adults in Tarrant County.
McEntire began volunteering with Meals on Wheels a dozen years ago and has logged more than 1,430 volunteer hours delivering meals to the homebound. He often covers two routes a day if needed and delivers in many areas beyond his own neighborhood.
He also volunteers with the American Cancer Society to transport cancer patients to chemotherapy and other appointments and volunteers with Kindered Healthcare Hospice to visit hospice patients.
“He’s the kind of volunteer we can depend on to come running whenever we need help,” said Nedra Cutler, vice president of Meals on Wheels Volunteer Services.
Last October, Musfeldt established the first “Memory Café” in Tarrant County to provide an opportunity for people with early-to-moderate stage dementia to socialize and enjoy refreshments together, along with their caregivers.
Musfeldt obtained a $5,000 grant from her church to purchase “senior-friendly” chairs with arm rests, extra cushioning and adequate seat width for Grace Memory Café, which is open an hour and a half each month in Grace Presbyterian Church in Arlington.
Musfeldt recently trained with North Central Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to learn how to teach “Memories in the Making,” a therapeutic art program. She and her husband, Ron, are also active with Ambassadors for Aging Well.