Rose Laccone has used her singing and comedic talents to entertain audiences her entire life. Her natural ability was apparent as she took the stage Saturday in Plainview to be crowned 2013 Savvy Senior Queen during Savvy Senior Day, sponsored by AGES -- for the Association of Generational Experts.
“God made me to make people smile,” said Laccone, 90, of Whitestone, said after the presentation. “I make at least 20 people smile and laugh every day, and I’m very funny.”
Held on the eve of National Grandparents Day, this was the fourth Savvy Senior Day organized by AGES, a volunteer-based network of professionals who educate Long Island seniors and provide support with health care and financial planning.
Savvy Senior Day celebrates individual seniors nominated for their active participation in the community and commitment to volunteering. Twenty-six seniors were nominated for the 2013 awards.
“We want to honor the seniors for their time and talent,” said AGES chairwoman Rita Medaglio-Barrera, of Hauppauge. “They have a purpose in life beyond retirement and a great passion for helping their communities.”
Laccone’s passion for helping her community blended with her passion for entertaining during a lifetime career of performing, in which she notes includes starring in six Off-Broadway, one-woman shows. She also won the title of Ms. Senior New York State 1989.
“It’s so important that older people not give up,” Laccone advises. “I’m still going to go on stage, and I’m looking forward to a new part of my career.”
Frank Zizzo, 81, of Levittown, was crowned KIng at the AGES event by last year’s winner, Peter Vannucci, 82, of Northport.
Zizzo’s passion for volunteerism began when he returned from the Korean War and joined the Knights of Columbus. Soon after, he also joined the Long Island Society for Italian Americans, for which he now serves as chairman of the board, handling the organization’s financial matters.
“Volunteering is a way of giving back,” Zizzo said. “I’ve been fortunate; I’ve had a pretty good life; my health isn’t bad, and I want to share what I have.”
Last year’s Savvy Senior King, Vannucci, has kept active in his reigning year, competing in the Long Island Senior Games and the National Senior Games. He lectures at local hospitals and senior homes on the importance of staying active.
“If you keep yourself active and committed to something healthy, it’s a win-win situation,” Vannucci said.