JAMESTOWN, NY – Senator George M. Borrello honored Dr. Mary Ann Spanos, Chautquaua County Director of the Office of Aging Services (OFAS), as a 2022 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction” Saturday.
Surrounded by family and community leaders, Dr, Spanos was recognized for her achievements and contributions to the community during a ceremony at the St. Nicholas Church Yassou Festival Saturday. Dr. Spanos and her family have helped organize the annual Greek festival for many years.
Senator George Borrello said he nominated Dr. Spanos for her longstanding community service and the way she and her staff responded to the COVID pandemic shutdown.
“Mary Ann is amazing. When the pandemic slammed the door and shut everything down, she made sure that everyone who depends on OFAS, our elder residents and their caregivers, received the services and support they needed to remain safely in their homes,” Sen. Borrello said. “I worked with Mary Ann when I was County Executive and during my eight years as a Chautauqua County Legislator. She is thoughtful, forward thinking and 100 percent dedicated to making Chautauqua County the best place possible for older adults and those with special needs to grow old in.
“She is a leader in the very best sense of the word and it is my privilege to honor her as this year’s ‘Woman of Distinction.’”
In addition to being OFAS Director, Dr. Spanos is president of USAging, the national association for Area Agencies on Aging. Dr.Spanos thanked Sen. Borrello for nominating her, adding that she loves her job because it enables her to use her training as a physical therapist help residents remain independent and in their homes.
““I was so fortunate to have all four of my grandparents when I was growing up. I credit my grandparents and my relationship with them for my career helping older adults,” she said. “I never expected to find this field of aging. It’s just something that happened and it’s turned out to be a perfect fit. What we try to achieve in physical therapy is giving people back their life and their autonomy. That’s what we all want as we grow older.”
Sen. Borrello said that modesty is typical of Dr. Spanos.
“Like so many exceptional women who came before her, Dr. Spanos isn’t driven by a need for recognition,” Sen. Borrello said. “She’s motivated by a sincere desire to help people and serve her community. She exemplifies the spirit of service at the heart of the ‘Woman of Distinction’ award.”
Dr. Spanos practiced physical therapy, specializing in geriatric rehabilitation, from 1986 to 2007, when she was appointed Director of Chautauqua County’s Office for Aging Services.
“I congratulate Dr. Mary Ann Spanos on receiving the New York State Senate’s 2022 Woman of Distinction Award for the 57th Senate District,” said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel. “I am so proud of her hard work and dedication to seniors and caregivers across our county and to have an individual who is a Chautauqua County resident and director receive this award is truly an amazing accomplishment and honor.”
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell said Dr. Spanos creates networks of support, collaborating with agencies and providers to make sure residents receive the services they need.
“Dr. Spanos more than deserves this honor,” Assemblyman Goodell said. “Her dedication to our seniors is beyond compare and exemplifies the mission of the Office for the Aging: ‘to provide programs and services to seniors and their families to promote independence, optimal health and wellness in a safe and secure environment.’
“Dr. Spanos contributes daily to the well-being of our communities through her tireless efforts, passion and commitment. I am proud to help recognize Dr. Mary Ann Spanos and know that I speak for a grateful community when offering our thanks.”
Dr. Spanos received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1986, and her doctorate from Boston University in 2005.
She lives in Bemus Point, N.Y., with her husband, George, and is the proud mother of two sons and a grandmother of one.
Established in 1998, the New York State Senate “Women of Distinction” Award pays tribute to women who have demonstrated remarkable character, initiative and commitment in serving their neighbors, strengthening our communities and acting as role models.