NYC Health+ Hospitals/McKinney honored yesterday six of its women centenarian residents as part of a Women’s History Month celebration. The women—ranging in age from a few days shy of 100 to 103—and their families were joined by staff and local elected officials to celebrate with presentations, awards, proclamations, and entertainment. Together, they celebrated 600+ years of life.
“While it is remarkable, it is also an honor to have six women centenarians living at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney,” said David Weinstein, chief executive officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney. “Each of the women adds value to all who interact with them, whether it’s someone on their care team or a volunteer. We are all grateful to each of them for the opportunity to learn from their stories and rich life experiences.”
“These women have passed along wisdom to many at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney, including the younger generation of volunteers who work with us,” said Eslyn Simpson, director of Social Services, NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney. “It is a privilege to honor these wonderful women who have been so generous to share so much of themselves with us.”
“Our life stories are just as important as any other story, and the younger generation needs to learn and understand how they can grow old peacefully,” said Lucille Watson, who will celebrate her 100th birthday in April.
The celebration included music, performances, and birthday cake for the group. Elected officials—including Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, a representative from Senator Jesse Hamilton’s office, and a representative from Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke’s office—various Brooklyn-based community organizations, and New York Police Department officers from the 71st Precinct were in attendance to present the honorees with certificates commemorating their centenarian status. The NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney Awards of Excellence were presented to Lucille Watson, Rebecca Gilmore, Carolyn Burton, Caroline Binns, Margaret Alcindor, and Enid Peterkin.
“I have been really excited about this event, and I thank NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney for hosting. It is a special day, and I thank God for it,” said Ms. Watson.
- Rebecca Honor Gilmore was born on January 7, 1918, in Ridgeville, South Carolina, to Mr. and Mrs. John and Ella Honor. Ms. Gilmore is a twin—to a brother, the late Isaac Honor—and they had eight other siblings. Ms. Gilmore migrated to New York in 1937, where she met and married William Gilmore. They had two sons, William Jr. and Eddie Gilmore, who have predeceased her. In keeping with her faith, she became a member of Bethel Tabernacle AME church, then later moved her membership to Bridge Street AME church. Volunteerism is very important to Ms. Gilmore, and she herself volunteered in the church, visiting sick and homebound members and doing anything else that was needed. Fellow members could always depend on her for her kindness and generosity. Ms. Gilmore has always been very fashionable and impeccably dressed, which was seen at church and at Ohrbach’s department store, where she was employed for many years. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” In addition to the scripture that guides her, she loves to sing hymns, including “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow,” “Amazing Grace,” and “I Will Trust In The Lord.”
- Caroline Binns was born on February 9, 1918, in Kingston, Jamaica. She was her mother’s only child and was raised primarily by her “Aunt Ann.” She attended Alpha Girls Elementary School and attended Excelsior College. As a young woman, Ms. Binns was very industrious, independent, and self-sufficient. After leaving school, Ms. Binns worked for the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipalities for 29 years. She arrived in the United States in 1977, went back to school, and obtained her home health aide certificate in New York City. She worked in the field for many years, where she was loved and trusted by those in her care and their families. After retiring at age 70, she continued living a very active and independent life. Ms. Binns is the mother of five daughters and one son, and is also proud of her 20 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
- Carolyn Burton was born on Marcha 30, 1918, in Ashville, North Carolina, where she attended Stephen Lee High School. Ms. Burton is from a large family—one of 12 siblings—and took care of many of them, in addition to her cousins and nieces. She has dedicated her life to her careers, first in retail, and later as a librarian. Ms. Burton has enjoyed traveling and playing with her dog. She says her secret to longevity has been staying close to God by attending a church.
- Lucille Watson was born on April 22, 1918, in Charleston, South Carolina. When still a baby, she moved to Freeport, Long Island, where she later attended the Grove Street Public School. Ms. Watson began her tenure in the health field as a home health aide, working at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County as a nurse’s aide for many years. While living in the community, Ms. Watson attended Mt. Sinai Baptist Church and was involved with many community-based organizations. She has always enjoyed travelling to places such as Hawaii, and when not traveling, she also enjoys time to herself. Ms. Watson has been a resident at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney for almost 20 years and says she enjoys it very much. Her key to longevity is to “trust in God, He will carry you through.”
- Enid Odesa Peterkin was born on November 25, 1915, in Barbados, West Indies. The ninth of 11 children, she has lived in Brooklyn since 1961, where she worked as a dress maker and used her culinary skills to earn an income. Married to Livingston Payne, she had a son, Carlton Peterkin, who visits her regularly and is very involved in her care. Ms. Peterkin was a nurse’s aide for 17 years in Brooklyn and is still an active member of the Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Church, which she loves. Her church friends visit her regularly, and they enjoy singing together. Her longtime passion for acting still shows through her sense of humor, which brings laughter to her family, friends, and staff at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney.