Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lifetime Accomplishments 9 Honorees in Hall of Fame

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lifetime Accomplishments 9 Honorees in Hall of Fame

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE -- Leon O'Dell will be 78 in July, no small

accomplishment in itself.

But it's a near-record-breaking feat for O'Dell, the oldest

hemophiliac on the East Coast.

O'Dell received a special honor Tuesday when he was inducted

into the Hall of Fame at Regents Park nursing home at Butler and

Southside boulevards on the Southside. O'Dell was one of nine

inaugural honorees in the Hall of Fame, the brainchild of Susan

Hamrick, who volunteers as an ombudsman for residents of nursing

homes and assisted living facilities in seven North Florida

counties.

Hamrick, who serves on a state board that inspects and answers

complaints at nursing homes, noticed that many residents of such

facilities seemed forgotten and lonely. She came up with the

Hall of Fame idea as a way to recognize individuals for personal

achievements that could be shared and enjoyed by others.

She took the concept to Regents Park activities director Randy

Blue, who further developed it to include a glass case full of

memorabilia, newspaper clippings, photographs and This is Your

Life video presentations for each inductee.

Hamrick said she hopes to take the idea to other nursing homes

she visits regularly in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker,

Flagler and Volusia counties.

"Every nursing home has residents who have accomplished things

in their lives, all sorts of things that people have forgotten

about," Hamrick said. "This is a celebration of their life, to

give them a few minutes of recognition."

O'Dell said the induction made him feel special because it

allowed him to share a lifetime achievement with others.

Hemophilia is an inherited disorder of the blood-clotting system

marked by excessive bleeding after a minor injury or spontaneous

internal bleeding. O'Dell said he strives to be an inspiration

to young hemophiliacs to show them that "with care and great

determination, you can live for many years. …

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