GAZELLE STL NOVEMBER 2017 - Page 94

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE Ageless Remarkable Super St. Louisans VOLUNTEERS RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR DEDICATION TO THE COMMUNITY B y T r i s h M u y c o - To b i n A s we begin to close out 2017 and reflect on the events that once again propelled St. Louis into the national headlines as a city divided, we mustn’t forget about those who tirelessly and selflessly give of themselves in order to better the lives of people in the community. Last month, St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System honored Judy Bentley 92 GAZELLE STL 22 of the St. Louis region’s most accomplished individuals at the 15th annual Ageless Remarkable St. Louisans gala. The event celebrated the outstanding contributions of St. Louisans of a certain age who have a slightly different perspective on what it means to grow older. Most of these individuals may be unfamiliar to our Gazelle STL readers, but they truly epitomize the characteristics that inspire us all. Among those receiving recognition: 79-year-old Judy Bentley, the founder, president and CEO of the largest free health clinic in St. Louis. A nurse practitioner, Bentley established CHIPS, the Community Health-in-Partnership Services, to ensure that underserved St. Louisans had access to healthcare and other social services. What began as a free clinic in the basement of St. Teresa of Avila Church in May 1990 has helped more than 25,000 residents. The CHIPS Health and Wellness Center, now located in the city’s north side, is staffed by volunteer physicians, nurses, and other professional and lay community members. For her part, Bentley has been honored with numerous awards, including the Top Ladies of Distinction's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Distinguished Service and Healthcare Award from the LINKS St. Louis Chapter, and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Salute to Women in Leadership Award. She also volunteers at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University Medical School. Seventy-nine-year-old honoree Barbara Gehringer and her four- legged companion, Maggie, are frequent visitors to a number of local senior communities. Gehringer retired from practicing and teaching nursing in 1999, but her compassion, combined with her energy, have been a gift to older adults in need of friendship and some canine companionship. She has also helped coordinate the Animal Protection Agency’s Prison Arts Program, through which offenders practicing restorative justice paint dog and cat portraits to raise funds for the animal shelter. Her involvement extends to the Center for Women in Transition, which helps women transition successfully from the criminal justice system back into society. Even with her busy volunteer schedule, Gehringer found time to take up piano lessons after retirement. She also practices yoga, and she has qualified for and ran in the Boston Marathon, biked from California to Washington, D.C., and climbed to the top of Machu Picchu.