The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4A) recently awarded Brenda House, the Wyandotte Nation Title VI Elder Services Director, with the prestigious Excellence in Leadership Award.
House was chosen from the 239 Title VI programs nationwide.
House said she was surprised by the honor – literally – at the award ceremony in Louisville, Ky.
“They tricked me. They told me a lady I’m real good friends with was the one to be honored. So I was sitting there, excited for her, and then they called my name and had my picture up on a huge screen. I was speechless,” she said. “It really meant a lot to me. We don’t do it for the glory; we do it for the elders, and not just Indian elders, but all elders.”
The n4a Excellence in Leadership Award annually recognizes a director of an Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and a Title VI Native American Aging program who have demonstrated exceptional leadership at the local, state and/or national level in advancing the mission of the Older Americans Act and preparing communities for the rapidly aging population. This award is n4a’s highest honor.
House was the 2012 Wyandotte Nation Honored Person at last year’s Pow-Wow. She has also previously been selected as Outstanding Title VI Director of the Year.
House has been employed with the Wyandotte Nation since 1987. During her 26-year tenure, she developed a pharmacy program for homebound elders; developed a safety program for elders and caregivers; developed an arts and craft shop; developed successful fundraisers; and provided tours and trips for elders.
One of her most significant accomplishments is the cooperative agreement she initiated between the Wyandotte Nation and DOCServices Older Americans Act program to deliver meals to homebound elders in rural, isolated areas of Northeast Oklahoma.
Representing the Wyandotte Nation, she participates in statewide initiatives as well.
House has served on the n4A Board; Executive on Oklahoma’s Indian Council on Aging Board; Chairman of Oklahoma’s Northeast Caregivers Coalition; and served on Oklahoma’s Minority Conference on Aging & Task Force Board.