LaCagnina inducted into Senior Citizen Hall of Fame

By Emily Reed / Special to the Reporter

Maylene resident Faye LaCagnina wants to spend each day making sure others feel good about themselves.

“When I wake up in the morning and I say my prayer, I ask God to give me the strength to make someone else happy or make someone feel good about themselves,” LaCagnina, 82, said. “That makes me happy to know that others around me are happy.”

LaCagnina was selected as a permanent member of the Alabama Senior Citizen Hall of Fame and was inducted as a new member Aug. 18 during a ceremony in Montgomery.

The Alabama Senior Citizen Hall of Fame has recognized Alabamians aged 60 or older for their outstanding contribution to the lives of older members in their local communities since 1983, according to the Alabama Senior Citizen Hall of Fame website.

Community leaders and members of the public are asked to nominate the seniors based on certain criteria.

“Those selected are formally honored and recognized for their selfless advocacy and dedication of service to others at an official ceremony in Montgomery,” according to the website.

LaCagnina spends roughly 20 hours each week volunteering her time at Shelby Baptist Medical Center where she works as a patient’s family receptionist, a job she has done for the last 12 years.

She also volunteers with the veterans program in Shelby County, Wounded Warriors, Oak Mountain Missions and Shelby Woods.

She received the Veterans Spirit Award, Seven Seals Award, and Leader Award in the Commanders Club, and she is a recipient of the Gold and Veterans Lifetime Award, among others.

LaCagnina is also a member of Pelham First Baptist Church where she has “adopted” the senior class members and trestd them to formal, monthly luncheons, which can sometimes include speakers or volunteer projects for the group to complete.

“It started as a time for me to serve some people lunch on China plates and get to know everyone,” LaCagnina said. “After that everyone enjoyed it so much, we decided to make it a monthly thing.”

LaCagnina said if she ever leaves her hospital volunteer hours early, she will sometimes go visit the two nursing homes in Shelby County and deliver things to the residents.

“I will sometimes have a stuffed animal or something I can give to someone at the nursing home that may be having a birthday or something,” LaCagnina said. “I am retired from working so many years, so I would rather stay active than sit around. I honestly think that the drive to keep helping others is what keeps me so active, and I am thankful for all of the opportunities I am presented with.”

While LaCagnina is honored to receive the recognition of one of Alabama’s newest permanent members in the hall of fame, she remains clear that she helps others for one simple reason: she enjoys it.

“I really do things from my heart,” LaCagnina said. “If someone at the hospital has just received some earth-shattering news, or someone is having a bad day, I am there for them. My goal is to care for people and be concerned about them, and I am blessed because of it.”