After retiring from AT&T after 25 years, Frankie Santoro has stayed very involved with their volunteer organization, The Pioneers. Because of her dedicated volunteerism, The Buckingham senior living community is recognizing Frankie Santoro as the fourth recipient of The Buckingham 2010 Salute to Seniors Award. Joyce Earnest, service executive for AT&T, nominated Santoro for the honor.
“Frankie is retired from AT&T but not retired from the Pioneers,” said Earnest. “She runs a thrift store and donates products from her store to help the homeless and needy. She also works with kids that need community service time and works with Galveston Shriners’ Hospital, just to name a few. She is an amazing lady!”
The Buckingham Salute to Seniors Award is presented quarterly to honor an individual who is making a difference in their community. Qualified nominees are active adults age 62 and above who volunteer their time and talents to their communities, and who also exemplify leadership, spirit, and citizenship.
“Through Mrs. Santoro’s work with the Pioneers she’s been able to serve a number of worthy organizations,” said Cathy Lightfoot, director of sales and marketing at The Buckingham. “Her devotion to her community is such an inspiration.”
Santoro has been volunteering for about 45 years. When she worked at AT&T, you had to be with the company for 25 years to be part of the Pioneers. Since then, they’ve changed it so that anyone who works for the communication system is able to join. Recently, Santoro has involved her grandchildren in some of the Pioneers’ projects.
“When you’re giving, for me, it’s a feeling of goodness that can’t ever be taken from you,” says Santoro. “Growing up Christian, we were always told if you see a need, try to fill it. It makes me feel good.”
Through her involvement with the program, Santoro has worked with a number of organizations. The Shriners Hospital in Galveston was forced to close because of damage from Hurricane Ike and was later able to reopen. Saltwater from the storms destroyed the plants around the property, so Santoro gathered 56 volunteers and got local companies involved. They were able to dig up 18 gardens and planted over 400 plants so the grounds would look attractive when the kids came back.
Santoro enjoys visiting with local veteran organizations. She is invested in preserving history and planned an event where 85 veterans showed up to tell their stories in the presence of senators, state representatives and council members. The city has asked her to help plan a repeat of the event for local history classes to attend.
In addition, Santoro takes seniors to doctors appointments, has gathered financial and volunteer support for a local struggling VFW hall, works with kids serving community service time and runs a shop which benefits Christian Helping Hands and Neighborhood Center.
When she’s not volunteering, Santoro enjoys spending time with her 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She has recently taken up Ballroom Dancing, and at almost 80 years old is able to do the splits.
AT&T Pioneers is a network of volunteers who effect immediate, tangible change in local communities, in partnership with their sponsors. Today, the organization is the world’s largest group of industry-specific employees and retirees dedicated to community service. Pioneers volunteer more than 15 million hours annually responding to the individual needs of their communities. For more information visit www.attpioneervolunteers.org.
ABOUT THE BUCKINGHAM
The Buckingham is Houston’s premier life care senior living community located in the Memorial neighborhood. Situated on a 17-acre site along Buffalo Bayou at 8580 Woodway Drive, The Buckingham offers resort-style services and amenities for active, independent seniors, as well as all levels of health care services on-site at The Plaza at The Buckingham. The community features 205 independent living residences; 43 private assisted living apartments; 16 private memory support apartments; and 60 private skilled nursing suites.
The Buckingham is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit senior living community sponsored by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a Texas-based nonprofit organization that sponsors sister communities Edgemere in Dallas, Querencia at Barton Creek in Austin, The Stayton at Museum Way under construction in Fort Worth, and Mirador under construction in Corpus Christi. For information visit www.buckinghamhouston.com, or call (832) 426-1372.