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Whitestone resident still strong at 100 years old

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“Let me call you sweetheart,” Herman sang last week as he serenaded the more than 100 people who turned out at the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center in Bayside to help...

By Kathianne Boniello

Fred Herman of Whitestone may be almost 100 years old, but he’s still got his charm.

“Let me call you sweetheart,” Herman sang last week as he serenaded the more than 100 people who turned out at the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center in Bayside to help him celebrate his upcoming birthday.

Surrounded by friends and family, Herman was honored for his accomplishments and volunteer activities with the center last Thursday morning.

Phyllis Tobin, an administrator with Selfhelp, an agency that runs several senior centers throughout the city, first met Herman in 1983.

“He was always a wonderful volunteer,” she said. Tobin said that without Herman’s volunteer help, the group’s now-thriving Alzheimer’s program may never have gotten off the ground.

“People felt it would turn the center into a nursing home,” she said. “But Fred was instrumental and became an integral part of it.”

Herman — who has lived in Whitestone for more than 40 years — said he has always tried to stay involved.

“Most of my life I’ve been very active,” said Herman, who was born and raised in Manhattan and lived in the Bronx before moving to Queens in the mid-1950s.

“Being a volunteer and working to help others has extended my life,” he said. “It’s very important.”

Herman’s volunteer activities include working at the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center on 26th Avenue in Bayside, working in the gift shop of North Shore University Hospital at Manhasset and offering his time at the hospital’s rehabilitation nursing home and with the hospital’s Stroke Club.

He’s a father of two with seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; Herman’s family came out in force to help him celebrate his landmark birthday a bit early. The volunteer will turn 100 on June 18.

His daughter, Phyllis Neufeld, who has lived with Herman for more than a year, said, “He’s still sharp. He’s got a terrific sense of humor, and he’s very well loved.”

“My father, he’s unbelievable,” said Rosetta Solomon, his other daughter. “He’s been volunteering since we lived in the Bronx.

“He did whatever had to be done.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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