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100-year-old volunteer honored at Boca Helping Hands celebration

Mel Lazerick was introduced as a TV star at Boca Helping Hands’ Celebration.  Lazerick said he was just there that morning. No big deal that he turned 100 on May 16, which attracted all that media attention.

The family and friends’ event Saturday honored Lazerick and benefactor Arthur J. Remillard Jr. Remillard’s donation allowed Boca Helping Hands to move from a church to the building named for him.

“He has been my patron saint for the last 13 years,” said board president Gary Peters. “We went from serving 30 or 40 hot meals a day to 225 by 2015.”

“He wrote a really big check. We say thanks for his incredible generosity and compassion for people in need,” said board member Tandy Robinson.

Both men created a legacy, said executive director Greg Hazle.

“Our oldest volunteer has been involved since our inception two decades ago,” said Yasmine Zyne Coleman. “He has a quick wit and an entertaining personality.”

100 yr old volunteer Helping Hands
Volunteer honoree Mel Lazerick.

His motto is “Get out of your house and go help somebody,” she said. “He has more energy than people half his age.”

Wearing a white rose in his lapel, Lazerick table-hopped and kibitzed with the crowd. “Boca Helping Hands has kept me alive. It gives me a place to go,” he said after his award presentation.

Rosemary and Ben Krieger and musician and composer Marshall Turkin were among his pals at the Marriott Boca Raton dinner. Turkin, 92, says he’s just about to start a new season with his jazz band.

Boca Helping Hands has five job training programs. The Remillard Family Resource Center at 1500 NW 1st Court is open six days a week, serving a hot meal at lunch and a family dinner on Thursdays.  They distribute pantry bags and deliver meals to homebound disabled and elderly. They’re affiliated with Genesis health and dental clinics in Boca.

“A lot of people don’t realize there’s a need in the Boca Raton area,” said Pat McCarthy, a fellow Rotarian with Gary Hildebrand, there as a Helping Hands volunteers.

By Marci Shatzman

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