The Daily Star
---- — The Delaware County Senior Council’s annual meeting Monday at the Rainbow Lodge in Walton was highlighted by the announcement of two prestigious awards.
Meridale resident Frank Bachler was selected as the organization’s 39th Senior Citizen of the Year, which honors people who best exemplify the positive impact that senior citizens have on their communities.
Peg Shafer of Walton was recognized for the “Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen of the Year” award. This honor has been given annually since 1983 and recognizes a Delaware County senior citizen who has been active in improving the quality of life for the county’s elder residents.
Frank was born to Austrian parents in Flushing Memorial Hospital in Queens in 1941 to the late Paul and Marie (Gerstner) Bachler. Frank had one sibling, Paul. His brother served in the Korean War.
His parents were superintendents of several different apartment buildings located in Manhattan, the Bronx and Bayside. At the age of six, his dad died because of complications related to surgery. His mom later remarried in 1950 to Gus Lipinski.
Bachler attended SUNY Farmingdale, majoring in Animal Science and graduated in 1960.
One of the requirements of the Animal Science Program was to do two internships on a dairy farm. During the summer of 1959, he went to upstate New York and worked at a farm in Bovina, and in 1960 he worked on the Willard and Louise Chase farm in Bovina. After working two summers in Bovina, he says, he knew that he wanted to settle down and start a farm of his own in Delaware County.
Bachler has been farming on the “Sky High Farm,” on Bachler Road off Turnpike Road in the Town of Meredith for 53 years with his wife, Gretel, working with him for the last 48 years.
Following selling of his dairy herd in 1987, Bachler became actively involved in different community activities. He has been an active member of the St. Peters Roman Catholic Church of Delhi for the past 53 years. He is also involved with the Office for the Aging Advisory Board, Delaware Opportunities Board of Directors, is the president of the Meredith Senior Club, a board member of the Pine Grove Cemetery in Meridale, chairman of the Farmland Protection Board and director for the Soil and Water Board. He was the town of Meridale supervisor for 20 years and is a past board member of Delaware County Cooperative Extension for 20 years.
Shafer moved to Bob’s Brook in the town of Walton in 1999 to be closer to her children. In 2010, she moved in with her daughter Nancy and her husband, Paul Endress.
“I never really had many close friends or felt a part of the community until I attended the social adult day center, ‘Our Place,’ that opened up in Walton at the Walton Presbyterian Church in 2012,” Shafer said.
She actively volunteers at several of the New Hope Community Church functions such as the “Soup Kitchen,” the Pancake Tent at the Delaware County Fair and is involved in a Bible study group known as “Life Group.”
“I now feel like I’m a part of the community,” she said. “It gives you gratification and it makes you feel great being able to help others.”