Senior citizens serve as pillars of their communities but can often be overlooked for their decades of service and sacrifice. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka sought to “rectify that omission” in May by hosting the Newark Senior Citizen Unsung Heroes and Heroines Award to recognize 31 “seasoned citizens” who have dedicated their lives to improving their communities. Elnora Haynes, a senior at New Community, was among the honorees and was described as “a longtime stabilizing force in her community.” A resident of New Community Associates, Haynes has volunteered as a social services aide in her building at 180 South Orange Ave. in Newark for the last 17 years, helping serve fellow seniors and disabled adults from the Health and Social Services office. Haynes, 81, is also politically active and wears a second hat as an Essex County Democratic Committee district leader in District 42. A woman of deep faith, Haynes is the chaplain of her building, which she considers to be her most important post, and also serves as vice president of the New Community Senior Advisory Council. “I want to thank God and I also want to thank Mayor Baraka and Bessie Walker (of Senior Citizen Affairs) for thinking I was eligible to be there,” Haynes said after the ceremony. “I was honored to be up there with all the other recipients. It’s all because of the Lord, it’s nothing of myself and I am grateful,” she added.
Haynes has four children and several grand and great grandchildren.