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Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year 2014

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Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year 2014
by Dr. Herb Randall

A “woman of valor,” Raymonde Fiol of Las Vegas, was chosen to be the Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year 2014.

The Nevada Delegation of the National Silver Haired Congress (NSHC) in partnership with the Aging Services Directors Organization (ASDO) established this award in 2013. Frank Pati of Mesquite was then selected to be the first-ever Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year.

The Director of Senior Services for the Jewish Family Service Agency, Ms. Nora Kraidman, wrote: “Mrs. Raymonde Fiol is on a mission for what we call in Hebrew “Tikkun Olam” – Repairing the World. Mrs. Raymonde Fiol has made it her life mission to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and to make sure Holocaust Survivors in our community and around the United States are provided with the services they need.”

Esther Finder, President, Generations of the Shoah – Nevada and member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust, described Mrs. Fiol like this: “Ray is a remarkable woman who has overcome tremendous hardships in her lifetime. She was three years old when the Nazis invaded Paris and by age seven her parents had been interned in concentration camps (ultimately murdered in Auschwitz) and she was in the care of a family of Righteous Gentiles who saved her. She now dedicates herself to making this world a better place and showing students, by her example, that despite the hardships people have to endure, they can make a good life for themselves.”

Ms. Finder continued: “Ray is the President of the Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada and is a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust. She also serves on the Coordinating Council of Generations of the Shoah International (GSI), the largest Holocaust survivor family organization in the world.”

Ray Fiol arranges social events for the Las Vegas survivors, helps ensure that the ones in need get help from local agencies, and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

According to Esther Finder, Ray also schedules survivors to speak with teachers and students all around Clark County in both public and private schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She also has worked with the film department at UNLV on two documentaries which are being submitted to film festivals. One of these features her quite prominently. Ray speaks about her emotionally painful childhood experiences because she believes that it is important to teach students that prejudice and discrimination can cause serious harm.

Ms. Finder wrote in summary: “Ray Fiol is what Jewish tradition calls a “woman of valor.” Despite her experiences as a hidden child orphaned by the Holocaust, her message is positive and optimistic. We are lucky to have her in our Las Vegas community.”

The annual award for 2014 will be presented at the ASDO Annual Luncheon in May, which is Older Americans Month. The Governor has been invited to present the award.

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