SPARTA, NJ- Frederika Link has been named Sparta’s 2014 Outstanding Older American. Known to all as Ricky, she was selected by the Sparta’s Senior Advisory Committee.
Link has been a resident of Sparta since 2000. She has a unique story. She was born in Luxembourg and then moved to Germany, where she was raised. She lived through World War II.
In 1957 her husband took a job transfer to Canada. They loved living there but decided they would love living in the United States even more. It was not so easy to immigrate back then. Her husband had to find a job in the United States that could not be filled by an American. They had to wait for the Quota to open. They had to have $1500 in savings in the bank for two years. They had to be able to write a paragraph in English and finally, they needed a police reference claiming they were of sound mind.
Eventually, they found their way to New Jersey. Link worked until her son had children in 2000. She promptly gave up her job and moved to Sparta to help raise her two grandsons. While living in Sparta, she joined the Sparta Presbyterian Church where she began her dedicated community service.
She started to volunteer by delivering food from the Senior Center to the Sussex County Food Pantry located in the Presbyterian Church. That led to working at the Manna House in Newton to prepare food and serve the hungry. She has done this for the last 12 years. She prepares food for all of her Church functions, Vacation Bible School, the giant Rummage Sale, and Sunday morning Coffee Hour. For some of these functions, she even purchases the food.
Link is very generous with her time. She drives many Sparta seniors to church, to the doctors, senior events and also runs errands for them. She is very caring and keeps a watchful eye on those who need assistance.
At the Sparta Senior Center, Link takes care of the extensive plant family. She nurtures over 25 plants that thrive under her care. She also volunteers as a scheduler for our Senior Van.
She arrives at the senior center twice a month, arriving at 7:30am to assist in the preparation for major programs. She cooks, serves and cleans up without looking for praise.
Recently she has taken over as Scheduler for the Town Hall Ambassador program. Each Tuesday and Wednesday there is a friendly face at the Sparta Town Hall to welcome residents and provide information if needed. Ricky makes sure the Ambassadors are scheduled each month and gladly trains the new ones.
Marianne Dilworth, Senior Coordinator and Recreation Supervisore at the Recreation Department said, “Ricky serves on our Senior Advisory Committee as an active participant. She is a very hard worker and eager to help out in any capacity. She does all of this effortlessly and at the tender age of 80 years old. She keeps fit by walking her son’s dogs at least three miles each day. She is an avid hiker and lives with her precious dog and best friend Brandi.”
Ricky has a daughter who lives in Texas. Cathy and her partner Ellyn have two daughters, Gracie and Sophie. Ricky’s son Rick lives in Sparta with his wife, Linda and their two sons, Matthew and Christopher.
According to the Sparta Township website members of the Senior Advisory Committee are appointed by the Township Council to advocate for the senior residents. Their meetings are held in the senior center at Knoll Heights. The current members are Fred Schuhmann serving as interim Chairman, Mary Parker, serving as Secretary, Eileen Francis, Dennis Gibson, Dorothy Eckweiler, Florence Meyer, Rose Satterfield, Joan Shaw, Herb Stanske, and Link. Marianne Dilworth and Councilwoman Molly Whilesmith serve on the committee as Advisory Members.