EAST HANOVER, NJ — Livingston resident Walter Joyce has been selected as this year's recipient of the UNICO Livingston Chapter Citizen of the Year Award and will be honored during the organization's annual awards brunch on Saturday, April 27 at Hanover Manor.

"Walter is so deserving of this award, which embodies the UNICO motto 'Service Above Self,'" said Matt Ladolcetta, UNICO event chairman. "Those of you who know Walter are well aware of his tireless support of Livingston senior citizens and other community events."

Joyce's community activities, which UNICO recognizes as examples of Joyce's "service above self," have included his membership on the Livingston Senior Advisory Committee, Livingston's Citizens Institute Committee and the Livingston Senior Adult Forum.

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Additionally, Joyce has been active in the Livingston Old Guard, Livingston AARP Chapter 3663 and VFW Post 2856. He is a parishoner at St. Philomena's Church, where he sings in the choir, and he is also a vocalist with the AARP Livingtones.

"I give UNICO so much credit for recognizing the service and spirit within this community. Past recipients are people who I look up to and admire, and I am humbled to be part of this group," said Joyce. "Livingston has much to offer senior citizen,s and since I retired, I’ve tried to take advantage of it all. Along the way, I’ve grown in helping Livingston seniors lead a more healthy and productive life."

When Joyce retired as a probation officer after 40 years, he said he realized that "life is short and [he] should get involved in community activities that would make life enjoyable and worthwhile."

"Little did I know that the 'few remaining years,' would be 20-plus," he said. "To say that these retirement years have been the best years of my life would be an understatement. I made the choice to take part in activities, to laugh and sing, go to the library and hear a lecture, to take a walk & to dance with my wife. I have found meaning and happiness."

Rather than leave his hometown upon retirement for warmer climes, Joyce has thrived in Livingston and continued to be a vital part of his community.

For 10 years, Joyce has served as chair of Livingston's Senior Advisory Board, which reviews programing and suggests new programs at Livingston’s Senior and Community Center. For the last five years, he has also served as chair of the AARP Livingtones, a choir that performs at nursing homes, for veterans and community events.

"Livingston is a great town for retirees, and it’s because town administrators and the town council have listened to seniors and taken our work and recommendations seriously in allocating funding and providing a space and place for a variety of enrichment and social services," he said.  "I'm being honored for the contributions I've made in helping Livingston’s seniors lead healthy and productive lives, and I am grateful for the friendships made along the way and for—sincerely—the good times we've had in our golden years."

Tickets for the brunch, which begins at 9:30 a.m. at 16 Eagle Rock Avenue in East Hanover, are $40 if pre-paid by April 19, and $50 at the door, or if purchased after April 19. Contact Ladolcetta at (973) 951-6396 or matteo4unico@gmail.com for more information or to purchase tickets.

Checks should be made payable to UNICO Livingston: UNICO, P.O. Box 157, Livingston, NJ 07039.