(Senate - February 14, 2013)

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[Page S766]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS


                       TRIBUTE TO DOROTHY KNOWLES

 Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, for 40 years, there has been no 
greater advocate for Southwest Missouri seniors than Dorothy Knowles. 
As executive director of the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, 
Dorothy's leadership and motivation have inspired a talented and 
spirited staff to help seniors understand issues and offer a variety of 
resources. When Medicare part D arrived, it was Dorothy who voluntarily 
began the effort to educate seniors on the options and advantages in 
the new program. Thanks to her actions, the Southwest Missouri Office 
on Aging became and continues to be the premiere source of information 
on that program and others for seniors.
  When Dorothy Knowles began work as a secretary and bookkeeper at the 
Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, it was brand new. A single mother 
in need of a job, Dorothy saw the new agency as an opportunity. She 
rose through the ranks and learned the agency's needs and programs as 
director of social services and as associate director. Her boss during 
those years was her mentor, Winston Bledsoe. Winston started with a 
$25,000 grant to open the first 9 senior centers in the region, 
creating a daily meeting place for 40,000 seniors. When Winston retired 
in 1999, his deputy Dorothy took charge, armed with 25 years of 
experience in providing senior services, advocacy, and a keen 
understanding of how to stretch a dollar.
  Dorothy has never missed an opportunity to expand services and 
outreach and provide seniors with opportunities to improve the quality 
of life for older Americans. During 2012, there were 38 senior centers 
serving more than 370,000 meals to seniors and 700,000 home-delivered 
meals in 17 counties. Today there are services to support caregivers, 
respite relief, transportation, housekeeping, legal outreach, and even 
services to help seniors file income taxes.
  In 2005, Medicare added prescription drug coverage, creating an on-
line ordering process and regulations seniors had never experienced. 
Dorothy immediately saw the need to educate seniors so they could take 
advantage of this service to acquire vital medicines. Self taught and 
without additional funding, she led the staff at the Southwest Missouri 
Office on Aging to become the best resource for Medicare part D 
information anywhere. Working with my congressional office, Dorothy led 
her new experts on Part D into seminars and signup clinics in every 
county of Southwest Missouri. Every year since then, they have remained 
the premiere source of part D expertise.
  I have worked with Dorothy Knowles and know the commitment, 
dedication, and joy she takes in serving our senior population. I doubt 
her retirement will be the end of her enthusiastic advocacy for 
Southwest Missouri seniors. She will still weigh in on elder abuse laws 
and senior wellness funding and will still instill that unrelenting 
zeal she has to champion senior causes in her 150 member staff and 
colleagues. I wish her, and the agency she helped craft into a bastion 
of senior advocacy, the best in the decades ahead. Southwest Missouri 
is a better place for seniors to live thanks to Dorothy Knowles and her 
four decades of service at the Southwest Missouri Office on