2006 Gatekeeper Of The Year Awarded

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

February 16, 2007

In cooperation with Consumers Energy, Michigan's Commission on Services to the Aging has selected Christopher Harbert as the 2006 Gatekeeper of the Year.

Working as a Customer Service Representative for Consumers Energy in Grand Rapids, Mr. Harbert received a call from a customer notifying Consumers Energy that a payment was in the mail. While talking with the customer, Mr. Harbert learned of possible neglect. Mr. Harbert connected the customer with the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Inc who assisted the customer in receiving meals-on-wheels, transportation to appointments, and home health care visits.

"Mr. Harbert's efforts to protect a local older adult are extraordinary," said Sharon L. Gire, Director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. "The Gatekeeper program shows the potential in all of us to look out for our elderly family and neighbors."

The Gatekeeper program was initiated by Consumers Energy in Michigan in 1987 as a way to identify elderly community members in need of assistance. Each month, employees of Consumers Energy are nominated for identifying and assisting an at-risk older adult who is age 60 and older and in need of assistance. The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging honors one employee each month, and then a Gatekeeper of the Year is selected from the monthly winners.

Mr. Harbert was presented with a plaque and a congratulatory letter from Governor Granholm at the February 6, 2007 meeting of the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging.