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Aging Leaders Honor Utility Company Employees for Helping Seniors

Friday, May 15, 2015

– Two utility company employees were celebrated today by state officials and the Commission on Services to the Aging (CSA) for recognizing older adults who were in desperate need of help, and for taking action to ensure that those people were connected to potentially life-saving services.

For their efforts, Consumers Energy’s Linda Falkowski and DTE Energy’s Valerie Christian were each awarded the 2014 Gatekeeper of the Year award by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Aging and Adult Services Agency (AASA) and the CSA.  

Falkowski arrived at a customer’s home for a service call last June and immediately determined the person was confused and in distress. Falkowski made a referral, which led to that person receiving much-needed supportive services and housing assistance.

Christian spoke with a customer on the phone last fall and determined that the person was desperate, depressed, felt isolated and needed help immediately. After learning the person had no relatives or other support, Christian took action and made the appropriate referral. This resulted in that person receiving the legal, housing, aging and disability services that he needed.  

“I want to say thank you to Linda Falkowski and Valerie Christian for their thoughtfulness and commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of older adults in our state,” said MDHHS Aging and Adult Services Agency Director Kari Sederburg. “Their actions truly demonstrate the positive impact the Gatekeeper program can have on the lives of Michiganders across the state.”

The Gatekeeper program provides information to employees of Consumers Energy and DTE Energy to help them recognize and refer at-risk older adults and people with disabilities to the local Area Agency on Aging. Each month a Gatekeeper of the Month is named and from that group a Gatekeeper of the Year is selected from each participating organization.


The Gatekeeper program is made possible through a partnership between Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and Michigan’s aging network. Contact AASA at 517-373-8230 for more information.

Contact: Phil Lewis,