MS WEST VIRGINIA SENIOR AMERICA 2014,
RHONDA M. AMATO
Rhonda M. Amato, a decendant of early colonists, was born April 2. 1949. She was an active child -- always running, swimming, dancing, or practicing gymnastics. She was a competitive swimmer, life guard, and Water Safety Instructor. She played piano and sang in her church choir. She volunteered as a Junior Gray Lady for the Veterans Hospital, was a Page for the North Carolina House of Representatives, was in the Girl Scouts, and was a Queen Regent in the Girls Auxuliary of her church.
After graduation from High School where she had been a cheerleader, Rhonda attended UNC Chapel Hill and was on the Varsity gymnastics team. She continued her education at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah and graduated with a degree in English and Music. She moved to Oregon, studied Music and Dance at Oregon State University, and was lead dancer for the Albany Civic Theater.
Rhonda lived in Oregon for eight years where she met and married Robert Amato. They moved to Upstate New York in 1984 where Robert worked for the State of New York. They have three daughters and lived for sixteen years in an off-the-grid home which was run by solar electricity. Rhonda worked as a customer service representative for large corporations including American Express, Merrill Lynch and United Healthcare. She received awards and national recogition for excellence in service. Now retired, she enjoys spending time with her large family, volunteering, running, playing golf, bike riding, swimming, RV-ing, boating, fishing, collecting Asian artwork and playing with her two pugs and five grandchildren.
Fitness is important to Rhonda and in 1998, she attained the level of black belt in Taekwondo. She has won many trophies and medals including a gold medal at the Taekwondo Nationals. She was a swimmer in the NY State Empire Games and qualified to compete in the National Senior Games. Still today, Rhonda continues to train in martial arts, swimming, dance, yoga and running. She dances at senior centers, nursing homes, competitions, and festivals. She runs 5K races and currently she is training for her first triathlon -- swimming, biking and running, all required in one event. Rhonda is also an accomplished pine needle basket designer. Two of her baskets won First place for National Heritage Arts and one basket was purchased for placement in the 1812 Museum in Washington, DC.
Rhonda is the author of three books -- a humorous book for senior citizens; a poetry chapbook; and "I'm Your daughter, Too" which was written for parents of children with birth defects and has been selling for two years in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia.