On Tuesday, December 6, Lycoming County United Way (LCUW) thanked the countless volunteers who have been diligently working on the annual campaign this fall. More than 100 LCUW supporters gathered at the Holiday Inn for the event hosted by George & Olga Tsunis to honor the volunteers and celebrate the campaign efforts.
“We are fortunate to live in a community where neighbors care about one another and will pitch in a helping hand to someone in need,” said Virgil Probasco, volunteer chair of the 2011 LCUW campaign and executive vice president of Wirerope Works. “We could not fund the most critical human service needs here in Lycoming County without the support we receive from residents and business leaders. Tonight, we honor and thank the volunteers who do the heavy lifting and help make it all come together.”
LCUW handed out a number of awards to outstanding volunteers throughout the evening’s program.
“Volunteers are the driving force behind the success of our United Way team. Our volunteers come to us from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of skill sets,” explained Probasco. “This diversity provides a vast talent pool and expertise that would be impossible to obtain if it had to be paid for. The common bond they all possess is the desire to help others and make this community a better place for all of us to live, work, and play.”
Among the volunteers honored were:
Christina Herman –The Douglas Shangraw Memorial Volunteer Award. Shangraw was a passionate supporter of a variety of charitable causes in the community. He served as chair of the United Way campaign’s employee division prior to his death in 2008 at the age of 39. Mrs. Herman was chosen as the recipient of the Shangraw Award for her diligent efforts and exemplifying Shangraw’s community spirit and was presented the award by Doug’s wife, Blair Shangraw. Herman has been involved with LCUW for six years and serves as the chairperson of the education division of the annual campaign as well as a member of the board of directors. Herman is director of student services and career development with Loyalsock Township School District. Past recipients of the distinguished Shangraw award include Lori Strimple, Joe Peck, and Ron Frick.
Three “Valiant Volunteers”:
- Tracy Haas – a passionate volunteer for several years, Haas has assisted with numerous special events including Trash to Treasure, Radio-thon, Tailgate at the Dome, and more. For the past three years, she has organized a dessert-tasting fundraiser for United Way at her workplace, Albright LIFE. This year, Tracy added loaned executive to her United Way experience, with dedicated a focus on assisting three campaign accounts.
- Marty Muggleton – an enthusiastic volunteer from Larson Design Group, this is Muggleton’s second year chairing the newly formed natural resources division of campaign. Under Muggleton’s leadership, the section has grown in both knowledgeable and committed volunteers as well as dollars donated. To date, his division has raised more than double it did last year.
- Jackie Travelpiece – a former human service professional who served as the director of the Jersey Shore Branch YMCA before assisting LCUW in a variety of volunteer capacities. During the past two years, Travelpiece has been actively involved with training in-house campaign managers. She serves as the in-house campaign manager at AutoTrakk where she has led a campaign that has grown the last three years, this year achieving an 86% increase over last year.
LCUW executive director Scott Lowery lauded campaign chair Virgil Probasco as a champion. “Virgil worked tirelessly with us on this campaign and as a result of his efforts and the efforts of the many volunteers under his leadership, the campaign is growing.”
Probasco in turn was quick to thank the network of volunteers that worked on the campaign from in-house employee campaign associates to division leaders.
“I am proud of the teamwork exhibited by hundreds of volunteers and grateful for the generous spirit of local families and businesses,” added Probasco. “The need for human services is great and it is heartwarming to see so many people get involved to help our neighbors.”
“We are indebted to the dedication of our volunteers, the professionalism of our service providers, and the confidence of our donors, without whose collective support and talents we would be unable to conduct our mission of service to the residents of Lycoming County,” concluded Lowery.
In addition to the volunteer appreciation awards, the winners of the annual essay contest were announced.
Co-sponsored by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and LCUW, the 17th annual essay contest was open to all students in grades in 5-8 in Lycoming County. Students were invited to write an essay in 250 words or less about how they or someone they know ‘live united’. More than four hundred entries were submitted to the Sun Gazette editorial staff for judging. The three winners received a trophy and prizes from Cinema Center, Community Arts Center, Crosscutters Baseball, Lycoming Mall. Otto Bookstore, Riverside Subs & Pizza, and Woodlands Bank.
1st – Angelo Barberio – 8th grade, Muncy High School
2nd – Brynlin Carey – 8th grade, McCall Middle School
3rd – Kylie Schoonmaker – 7th grade, South Williamsport Junior High School
The winning essays were read by the students at the Volunteer Appreciation Event and will be published in the Sun Gazette next week.