Twenty-one Carbon County residents were recognized Thursday afternoon for exercising their right to vote.
During a presentation at Macaluso's Restaurant at The Lantern in Nesquehoning, state Rep. Keith McCall's office, as well as Pedro Cortés, secretary of the Commonwealth, inducted these diligent residents into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame for voting during every November election for 50 consecutive years. McCall was unable to attend the luncheon because of business in Harrisburg.
Carbon County Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, opened the event. He congratulated the inductees for their dedication to voting and introduced the county's elected officials in attendance.
"I want to wish you a sincere thank you and congratulations," he said prior to introducing Timothy Benyo, director of the county Office of Elections, who led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Cortés.
Cortés thanked everyone for the opportunity to attend and recognized the accomplishments of the men and women who have faithfully fulfilled their duties by voting in 50 consecutive November elections.
"Today it's about you, the inductees," he said. "Voting is a sacred honor, secured by our forefathers in a noble revolution and maintained through the generations of our fierce determination to live as a free and independent people. Voting is the foundation that supports our democracy."
He noted that Gov. Edward Rendell extends his congratulations to the inductees, who now join the ranks of nearly 15,000 voters who have previously been inducted into the Voter Hall of Fame.
"Please share your passion that you have for voting with your family members," he said.
Following Cortés' speech, he and Mary Lou Paul, McCall's district office chief of staff, awarded each of the honorees with citations from the state and McCall.
Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein then closed out the presentation by saying thank you to everyone for choosing to exercise their right to vote.
The honorees then enjoyed a lunch before ending the banquet
This year's Voter Hall of Fame inductees include: John Bednar of Lehighton, Albina Engle of Bowmanstown, Dolores Fritz of Lansford, Althea Higgins of Nesquehoning, Karl Hinkle of Lehighton, Jacqueline Krebs of Jim Thorpe, Margaret and Walter Kruslicky of Summit Hill, Marianne Lavelle of Lehighton, Mary Luhman of Weatherly, Anna Markey of Summit Hill, Suzanne McCready of Summit Hill, Thomas McCready Esq. of Summit Hill, Ida Queen of Jim Thorpe, Allen Schenkenberger of Bowmanstown, Eldora Snyder of Lehighton, Mary Solt of Lehighton, Mary Stalowski of Summit Hill, Helen Stianchi of Nesquehoning, Louise Thear of Jim Thorpe, and Joan Turko of Palmerton.
The inductees now join more than 15,000 Pennsylvanians who have had their names added to a book that is part of the Pennsylvania Voter Exhibit and Voter Hall of Fame in Harrisburg. The Voter Hall of Fame was established by the Department of State's Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislations as a way to honor Pennsylvanians who voted every November election for 50 consecutive years.
The names of the inductees into the Voter Hall of Fame can be found on the Pennsylvania PowerPort at www.state.pa.us, keyword "Voter Hall of Fame."