A Lehighton man who began his volunteer work as a Boy Scout, was recognized as an Extraordinary Volunteer by the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley at a Volunteer Luncheon held recently at the Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Christopher Nothstein, who began pasting up posters several times a year in the Lehighton/Carbon County area for the American Red Cross blood drives as a member of Boy Scout Troop 145, said that it was just something he does. Nothstein is employed by Pencor Services with Blue Ridge Communication.
Nothstein said that the posters get delivered in rain and all the elements, just like the mail carriers. Nothstein now coordinates the delivery of the posters with Boy Scout Troop 145 and Venture Crew, 1347, Lehighton. The number of posters amounts to 2,700 delivered over the past 15 years.
While Nothstein was the only person identified as an Extraordinary Volunteer by the Red Cross, Bob Duld, chief operating officer, said that the Red Cross helping neighbors is not about one individual.
"It takes a team of people from all walks of life to support the work of the American Red Cross. The one common denominator that you all have is what's inside here – your heart," he said, pointing to his chest as he spoke before a group of nearly 30 Carbon County volunteers.
"This celebration is about you, our most trusted volunteers."
As part of the afternoon's program, also honored were Irene Dedynsky of Jim Thorpe, who was presented a 20-year anniversary pin; and several groups which were presented Certificates of Appreciation including: Concern Treatment Unit for Boys, Lehighton Area High School and Lehighton Area Middle School Red Cross Clubs and Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
The event hosted by Michael Mickey, president and CEO of Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Lehighton.
"We have an incredibly hard-working staff here at our facilities and we are honored to host the Red Cross for this annual event," said Mickey, who is a Red Cross board member and whose facility is a Red Cross Community Partner.
"Thank you for all you do for the people of Carbon County," said John Hughes, regional executive. "Your hard work and dedication to the Red Cross make this organization so special. We couldn't do what we do without you. Your work touches people down the street, across the country and around the world."
Dedynsky received the 20-year service pin for her work as a blood drive escort, while Concern Treatment Unit for Boys was recognized for continued support in setting up equipment and supplies in preparation for Red Cross blood drives and the Lehighton High School Red Cross Club was honored for its participation in the Feed a Neighbor and summer lunch programs at Zion UCC, bingo games for seniors at the Hi-Rise Apartments, blood drives, Heroes fund-raising campaign and support for the disaster relief efforts in Japan. The Lehighton Area Middle School was recognized for adoption of the "Scrubby Bear" program which teaches youngsters how to properly wash their hands, and for holding a Red Cross Babysitting Training class this month.
Mickey was recognized for allowing use of the facility for blood drives and providing the food and facility for the event.
Bill Coles, board vice chairman, added his appreciation.
"We don't say thanks enough," he told volunteers. "The Lehighton High School and Middle School Red Cross clubs are doing diverse activities in the community. And, our blood volunteers are really, really busy and have saved a lot of lives. On behalf of the board of directors, thank you."
Kristen Campbell, a Lehighton High School senior and chorus member, entertained the group with two songs. In addition, "Scrubby Bear" (costume worn by Sarah Bednar of Lehighton) made an appearance and posed for pictures with volunteers and guests.
For more information about volunteer opportunities with the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley, contact Bob Duld at (610) 377-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.