One of the hosts of the annual telethon for the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society who has shared the microphone with Rep. Jerry Knowles for years will be the guest speaker for the 64th Annual Banquet of the Panther Valley Irish-American Association.

Joe Krushinsky, a 1980 graduate of Tamaqua Area High School who is in his fourth decade as the ACS on-air master of ceremonies, will deliver the keynote address during the event to be held Thursday, March 17, at The Grand Ballroom of Kelly's Irish Pub and Restaurant, Lansford.

Krushinsky and Knowles have served as masters of ceremony for the telethon together for a number of years, which prompted the association to seek Krushinsky's services on the night when his colleague will be dubbed "Irishman of the Year."

The banquet will begin with a social hour from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and followed by the dinner and program, during which time Daniel McAndrew of Summit Hill, 2011 PVIAA president, will present the Shamrock Award to Knowles. Billy O'Gurek Jr. of Summit Hill, PVIAA immediate past president, will be the toastmaster.

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the father-and-son folk duo of Pat and Shane McGeehan.

Tickets to the dinner can be obtained from the following association members: Summit Hill, Bob Crampsie and Billy O'Gurek; Lansford, Emmett McCall; Coaldale, Bob Ames and Tim Hoben; and Tamaqua, John Tracey and Tom McCarroll.

Krushinsky is currently the chief development officer for Maryland Public Television and has worked in public broadcasting for the last 20 years, both at stations and at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At CPB, he directed the Public Television Future Fund and led a team of project officers responsible for a portfolio of significant research and development projects.

He has been the executive producer of a number of concert programs for public television and was a national host of the "Bandstand Days" 40th anniversary celebration, as well as a Drum Corp International World Championship competition on PBS.

In addition to serving as MC for the local telethon, Krushinsky has twice been named an American Cancer Society Volunteer of the Year.

Last month, he received an Outstanding Alumni Award from Pennsylvania State University, sponsored by the college's Alumni Society Board and presented to graduates who have demonstrated excellence in the field of communications, contributed significantly to their profession and gained an exemplary reputation among colleagues and students within their community.

Krushinsky is a 1985 graduate of PSU with degrees in communications and telecommunications. He served as station manager for WPSU radio and was the leading fundraiser and spokesperson for the station, overseeing the call letter change from WDFM to WPSU.

Throughout his career, he has been named Development Professional of the Year for the National Educational Television Association (2003) and had been recognized with several PBS awards for fundraising.

Before joining Maryland Public Broadcasting, Krushinsky worked in public broadcasting in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Pennsylvania.