Tamaqua area resident Peggy Zimmerman will be honored with the national American Cancer Society's Chairman Award for 50 years of volunteer service to the cancer society during the annual kick-off dinner for the Carbon-Tamaqua Telethon March 30.

Zimmerman has worked with four local ACS unit directors: B.B. Hobin, Milladine McFadden, Arlene Dombrosky and Pat Haughton. She began her ACS volunteer career back in the 1960s with door-to-door fundraising.

Over the years she has served on the Carbon-Tamaqua ACS Unit's supervisory board and participated in numerous activities including "I'm a Dragon," a program presented to school-age children about the hazards of smoking.

She has worked on Daffodil Days, the Relay for Life and the "Nurse of Hope" program, a "beauty contest" for area nurses. She served as an organizer for the annual raft race and picnic and she has convinced others to become ACS supporters.

She and fellow Beta Sigma Phi social sorority members helped make dressings for cancer patients, stuffed envelopes and did anything else needed at the local office.

The Carbon-Tamaqua Telethon benefiting the American Cancer Society is observing its 35th anniversary this year. After the first telethon conducted by the Media Club at Tamaqua Area High School for Muscular Dystrophy, Zimmerman and Haughton convinced its organizers to work, instead, with the American Cancer Society because the majority of the money raised, at that time, stayed in the area helping local people.

This year's telethon airs April 5 and 6 from noon to midnight both days.

Zimmerman says her involvement has been driven by two cancer survivors in her family: her mother-in-law, Emma Zimmerman, and her aunt, Ellie Kimmel.

"I like nothing better than to do for others," she says, "to help others like members of my family have been helped."

She says she's enjoyed the various opportunities she's had to serve the ACS, but what she really likes to do is cook and bake. So it was only natural that when she decided those working on the telethon needed to be fed, she would feed them. She and her sister, Deb Danchak, started "Peggy's Kitchen" which provided food to everyone working on the telethon for many years.

Zimmerman has also been active in her church, Faith United Church of Christ in Landingville, and politics. She served as vice chair of the Schuylkill County Republican Party from 1980 to 2000 and was a Schuylkill County jury commissioner for 24 years until the position was eliminated last year.

She is the wife of Ronald Zimmerman. They have a son, Wayne, who lives and works in Virginia, eight grandchildren, seven great-grand children and a great-great grandchild on the way.

Tickets for the telethon kick-off dinner are available by contacting Kathy Dombrosky at 570-573-2807 or by email at katdombrosky@yahoo.com.

Other banquet honorees this year include:

Ÿ Lee Shafer of Shafer's Pharmacy will receive the "Business Patron" award for 35 consecutive years of sponsorship of the ACS Telethon.

Ÿ Hope's Mini Mart will receive the "Fundraiser Spotlight" award for its innovative, year-round fundraising.

Ÿ Maury Rutch of the Shellshocked Churchhills will receive the "Cancer Fighter" award for years of telethon performances and benefit fundraisers.

Ÿ Kim Semmel of Dance with Kim will receive the Patricia A. Haughton award for years of direct fundraising and telethon performances.

Ÿ Andrew Liebenguth will receive the Cancer Telethon "Generation Next" award for his work in bringing the telethon to a new audience through online streaming.

Ÿ Kathy Dombrosky will receive the Cancer Telethon "Volunteer Extreme" award for years as a "go-to" volunteer in a range of roles at the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit.