The Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its 49th annual tribute to volunteerism and community spirit. The person selected will be only the second to earn what is now called the Joseph M. Plasko Memorial Citizenship Award.

The award will be presented at the 62nd Annual Chamber/TIDE Dinner to be held Wednesday, April 25, at the Tamaqua Community Center.

The award is open to all residents of the Tamaqua Area School District, 18 years of age or older. The recipient is selected on the basis of voluntary contributions to the civic advancement of Tamaqua and the well-being of its citizens. Any work for which the nominee was paid shall not be considered in the selection.

The award is not given based solely on any subdivision of civic endeavor, such as religious, economic, or charitable activity, but on overall service on a variety of community efforts. The civic contributions of the nominee need not have occurred in the year of nomination.

The award is given to a person living at the time of the selection. If a nominee dies before the award, he or she will be considered for a special award.

The award is determined by a selection process which reviews nominations submitted by various fraternal, social, religious or civic organizations and individual residents of the area.

Plasko was an employee of Pencor Services, Inc., and served as Tamaqua bureau chief of the TIMES NEWS.

Before his untimely passing in March, 2011, Plasko was a longtime volunteer in many areas and served in the capacity of award committee chairman. He was passionate about the Tamaqua area and about the recognition of a citizen volunteer. He also was dedicated to the guidelines and the process that had been established for the award many years ago.

For that reason, and to create a living memorial, the honor was renamed last March as the Joseph M. Plasko Memorial Citizenship Award. Just a few weeks later, the first recipient of the newly-named award was Andy Leibenguth, then 33, who also became the youngest person to receive the chamber's annual recognition.

Coincidentally, Plasko had mentored Leibenguth, an Iraqi war veteran, and had encouraged the former Marine to pursue his interest in journalism. Today, Leibenguth is employed by the TIMES NEWS.

Once again, nominations in the form of signed letters or emails will be accepted.

Nomination letters are to be mailed to the Citizenship Award Committee, Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce, 114 West Broad St., Tamaqua, PA 18252, faxed to (570) 668-0826 or emailed to [1]